Posted in Personal Skills, Time Management

3 Simple Tips To Improve Productivity

I am constantly looking for ways to improve my productivity in an efficient manner that honors the self care I’ve committed to myself. I’m on a journey of professional and personal growth and I want to share 3 tips that have helped me become more productive (when I follow them).

Now, one book that I read this past year that truly helped me to understand how habits work and why I should start small is from James Clear’s Atomic Habits. It also made me realize why I stopped running long distances after completing my half marathon. I had a large goal that I reached, but ultimately, I didn’t keep it up because I didn’t have another goal to work towards lined up afterwards. If you haven’t read this book yet, do it, because the advice seems so simple, yet powerful at the same time. It’s really about starting with small manageable steps toward larger goals.

Create a Morning Routine

Another book that I read recently is the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. While I don’t do everything on his list, I try to implement the practice of being intentional when I start my day. I’ve especially been work on trying to stop snoozing my alarm clock in the morning so I can wake up a bit more refreshed.

In the book, Elrod talks about using the SAVERS method which stands for: silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing. I’ve kind of merged Atomic Habits together with this, so I don’t do the exact lengths of time he recommends. I try to get up, make my bed, stretch, make coffee, and sit to write down my daily affirmations. After that, I go over my to-do list for the day and prioritize what needs to be done first.

Time Batch Similar Tasks

One method to improve productivity is to batch like tasks together in a single time block. For example, I might set aside 7:00am – 9:00am to complete household chores or do laundry. I also recommend only checking email at set times throughout the day. When it is easily accessible on our phones or in our Internet browser tabs, we are more likely to run to do whatever comes across instead of staying focused on the thing that was in front of us in the first place.

Another strategy is to use the Pomodoro technique to work in 25 minute increments with a 5 minute break. Spend 2 hours of your time block utilizing this technique to tackle a big project or report for work or your home life. I spent several months organizing my day using the time blocking method to make sure that I was able to get to everything on my list.

Narrow Your Daily Focus

I used to create these big long to do lists because I thought it made me more productive to have long lists. What I realized was that if I didn’t get to everything on my list, I would get mad at myself for not being as productive as I could have been. When I start my morning routine, I now focus what my priorities will be for the day. I use a variety of different types of to do lists, but I try not to overload or overwhelm myself with listing everything that needs to be done.

I can be proud at the end of the day if I manage to check off the majority of things I wanted to get done.

So what can you do if you’re trying to be more productive?

  1. Get a morning routine
  2. Batch similar tasks in the same time block
  3. Narrow your daily focus

Remember it’s okay if you have off days because that’s life. Best of luck on your productivity journey!

Note: Post contains affiliate links, for which I would earn a small commission if purchases are made at no extra cost to you!

Posted in Personal Skills, Time Management

3 Ways to Respectfully Say “No” to New Projects or Commitments When You Want to Say Yes

Do you feel guilty saying no when someone asks you to do something at work or a favor from a friend? Do you say yes even when you don’t want to so you won’t let someone down? It’s easy to say yes because you feel like you have to, but true reflection is necessary to decide which things are worth saying yes to. And sometimes you may think you’re saying no to something, but your message comes across as ambivalent and you feel it’s too late to back out at that point.

I was just having a conversation today with a friend who thought she said no to something, but still got an excited email about continuing to be part of a project. I had her read me the initial message she sent and let her know that it indeed did not come across as a no as she intended. She ran her response by me to check that it was clear and the new tone of the message was still friendly and encouraging, yet set a clear boundary on participation in the project.

Now, this blog post will focus on generic ways to respectfully say no, but I’m happy to write new posts catering to both professional and personal life boundaries. Before saying flat out “no” to an opportunity, gathering, meeting, or project, it is okay to ask clarifying questions. For example, about 6 months ago I was asked to take on a 4-5 month consulting project. It would have been an awesome learning opportunity for me, but I already had 2 part time commitments and was completing my final semester of grad school. Part of my response included:

I feel confident in my abilities to meet the requirements of the position, but I want to make sure I have a clear understanding of the expectations and relative time commitment.

After the response became clear that this would be a 20-30 hour per week commitment, I knew that I could not add that to my workload. I really wanted to say yes and do it, but I also wanted to make sure that I could carry out the responsibilities to the level of competence I wish to display. And this comes from previous experiences where I did overload myself and not perform to the best of my abilities.

Discerning when and how to say yes and no to opportunities is a lifelong practice of finding balance in your life. There is not necessarily a one size fits all method to this. I was listening in to a conversation on Clubhouse last night and someone said that it’s easier to start with no and change to yes later than to say yes to everything and have to eventually say no. Here are 4 ways to respectfully say “No” and manage your time effectively.

  1. Ask them to check in at a later time

This strategy works if the ask is something you’re possibly interested in saying yes to, but just don’t have the time at the moment to commit or to learn more about it. Your schedule is packed and you just can’t imagine taking on one new thing. Say you are not available at this time, but they can check back in with you in XX number of weeks or months. And if the person follows up and it comes back around and you still cannot commit, clearly state that unfortunately, you will not be able to take on this project or endeavor. Here is a sample of what I would say:

Thank you so much for reaching out to me about this opportunity. I am interested in this possible partnership, but unfortunately cannot commit at this time. Will you check back with me in 3 months if you are still interested in collaborating?

2.Express support in other ways

Now, this is the response that my friend used to make her no clear to the people in the email thread. She was truly excited about the project idea, which was expressed in the initial communications. However, she didn’t want to be one of the main people involved in the idea creation and the day to day of the project. So she sent a nice message back stating she was fully cheering them on in this opportunity, but could not take an active role. However, she left room for them to check back in if they had a specific task related to her area of expertise. Therefore, she was not committed in any way, but could offer support on very specific items if time permits later and there is a need.

3. Suggest an alternative

This is a great comprise “no” answer. Perhaps you don’t have the time or capacity to take something on, but you know someone who is. Check with that other person and then make the recommendation or connection. Personally, I like to check in with my contact before sending the other person to them that way I know if they are truly interested in the opportunity. It also creates a more positive interaction for everyone involved.

Maybe you want to say yes, but you can’t commit to 2 hour weekly check-in meetings. Clearly define your boundaries and say that you would be available to meet every other week or once a month. It is much better to set those boundaries up front from an overly cautious time commitment and then later decide to become move involved if you are able to do so.

In order to properly provide an alternative to whatever the ask is, it’s important to continue to build up your social and professional network. Take advantage of opportunities to meet with others in your field and areas of expertise.

At the end of the day, if something is a definite no for you, make that clear in your response and wish the person well. You don’t necessarily owe an explanation and this is something I’m working on. I feel the need to justify my time by saying “oh, I already have this commitment and this commitment”, but the reality is simply saying no so you have time to take a break and protect your mental health is just as important.

Posted in Goal, Personal Skills, Time Management

Setting Guiding Goals for the Week

Yes, I admit I am very attached to my calendar, my to do lists, and effective scheduling. I even set weekly plans months in advance. However, I used to make those weekly lists much more detailed than I do now. And that’s okay because time management and task management systems should evolve as your needs change. There are definitely strategies that remain helpful at any phase of planning, but what worked for you 2 years ago might not be as effective anymore. It’s important to continually evaluate if your systems are working for you and make changes as needed.

I recently started to keep my schedule a bit looser in some sense, which is the opposite of the time blocking method I’ve used in the past. Time blocking works really well for me when my schedule is packed and I have a lot to get done. Fortunately, since finishing my degree, I’m in a new stage of creating, where my schedule is much more focused on personal and professional development goals. I call these GUIDING GOALS.

So I’ll shared some of the strategies I’m using now to stay on target to reach my goals.

  1. First I set up my summer 2021 weekly planning document. For each of my category buckets, I list out my goals for the week being mindful of busier weeks and what is realistic. For example, I need to earn some additional money on non-teaching weeks, so I set a money goal for, which is one the ways I made additional money. I also forward to potential expenses and set that as my guiding goal for that bucket. This document is my roadmap to success.
  2. Meet with an accountability partner – This step is especially important for me because it helps me prioritize my tasks each week. I may have my guiding goals such as write 2 blog posts, design a new Etsy template, or exercise a certain number of minutes, but they are not prescribed to a certain day yet. This one hour conversation allows me and my partner to share what we’d like to accomplish in the given week, explore our calendars, and set potential work times to meet those guiding goals. We sometimes even block out special work sessions during the week if our calendar allows. I suggest finding someone to be an accountability partner for you because it definitely helps you stay on track toward whatever it is you plan to accomplish.
  3. Set daily intentions – While I have a general overview of what I’d like to get done within the week and potential work times, I use the beginning of each day to sketch out what that day will look like. I go back to my goals document and see what I have already knocked off and think about what could be a good focus for that day. So even though I may not have every minute of my week planned out in advance, just that 15 minutes of reflection each morning helps me stay on track and not jump all over the place. Additionally, if I wake up in a particularly non-motivating mood, I may use some of that day for a nature recharge.
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate – I feel like I’m a broken record with this one, but it’s important to communicate your schedule, your goals, and your needs to those who work closely with you. I do have a part time job which requires me to be present for certain meetings or get certain tasks done. However, those hours are not set and differ each week so it is important for me to communicate my weekly goals with my supervisor. I am extremely fortunate to have a supervisor who advocates for mental health breaks and prioritizing, and I know that is not always the case for employees. On the flip side, if blocks of time have been scheduled for meetings and they haven’t been filled, I always ask if it’s okay for me to remove that block from calendar so I can work on some of the other guiding goals I have.

TAKEAWAYS from this post:

  • Be mindful of the need to change systems in different seasons of your life
  • Communicate effectively
  • Set weekly guiding goals
  • Set daily intentions
Posted in Blogging, Lifestyle, Personal Skills, Time Management

My Favorite YouTubers That I Follow: Inspirational Channels to Keep Learning

Since I recently started my YouTube channel and blog, I thought it would be fun to share some of the channels I watch on a regular basis that have inspired me. There are a lot of wonderful, engaging, and informative channels that can help you learn to grow your channel, build your blog, and create content as well. Or, if you’re just looking for helpful information, I will share some topic areas and suggested YouTubers to follow. I’m not going to rank them in any particular order because it’s not content to necessarily compare since each offers amazing videos and helpful advice.

Productivity and Time Management:

The YouTuber who’s video inspired me to just put myself out there and do it, whether I’m ready or not, was Ali Abdaal. He includes videos on productivity, technology, and tips and strategies for a variety of things, including staying motivated and managing your time. There are tons of other productivity YouTubers, but Ali is my favorite.

Blogging Tips:

I love going to Nakisha Wynn for blogging tips and strategies to stay motivated and make the most of your content and marketing. She releases a video a week that provides useful information about finding a niche and ways to make money as a blogger.

If you’re interested in learning about marketing using Pinterest, my go to resource is Shruti Pangtey If you subscribe to her email list, you get access to a free webinar where she breaks down content strategy for using Pinterest to market your blog.

Interesting Information:

I love to eat good food and a great channel to get healthy and budget friendly recipes is from Fit Men Cook. And the recipes are yummy!

Now, this person is newer to YouTube, but has an amazing blog that I’ve been following for quite some time. Anne-Laure studies neuroscience and provides really interesting articles about how the brain works and how to be productive.

The videos on the next channel never disappoint and no wonder there is a stampede following Kelly Stamps. Whether you want to learn strategies for YouTube, follow interesting vlogs, or get general life advice, this is the channel for you.

Growing on YouTube:

So in order to reach my goal of 1000 subscribers by the end of 2021, I watch videos on strategies to do that. A really helpful channel is Annie Dubé. The videos are to the point, super clear, and provide actionable steps to grow your YouTube channel.

Creative – Etsy and Designing:

The first YouTuber I like to watch videos from is Alissa Rose. If you are looking to sell on Etsy and open up a shop, this creator has tons of helpful tutorial videos guiding you each step of the way. There are videos on social media strategy, designing digital products, and more.

The next YouTuber I like to watch videos from is Kirstin with KDigitalStudio. I recently got an iPad and bought the digital creating program Procreate. It is an amazing program and Kirstin has excellent videos on how to create digital designs on Procreate.

Study Tips:

This channel has over 1 million subscribers and it’s easy to see why. The study tips and note-taking strategies are so helpful and the videos are easy to watch. The channel I go to for study habits and advice is StudyTee by Therese.

Another helpful channel with study information is Estella with Study To Success. One day, I hope to have as beautiful an office set up. I love all the colorful products and it’s fun to see how to making studying not so boring.


There are tons of YouTube channels designated for the stocks and Bitcoin, but the ones I follow provide a little bit of everything. The first one I follow is SaraFinance, where you can learn about affiliate marketing, drop shipping, budgeting, and more.

The next one is Charlie Chang, who has a large following on Tik Tok as well as YouTube. This is a great channel to learn about side hustles, investing, and other ways to make passive income and become an entrepreneur.

There are lots more channels that I follow, but I wanted to share some of my favorite ones with you here. Hopefully, you can find some useful information from them like I do. If you have another suggestion, drop it in the comments below!

Posted in Goal, Personal Skills, Time Management

Summer Goal Planning: Creating a Seasonal Action Plan and Calendar

Being in school for so long has taught me to create a plan for each semester. So how exactly do I go about this? Basically, every spring, summer, and fall, I look at all of my deadlines and map it out onto a Google Doc with the weekly dates for the 12-16 weeks. I color code the main categories and have a key in the header and footer of each page. I learned this method from the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity.

Even though I’m now graduating, I am going to continue this method of planning because it truly helps me to get a big picture overview of my goals. I can then match my big goals to subtasks by making weekly progress toward completion.

Here is a snapshot of a week from last summer (with some items removed):

Each week would have a similar format that I copy and pasted for the whole summer. In May, I go through and add in important deadlines and repeating tasks. For example, my teaching timesheet is due every two weeks. Now, I also include these repeating tasks in my Google Calendar. Some may find this process repetitive, but it actually helps me remember things by keeping it in multiple places.

So, because it’s time to think about Summer 2021, I am in the process of creating my next 12 weeks or so goals. I’m still working out what I’d like my categories to be, but I’ve started to put in my dates and then will create my outline and fill in goals. The first pass through is all the big items, and then I re-evaluate every Sunday and prioritize my week, filling in additional items as needed.

FREE Google Doc Summer 2021 Planning template!!

Here is a YouTube video showing how I go through these steps for the summer!

Posted in Goal, Manifestation, Personal Skills, Time Management

It’s Okay to Change and Become a Better Version of Yourself

Sometimes I get stuck in this mindset of how people see me. Do they see me as the rebellious child, the dutiful teenager, the naive twenty-something, or who I actually am today? And honestly, I’m still figuring out who I am in a lot of ways. This year, especially, has been an opportunity to reflect and evaluate.

Over the last 5-10 years, I’ve taken time to work on my anxiety, leaving me to feel like a failure at times and at peace other times. However, it’s necessary to do the work on yourself before you can give to others. I used to think that was selfish, but now I’ve come to learn that I have to step back when needed. This is particularly true for overachievers like myself who just want to dive in and do the most. But, I also have to give myself the same grace I wish to offer others, in learning and becoming a more critically thoughtful, kind, goal-oriented person.

I just recently graduated with a terminal degree and this was my first weekend in 5 years that I didn’t have editing or work to do on a specific paper or assignment for school. Do I have other projects that I can work on? Yes, I do. But it’s not so pressing that I have to give up my Saturday or Sunday to complete them. With a more open schedule in the week ahead, these are things I can work on starting Monday morning for a more traditional work schedule.

So in light of this period of reflection, I thought I would share some of the resources I’ve used to continue my personal and professional growth.

  1. Project Implicit – One of the areas I’ve been working on is becoming more actively antiracist and aware of my own personal implicit biases. This website from Harvard allows you to take a series of implicit bias tests to see where you are on a number of important issues. It’s a starting place to then seek other resources to continue to learn and grow, such as “How to Be an Antiracist”, by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.
  2. Inspirational books – Although I haven’t had a ton of time to read for enjoyment, I plan to change that in the near future and dive in to material that inspires me to reach for my goals and aspirations. Two of the books I’ve really enjoyed these last couple of months are “Hello” Fears by Michelle Poler and “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. Both taught me to embrace new opportunities and not let fear hold me back. For example, even putting this blog and my YouTube channel out there is scary for me.
  3. Free online courses – There are sooooooo many ways to get free knowledge. I paid a lot of money for my degrees, but you don’t necessarily need to pay for information now. You can go to YouTube or websites with free courses. Some are even worth paying for a membership if you intend to continue your professional learning. I wrote another blog post here about some of the websites that I utilize to take free courses on topics of interest.
  4. Therapy/counseling – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I think everyone could benefit from talking to someone outside their day to day interactions. It’s helpful to process information, get strategies to change thought patterns, or deal with trauma. If you don’t know where to start, you can visit the CDC resources or National Alliance on Mental Illness. The process of counseling has helped me become more self-aware and grow my confidence.
  5. Affirmations – Along with counseling, the idea of positive affirmations is helping me to grow into the person I wish to become. I try to start my day with affirmations. Additionally, I have all of my 2021 goals posted next to my mirror on index cards by category. Each day, I see the goals I have for myself and I repeat statements that affirm my capability of achieving these goals for my future.

The final takeaway is that it’s never too late to change your thoughts, learn more, and become the version of yourself you wish to be. Don’t let fear or lack of time hold you back. Commit to 5 minutes each day to work on something for your personal self-improvement. Then, gradually increase that time as you are able to do so. I believe in you!!

Posted in Personal Skills, Time Management, Work From Home

Using Gmail Efficiently: 6 Tips for Maximizing Your Inbox

I try to keep my email inbox at zero or as close to zero as possible at all times. During the day, the emails that are still there serve as my to-do list of sorts. I work through at certain times throughout the day and make a plan to address it on the spot. I also do not like to have email on my phone. I find that I get distracted by the numbers and notifications and then I’ll read it and have to go back through it on my computer later anyway.

Gmail is my preferred email provider and has been for over 15 years. Thankfully, my job also uses Gmail so I can keep settings consistent across all my accounts. I have several accounts for different purposes. Although many people prefer to sync all of their email accounts, I actually like keeping them separate. It helps me compartmentalize the different tasks I have to do whether it be for school, personal, teaching, or entrepreneurial endeavors. And by having a separate teaching email account, I never miss a student question or concern because it doesn’t get lost in the many other emails I get on a daily basis.

Here are my top 6 tips for using Gmail efficiently

1. Compact View with Conversation Threading Off

I prefer the compact view the best in my inbox screen. I know a lot of people prefer to use the conversation view to group emails together, but I tend to get confused in threads and have to go back to figure out what was said. By using the compact view, I do not miss any comments on any emails that are sent because each one shows up separately in my inbox. The compact view is nice because you can see more emails at a glance since the space is reduced between each one.

2. Smart Compose On

In the general settings, I use smart compose, grammar, spelling, and autocorrect. In fact, it’s kind of scary how accurate the smart compose is. It allows me to respond to emails faster because it predicts what I might say when I start a sentence. If I agree with the response, then I just click enter and keep typing the next portion of my email. I’ll all about ways to save myself time, but still write a quality and professional email response to someone.

3. Using Folders

I go through my emails several times per day. Once it is filed or completed, it goes immediately into a folder. In my personal email, I have folders for advisory boards I serve on, billing information, doctor information, organizations I’m involved with, and much more. Pretty much any activity has its own folder and that’s where the email lives after it has been addressed. It makes it much easier for me to find things later and know that I didn’t delete anything.

4. Setting up Filters

This setting is helpful if you get frequent emails from a specific person or organization. You can create a label and a filter for that person. It can be color coded and make it easier to stand out in your email inbox. Once you receive an email that you may want to filter, you can click the three dots at the top and then choose how you wish to filter that type of email in the future.

5. Schedule Send

I love to use schedule send when I am trying to send an email that needs a response from other people. I tend to draft emails later in the day during one of my work time blocks. However, if it’s getting close to 4:00 or 5:00pm, I don’t send the email right away. I schedule it to send at 8:00am the next morning so that it goes to the top of that person’s inbox. Now they may have a great management system, but I’ve found that a lot people have thousands of unread emails in their inbox and may miss things, especially if they are very busy. The other great use for schedule send is to give myself reminders. Even though I keep a pretty good list of action items in my digital app, it’s helpful when I have important reminders that I don’t want to forget. For example, I needed to mention someone’s retirement at a workshop and I scheduled the email reminder to myself to come up during the week I would be preparing the agenda. I have learned that no matter how much I think I’m going to remember something, it is much better to have a plan and be prepared than to rely on my memory of something someone said 3 months prior.


This feature is my ultimate favorite use of my Gmail settings for efficiency. It is especially useful for maintaining a zero inbox. When I go through my emails throughout the day, if it is something that I don’t have time or is not urgent to respond to, I will snooze it to the next day. Sometimes the emails are informational relating to an upcoming meeting later in the week or the following week. I then snooze it to the day I plan to review the agenda or that the information is most needed. Therefore, it stays out of my inbox, but it’s not filed in a folder yet because it’s still relevant.

Posted in Time Management, Work From Home

To-Do List Digital Apps: 4 Free Apps to Try Out

Making to-do lists is a helpful way to organize tasks that need to be completed. While, I do use a daily paper and pen method to keep track of tasks, I currently use Tick Tick to manage my goal-related tasks. I’ve used other digital apps as well and it all comes down to preference and whatever is best suited to your individual goals at the time.

Tick Tick

This program is a website, but also can be downloaded as an app. I have it on my Macbook, but mostly use it on the browser and keep it in my Google Chrome grouping tab for calendar. It can synced across all your devices so that if you update it in one place, it will be updated everywhere.

Within Tick Tick, you can create folders and assign tasks to a date within a folder and category. I have everything organized by school, different work tasks, bills, and personal development objectives. I also include things in my list that are recurring like do the animals flea treatment every month. You can also choose to utilize the calendar view to visually see when you have lots of tasks due or happening at once.

Remember the Milk

This app has the same basic features and interface as Tick Tick. I personally like both. Similar to Tick Tick, you can view tasks for the current day, the next day, or the week. Remember the Milk has a really nice easy share function where you can share tasks with someone’s email address.


Now, this one is newer to me and I look forward to playing around with it a bit more. The cool part is that it has different templates that you can use depending on what type of list you are trying to create. It also has the option to organize it by boards or bullet points and you can go back and forth.

Google Keep

If you are an avid Google user, then Keep is for you. It integrates with your calendar and you can move it up on your waffle to keep it nice and close by when you open a new google browser tab. The neat thing about Google Keep is that you can add images to your lists and move them around. There is a lot more visual customization available than the other to-do list apps that are out there. You can add collaborators, set reminders, change the color, and copy to Google Docs. It’s definitely worth trying out!

Posted in Personal Skills, Time Management, Work From Home

Ways to Create a To-Do List: Methods to Get Stuff Done!

Do you often make it through the day just putting out fires as they occur, trying to keep up? Creating and sticking to a schedule can help with managing time effectively. One helpful tool is to create a to-do list of action items that you need to get done. Over the years, I’ve tried different methods of writing a to-do list, which have worked for various purposes depending on my goals at the time.

Why is it important to make to-do lists?

Making lists and prioritizing tasks helps you become more likely to accomplish your goals and reach your dreams. It also provides a way to track your progress and keep you motivated to move forward. To-do lists are great for both personal and professional use. You can use a paper and pen notebook to track it all or there are lots of great digital apps to organize tasks by category.

I’ll share some of the methods I’ve used to create to-do lists with you here.


I like to call this list the everything list because it’s more or less a brain dump of all that has to be done. Sometimes I make columns for personal and work action items to keep them separate, but I just get it all down on paper (or digital). I’ve seen others refer to this method as the grocery list method because it’s just basically keeping a running tab of tasks as they pop into your brain.

Top Three to Five

For me, this method is helpful when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Instead of literally writing everything down that needs to get done, I write 3-5 MANAGEABLE items at a time. Then, when I’m able to cross them all off, I write 3-5 more items to accomplish. It’s comparable to time blocking a schedule. It’s focusing me to be intentional about what I want to accomplish within a certain timeframe.

Prioritized List

This method takes the everything method and then rearranges it based on your priorities. It’s easier to do this with a digital task management system because you can easily cut and paste the items and move them up and down on your list. One way to prioritize is to use the Eisenhower matrix. Some people even recommend a simple lettering system next to your tasks with A being the most important item to tackle first.

Big and Small

This type of a to-do list breaks task into big and small tasks. You can think of them in time commitment. If it’s something like sending an email that will take 5 minutes to write, that could be considered a small task. If it’s completing an annual report, that might be a bigger task. Sometimes it’s more helpful to break up those big tasks into smaller ones and cross of those milestones as you reach them.

No matter how you organize your tasks, the best thing to do is find what works for you. The physical act of crossing something off on paper to me feels so good that even though I manage my longer term and ongoing tasks in a digital app, I still create a daily list of items that need to get done. I also try to keep it realistic so as not to get disappointed if I don’t get everything crossed off my list.

Happy to-do-ing!

Posted in Goal, Personal Skills, Time Management, Work From Home

Mastering the Power of Effective Scheduling: Some Tips to Make it Happen

Some people say that I’m a planner. Others say I’m calendar-oriented. Really, I just like to make sure that my time, tasks, and priorities are all reflected on my schedule. When someone asks me to do something and I agree (also power in saying no), I immediately add it to my Google Calendar, which can be accessed on my phone, iPad, and laptop. No matter where I am I have access to it.

If it is a work or professional meeting, I copy the Zoom or webinar link from the email and paste it directly into the calendar event that I create so that I do not have to search for the email when it’s time to log in.

Clarify your goals

It is important to know what you want to accomplish with your time. You cannot create an effective schedule if you don’t know what you are aiming for. I wrote a post on mini-goals here. Get specific on the main areas of your life and figure out the chunks of time that need to be spent on each.

Prioritize your tasks

When you sit down to work, or even at the beginning of every day, take a look at everything that needs to be accomplished. What is that one thing that can’t be put off? Do that first, in the morning if you can. For longer term projects, break it down into smaller deadlines and place those on your calendar. If you’re not sure how to prioritize, consider using a strategy like the Eisenhower Matrix.

Utilize a digital calendar like Google Calendar

Keep a calendar that can be accessed from all of your digital devices: laptop, phone, iPad, etc. That way, you always have access to what you need in the moment if someone asks to schedule something. Personally, because I work several part time jobs and manage my own schedule, I keep one Google Calendar for everything and color code by activity, including my personal commitments. For example, if a friend texts me and says, “hey, we should catch up on the phone Thursday around 8pm.” If I’m free, I actually confirm and add that to my calendar so I don’t forget to call or accidentally make plans to do something else because I forgot we were going to chat.

At work, I utilize my email kind of like a to do list. I try to check my email at certain points throughout the day, but if something comes on that I need to take care of that day or later in the week, I also add it to my calendar and include the reference email.

Learn to Say “Let Me Get Back to You”

If you’re a kind-hearted person who wants to follow through with helping people or do a good job, you’ll be tempted to say yes to everyone and everything. That is not a realistic way to manage a schedule because you will quickly become overwhelmed. However, instead of saying no right away, give yourself some think time when someone asks you to do something or for another meeting or a favor. Evaluate if it fits with your goals and priorities or fits in any extra time you have available for leisure. If not, perhaps you may have to decline or ask the person to check in with you at a later date.

These are just some of the strategies that I use on a regular basis to maintain my schedule. Please leave a comment if you’d like to hear more about any of them!