Better time management (and why it’s changed my life)

Time management - advice and tips

And the most dramatic blog post title award goes to me on this occasion, I believe?

Let me explain.

On Friday morning I woke up a little later than normal, Hubby was away and I had forgotten to set my alarm the night before. I thus decided (last minute decision) to pop to the gym that morning, have a quick intense workout and then come home to spend the rest of the day on blogging & freelance work. I ran around packing everything into my kit bag, getting the twins ready for school and we made it out of the door on time.

I actually felt great – I even managed to make myself a hot coffee for the journey.

But for some reason time ran away with me that day. I ended up doing several other things instead of the planned workload that had been whirring around somewhere loosely in my head. Before I knew it 3pm had arrived and it was school pick-up time. Kids, dinner, cuddles, TV, bath, bed. Family time.

That day I’d wanted to schedule some social media work for a client, catch up on admin, as well as write & publish a blog post, which included producing high quality photos and editing them. But this didn’t happen. I thus ended up feeling a little flat because everything would now have move into next week.

And this isn’t an unusual story, or a one-off. It’s been happening a lot.

Feeling overwhelmed

If I pinpoint any stress and anxiety I get during the week – regarding everything work, home, kids, personal – the one thing that I struggle with is leaving important things to the last minute and then trying to do it all to a high standard. And to be honest, I thought I was handling all this self-employed business pretty well…but lately things have been slipping and more often than not I feel as though my head is swimming with stuff.

But Friday night I literally had an epiphany. I read the ‘Time Management’ section in the ‘Working Women’s Handbook’ by Phoebe Lovatt – and it was literally like a penny dropping. A light bulb moment.

Her advice was brilliant and JUST what I needed to hear.

She talks about blocking time out every day with set tasks and putting more routine into your schedule. Such as set times for social things & self-care like the gym, lunch, coffee dates or yoga etc. Then carving allocated work-time in for tasks such as meetings, emails, admin, finances, writing content.

She claims that having every task mapped out each week (no matter how small) into a set routine makes for waking up with a clearer head each morning.

Yes to this!

I am sure many of you reading this will be like, “Errrr yes Jess, but this is totally obvious” ….and it is. But why haven’t I been planning and scheduling my content or putting set tasks into a calendar, I’ve no idea. Why I have got myself to this point of chasing my tail all the time, I don’t know! But something needed to change.

Time management goals Why I need better time management How I'm getting better at time management Time management and freelancing

When I worked in Human Resources management in my previous career (pre-twins) I lived by my Outlook calendar, which was packed with work tasks, calls and meetings. It meant that I knew exactly what I was doing every day and could do plenty of planning for them all. I also had the calendar open from the minute I arrived until I logged off for the day. #workgoals

Yet it’s something I haven’t thought of doing since becoming a freelancer/self-employed. Possibly because everything has just evolved organically. My workload started as something that was a hobby (i.e. I wrote content whenever I felt like it) but now it’s grown into something that needs a high level of meticulous planning & organising in order to deliver and meet timescales for paying clients.

How I intend to manage my freelance time better My freelance goals - time management

Planning

After sitting down this weekend, getting my diary updated and organised, I now have a very planned week mapped out. I’ve put everything I need to do each week in my online calendar and I’m going to work hard to stick to it. Freelance social media work, blog post content, shooting photographs, calls & meetings, as well as gym, friends & housework – it’s all in there. And wow, I already feel so much better!

More importantly though I know exactly what I’ll be waking up to each day and know in advance what needs delivering. Hopefully this will stop me faffing around SO much during the day and end all the procrastination, simply because I can’t decide what job to start next. I also know what tasks I can move around my diary if something unforeseen comes up during the week.

Winning at life.

So here’s to more prep & planning and a much happier me! Which I’m not going to complain at, at all.

Love, Jess x

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12 Comments

  1. N
    November 13, 2017 / 8:20 am

    Great article – I got to the same point and was waking in the night with all the stuff going round my head… then came Bullet journal, changed my life… really recommend and now I only have one book for everything.

    • November 17, 2017 / 2:59 pm

      Ha I think we all are. It’s so damn hard to sit down and get things done. But this method works for and me and I have stuck to it! Thanks Hayley and hopefully catch up soon xx
      Jess recently posted…How to dress more ParisianMy Profile

  2. November 17, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    Oh goodness I need to do this so badly! It’s almost lunchtime, I’ve not tidied the house, I’ve not taken the dogs for a walk and I haven’t done any social media scheduling for my client! I really struggle with time management. At least you went to the gym, I haven’t even done that! I have written a blog post though….hmmm. Thanks for the tips, I do need to get better organised. x

    • November 17, 2017 / 3:00 pm

      Ha! Oh dear. So easy to do though. I find myself panicking and then getting cross with myself late afternoon for falling behind. xx
      Jess recently posted…How to dress more ParisianMy Profile

  3. November 17, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    I am great at faffing and definitely need to do this and get more focused. In the last week I have started doing a list for the 3 days I have off during the week, and then a shorter list for the weekend. I must admit I have felt more productive today than most days. That book does sound good though x
    Tracey Williams recently posted…Little Loves – Blogging friends, Autumn Jumpers and GCSE RevisionMy Profile

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:01 pm

      Sound great Tracey – sounds amazing. Love a good list. This new time management routine for me is working great. Definitely much needed xx
      Jess recently posted…How to dress more ParisianMy Profile

  4. November 19, 2017 / 2:11 pm

    I definitely need to plan my time better. Oscar has a set nap time now and that is when I get work stuff done. I need to plan what needs doing and when a lot better so that the moment he’s asleep, I know exactly what I need to be working on. Great post lovely 😁

    • November 20, 2017 / 7:18 pm

      Thanks! I think it works OK because I have a child free week now in which to get stuff done, however it is amazing at how fast this school day goes! Hope you get a little more routine too xx
      Jess recently posted…Capturing my every dayMy Profile

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