Let's be honest with ourselves, us creative types aren't always the most organized people. We still have deadlines though so the challenge is figuring out a way to schedule our time and checking those projects off the list.
So what's the best way to plan out our limited time and keep our sanity and lives outside of work intact?
1. Have a Written Down Schedule
This seems obvious but making a written schedule in pencil or using a planner can help keep you on task. If you know you have a deadline approaching you can create blocks of time dedicated to that one task.
Break the habit of having a loose schedule because distractions happen ALL. THE. TIME! It's so easy to start working and then an email pops up and before you know it another hour has past and you haven't gotten anything done you set out to accomplish.
Plus this is the perfect excuse to buy an adorable planner!!
2. Prioritize Your Tasks
Now that you've successfully created a planner or task list, get to work prioritizing what you need to get done first.
Some projects have wiggle room in the timeframe, others are must hit. You know where you should focus your time but do you?
3. Minimize Distractions
Emails and Social Media are part of the job but they also easily can distract you from what you need to be getting done. Block off groups of time to dedicate to checking emails or posting on social media and then once that time block is up, shut those apps/browsers down. Trust me, I'm so guilty of this it's ridiculous.
I also have 2 tiny people distractions as well when I work from home, unfortunately, there isn't an off switch for them! :) Just kidding! That is something you other work from home parents can relate too I'm sure. Some days you can keep them busy with toys or projects, other days you just need to take a break and give them your full attention. Again, this is where scheduling blocks of time can be helpful. You know how long you can keep them busy while you work so plan around that. I never said this would be easy!!
4. Have Set Hours
This ties into what I was just talking about above. This is your job and when you work from home (as most creative bloggers or designers do) you can easily get pulled into working around the clock.
That's not a healthy lifestyle choice! This will cause you to burn out over time, you know it and I know it. Yes, you're doing what you've always wanted and are your own boss. The advantage of being your own boss is you get to set your own hours. Just don't forget that your whole life doesn't revolve around your work or that work can always take a back seat.
Try to come up with your set working hours and stick to them. Stop answering work emails after hours (unless it's an extremely pressing matter). Don't bring your work to bed, you need a place to escape too!
Again, this is one easier said than done and I'm also very guilty of breaking these rules. So let's vow to do this together! Make time for your friends and family but also set boundaries because people do forget that even though you're "home" you still have work to do and deadlines to meet.
5. Take Breaks
Yep, you still need to eat! Stand up and stretch your legs if your work is mostly on the computer. Get some fresh air in your lungs.
When you work in an office you do take little mini-breaks throughout the day when you stop and chat with a co-worker, grab that 3rd cup of coffee from the break room, take the long walk to the bathrooms.
When you work from home it's very easy to skip meals and snack all day at your desk instead. Stop doing that! You need a break to recharge your brain. Only the worst bosses don't let their employees have breaks at all. Don't be that boss to yourself!
6. Track Your Ideas
Now that you've mastered scheduling your working days, like a boss, that doesn't mean that ideas come to you during those set windows. Keep a notebook or an app on your phone to write those down for future planning sessions. I know as I'm attempting to fall asleep at night is when a million ideas enter my brain. So just jot them down to revisit later.
7. Enjoy the Process!
This one is probably the most important one. Have fun and enjoy yourself!! If you love what you do it won't feel like work. If you're not having fun then what's the point?! Life is too short to spend most of your time being miserable. Take the time to reevaluate if you find yourself dreading certain aspects of your work. I know running a business isn't all fun and games, sometimes you need to do accounting work, or bring in new business. Find out where you excel and then as you're able to, maybe hire out the work you don't enjoy to someone who does love that part.
The goal is not to burn yourself out. This was your dream job, right? Don't let it slip into becoming your nightmare by letting it consume you. Remember to take time for yourself by getting your schedule organized.
Make sure to pin this for later (you know when you've penciled in that time on your new planner) :)