Planning for Productivity
I love sitting down periodically with a calendar, day planner, and a lengthy list of projects, chores, and dreams. For me, making the plan is half the fun! The key to success, however, is not allowing stress about failed resolutions derail my plan altogether. When I see that something isn’t working out, or when I choose to fritter away my time, (it happens!) I make adjustments and carry on. My goals are in an ever-changing state of ‘flex’. However, I believe having a plan is the first necessary step in sustaining productivity.
I’m sharing my process here, not because it is the best approach, but because it works for me and might serve to inspire others to create their own. Included in my personal planning are spiritual goals, health related goals, household chores, marketing tasks, and of course, writing. I have certain tasks that I do every day, like read my Bible, pray, and write in a personal journal. I also take a few minutes to check my emails and social media each day. Some things, like exercise, going to work, and doing some kind of writing or editing, happen five days a week. Theoretically, these happen on ‘auto-pilot’. Here is how I divide the rest of my time:
Each day of the week has designated household chores and marketing tasks. For instance, Monday is laundry day – but it is also the day for website maintenance and writing blog posts. I have a different day of the week to focus on social media, my newsletter, InScribe duties and so on. This doesn’t mean I won’t do a certain task if it’s not the designated day. Some things are time sensitive. However, it helps me to stay focused and relieves the tendency to get caught up in the ‘urgent’ at the expense of the ‘important’. Using a simple table, I have time set aside for ever aspect of my day with enough flexibility built in to allow for changes. (My list of tasks and chores is at the bottom if you’re interested.)
I use several other tools to help keep me organized. A good old fashioned calendar works well. I use both an online calendar and a physical day planning book with a calendar in it. There is room each day to write down the specifics of what I plan to accomplish on any given day and I simply check it off as I go. I also have two favourite apps that I use. One is called ‘Wunderlist’. This is a very simple list building tool which I use for grocery and shopping lists. Probably my favourite app, though, is ‘Evernote’. I use it for all kinds of lists: books I have on consignment, a publishing task checklist, a master list of current writing projects etc. I also create an Evernote checklist for each month. It’s simple to add time sensitive tasks and specific project goals that I hope to accomplish that month. A quick glance at my monthly list allows me to fill in the things I plan to accomplish each day in my day planner. If I don’t finish it that month, I simply roll it into next month’s list. No pressure.
In a world where most people feel too busy, the reality is actually less about not having time and more about making choices about the time I do have. Having said that, one can’t become a slave to a schedule. Sometimes the Holy Spirit arranges opportunities or halts my best laid plans. Flexibility is necessary to allow God’s timing to reign supreme, but no plan at all is a sure recipe for disappointment.
Weekly household chores:
– laundry (Monday & Friday)
– baking day (Tuesday)
– bills and filing (Wednesday)
– garbage day (gather Wednesday for Thursday)
– menu planning day (Wednesday/Thursday)
– grocery shopping, ‘town’ day (Thursday)
– Recycling – (Thursday – bi-weekly)
– cleaning day (Friday)
– change sheets day (bi-weekly Friday)
– blogging day; website maintenance – personal blog, IWO, Pro blog, possible guest posts – (Monday)
– Social Media day (Hootsuite scheduling, create memes etc.); Youtube & Video – (Tuesday)
– Newsletter, beta groups, prayer group, street team; Out of the box marketing – (try something new); scheduling events – (Wednesday)
– InScribe executive tasks day – (Thursday)
– Friday to Sunday – ‘flex days’
Tracy Krauss continues to write relentlessly from her home in northern BC, where she also teaches secondary school Art, Drama, and English. Visit her website for more about her many published books and plays. http://tracykrauss.com -fiction on the edge without crossing the line-