I remember I have a problem every Monday morning when I first sit at my desk at work. I turn on my computer, eat breakfast, and pull out a pen and a giant pad of extra-wide sticky notes.
After a few seconds it looks like this:
See? I’m waaaayyyy too organized for my own good. I’m not joking – I’m the kid who kept (coughkeepscough) all of her colored pencils and crayons organized by rainbow order even while using them. I believe in color coding and labeling and to-do lists. My life would be a giant ball of electric stress if I didn’t have a way to fit remodeling a house, working 9-to-5, freelance work, family, friends, my dog, editing a manuscript, podcast duties AND chilling out into something resembling a finished puzzle.
I know my way won’t work for everyone, but if you’ve been struggling with finding time to write, getting homework done on time, or simply remembering to do things, it just might help. And seriously, you guys. If I can do it, you can do it. So here it is: How To Manage Your Time Like You’re a Crazy, Over-Achieving Kid Like Me.
Grab a calendar, a blank piece of paper, a hoard of stickies – whatever you know you can keep track of – and get it ready for your notes. I operate from Monday to Saturday and leave Sunday to fend for itself, but you can pick as many or as few days as you want to get started.
Think about what you have to do and how long it’ll take you to finish. If a project will take more than an hour or two, spread it out over several days. Honestly, that’s the key to everything: knowing yourself well enough to be able to break up your duties into bite-size chunks. Spread things out over your week so you don’t overwhelm yourself on any single 24-hour period.
Leave time for a night (or two) when you realize you just don’t give a flying rat’s butt about getting anything done.
Incentivize! Some people (like yours truly) guilt themselves into getting things done before they fall embarrassingly behind. I’ve talked to some people who reward themselves with Netflix every time they finish a task. Find a way to encourage yourself to get things done.
Practice. It takes 21 days to develop a habit, which is a nice euphemism for an addiction. Once you’re addicted to getting things done, you’ll be unstoppable!
How do you motivate yourself to finishing your to-do list?
On the nights Michelle decides she doesn't care about the to-do list, you can find her eating Girl Scout thin mints and watching Fred Astaire movies.