Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BALANCE: TIPS FOR SCHEDULING A PRODUCTIVE WEEK

One of the questions I often get asked by my friends and family is, "How do you balance work, home, Maiedae, friends, family, life...etc., etc.?" To be honest, once I graduated from college, I had to learn from scratch how to do all of the things I wanted to in a productive and balanced matter. One thing that helped me get started was to picture myself learning how to juggle. I'd start off with 1 or 2 balls (priority items), get really good at tossing those, perfect that art and then add in another. This idea helped me to get used to working a 40 hour per week job, keep a home, and spending time with my husband.

After I became better at those three things and balancing them into my weekly schedule, I would add on another item, like friend//family time, hobbies, Maiedae, etc. The trick for me became practicing. And if something wasn't working for my schedule and things were getting off kilter, I would sit back, reassess and come up with a better solution. 


This Balance post is dedicated to scheduling a productive week and getting in all those things that are important to accomplish. First things first, what are your weekly responsibilities and desired accomplishments??

Here is a list of mine:
* Work 35-40 hours at my 9-5 job. 
* Blog 5-7 times each week.
* Work on Maiedae via meetings, projects, emails, and business organization.
* Keep a tidy home. 
* Spend time with Jon.
* Spend time with my family.
* Spend time with friends. 
* Have downtime and relax. 
* Accomplish errands and various other to-do's.
* Workout. 

The next step is figuring out a weekly system that works for you. This part is all about being strategic and figuring out the best times to accomplish things that also fit into the schedules of others involved. Here is a breakdown of how I fit in the items from my list above into each week:

* My 9-5 Job. ---> I work Monday-Friday. One thing that really helps me to maintain a full-time job and everything else is getting on a good sleep schedule. My job also allows me the flexibility to work from home a couple times each week, which allows me to accomplish errands, chores, and to-do's around the home during my lunch breaks. 

* Blogging. ---> The biggest help in my blog schedule is planning out each month as detailed as I can. This helps me to be aware of the photos I need to take and the content I need to develop ahead of time. This also allows me to know when I need to make pre-scheduled posts if I'm going out of town. I usually do most of my blog work on weekday evenings and on the weekends. I also like to plan ahead, so I can prep a post to be ready to go during a lunch break. 

* Maiedae. ---> Every Tuesday and Thursday night, Jenny and I meet for catch-up time and our weekly Maiedae meetings. We take this time to talk business, plan, and create action items for ourselves. Now and then, we will cancel a meeting in order to complete more design work. I usually work heavily on graphic design projects Monday, some Tuesdays and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. But Mondays are my big dedicated day. When it comes to keeping up with emails, I try and be proactive with my inbox on a daily basis or it will become too overwhelming. I like to dedicate 30 minutes each day to answering emails and playing catch up. But some days I need to take off completely.

* Keep a Tidy Home. ---> Jon and I sat down recently to re-work our chore schedule, since our old one just wasn't working for us. We came up with a plan to do chores on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. We each have specific tasks assigned to us on each of those days.

* Spend Time with Jon. ---> This is a big deal since Jon and I highly value quality time. We dedicate every Wednesday to date day. It's a sacred day that won't be messed with. ;) See my previous Balance post here about date days!

* Family. ---> Just as we have date day, we also have a family day. It's very important to us to spend time with our families. We are lucky enough to have both of our families within 30 minutes of our apartment, so it makes it easy to see them each week. Currently, we've dedicated Sunday to family day. We go to church, have lunch with my family and then visit Jon's family afterwards. This also allows us to still get home at a good time in order to get some things done around the house.

* Friends. ---> One of the goals Jon and I had when we first got married was to continue building community where we lived. We do this by hosting monthly 7-11s (get-togethers) on Friday nights, Pinterest Parties, and weekly friend time. While I have catch-up time with Jenny on Tuesdays and Thursdays before our Maiedae meeting, Jon will have the guys over for some guy time. I also try and call friends or family members on my commute home from work to have catch-up time with those I don't see as often. 

* Have Downtime & Relax. ---> Date days and family days are big days for me to really relax. I also try and listen to my body when it's telling me it's tired and I will make priority time for myself throughout the week as needed. Sometimes, Jon and I like to have no-plan-Saturdays and do NOTHING. :)

* Accomplish Errands & Various To-Do's. ---> In between everything else is the best time to get these types of things done. If I'm already out, I'll try and accomplish a few errands. if I have a little down time I'll work on 1-2 To-Do's. 

* Workout. ---> Since I began my journey to Wellness in mid-April, I've had to add in extra time for working out. I workout every Tuesday with my personal trainer, which helps keep me accountable throughout the rest of the week. I try and get 2-3 more workout sessions in after that. Jenny and I are going to try working out together on Thursdays before our meeting. I'll continue to have some workout time on my own Friday-Monday. 



Whew! Seems like a lot when it's all written out! -- But thinking of your roles and priorities each week is an extremely helpful way to see what you need to accomplish each week and how you might be able to strategically work with your schedule. Here are a couple quick tips on setting up your productive week:

1. Think About Your Week. ---> Keeping a calendar is a MUST. It's helpful to always be aware of what you have scheduled month to month. However, on a weekly basis it's great to pick one day each week (maybe Sunday?) and take some time to schedule out your week. Maybe start a to-do list for each day, set a couple of attainable goals to accomplish. I find it very helpful to create a to-do list each morning to keep me on track. BUT be sure to give yourself grace. Sometimes we need a break from our to-do's, so allow yourself time to do that too. 

2. Set Designated Days. ---> This has been one of the BEST things at helping me make time for the priorities in my life. Having a designated date day, family day and Maiedae day is very helpful for getting things done and knowing that no matter how crazy life gets, you always have those days to spend with your family, friends and on your passions. Take time to evaluate those important priorities in your life and see if you can designate 1-2 nights each week towards them. Once you set your dedicated time, be sure to let other friends and family know, so they don't request your time during that scheduled day. 

3. Sabbath. ---> Make time to do nothing and love on yourself. Whether that's an entire day, night, or a couple hours each week. You need it!! Make a list of things you love to-do to wind down and challenge yourself to do one of those each week. Don't risk getting burned out on life and the things you're passionate about by not having rest time. 

4. Sleep. ---> Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself to give you energy and help you be productive. I talk more about sleep and feeling your best in this post. I've found it helpful to have a "bedtime" and a "wake-up" time each day. I think our bodies love it when it can depend on a good sleeping pattern and it begins to adjust naturally to that habit. SLEEP IS GOOD!

5. Relax & Be Productive. ---> Oftentimes, I'll like to multi-task. One of my favorite things to-do to relax is watch a show and have a healthy snack. This is something I can do while I'm working on a blog post, graphic design project, answering emails, organizing, etc. Think of ways to make your productivity enjoyable and relaxing! 

Have any tips for being productive?? Please feel free to share any ideas and resources below! Also, if you have any future Balance topics that you would like me to cover, please share! I'm working on brainstorming my thoughts for future posts and would like to make sure I cover any important topics you are interested in! 




17 comments:

  1. Wow, this post is worth it's weight in gold! (Let's pretend for a minute that blog posts are tangible, and this one is heavy. ;] )

    I work 8-5 in San Francisco, with a commute, so by the time I get home I'm beat... I don't even know where my evenings go half the time, and since I wake up so early I conk out way earlier than I used to. It's been a huge adjustment period since I started this new job, but I'm hoping to actively find a balance and be able to make time for more Kayla-things!

    This post is definitely bookmarked. :)

    Question: Do you have any opinions on whether keeping a physical day planner is better or just as effective as tracking your tasks digitally (i.e. with a smartphone, Google Calendar/iCal, etc.)? Thanks for all the great advice!


    Kayla ☆ http://www.kaylanaut.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know this question obviously wasn't exactly an open one, but I can honestly say that I believe in physical planners are better than digital ones. If nothing else, there's the actual satisfaction of *physically* crossing off something from your list.
      But if you like online/digital ones better, my favorite I've ever used: http://teuxdeux.com/ You can also get it as a phone app. Very easy & as far as digital lists can be, it's helpful.
      Otherwise, it's completely personal preference.
      Hope that helps!
      -zie

      Delete
    2. I prefer physical calendars too! Maybe because I don't own a smart phone, but for some reason physical lists and schedules stick in my head much better than digital ones. Though for my brother it's the opposite!

      Delete
    3. I'm the same! I definitely utilize iCal to keep track of my calendars. But when it comes to brainstorming, making to-do lists and keeping up with reminders I put everything in a Moleskine journal and keep it with me at ALL time. :)

      Thanks for the other suggestions ladies!!

      Delete
  2. This was enormously helpful, thank you. I'm a full-time student with a (currently) full-time job. Plus I'm trying to run my blog & start up a small business. And it really helps to be able to read little motivators like this to keep it all in perspective. So thanks! :]
    -Zie

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is SO helpful! Being in college, a blogger, in a sorority and having a full time job is crazy at times but scheduling helps me SO much!

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a terrific post. The tips are so great. I am working right now on getting my blog scheduled better so I'm not overwhelmed when its time to put a post together. Creating content and ideas ahead of time saves a lot of stress. Thanks for sharing!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. thanks so much for this post. i really admire and respect your dedication to planning and getting the most out of your time. i myself am working on ways to make my week more productive and, while i am doing a few things on your list(!), i will be sure to incorporate those which i am not. keep up the good work! i always look forward to your posts.
    blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post! You seem so organized and I'm envious you can fit all that in :)

    xoxo
    Nat
    modernbuttercup.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very nice, thanks for sharing.

    Anna @ rental mobil jakarta

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post, really love seeing how others organize their lives! We tried a date night, but somehow it kept getting pushed aside. Maybe we need to make it more of a priority!

    ReplyDelete
  9. All of these suggestions are really great. My motto for staying balanced is, "the more I plan, the more free time I will have." I wish I could be organic and just go with the flow but when I do that, I end up in a tizzy!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I get super excited when things are efficient and time is spent wisely. I know that you do amazing job(s), and I am constantly impressed by your dedication to what you love and the people that you love! I am also fond of the "amazingly long description of your daily life to a happy home" on your fridge. You continue to amazing me by living such a structured life, while still having so much fun! See you Saturday morning friend!

    ReplyDelete
  11. savannah, this is such an awesome post! thank you! i try to keep lists each day and keep my calendar right by my computer, but still seem to find myself lost some days with too much to do. these are excellent tips, and im going to see how i can incorporate them into my daily schedule. starting with making a schedule! ha ha. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. wow it is really inspiring to see this very detailed planner, but I have one gigantic problem in all this, when I come home from my 9-5 job (around 6pm) I am so exausted that only thing on my mind is - bed, or cauch. which is funny, because few years ago (before I got unemployed for 2.5 years) I also worked 9-5 and had so much time, that I sometimes think that I got ripped off for couple of hours a day now. how is that possible? I work in an office, so no heavy labour for me... I pray to the day I snap out of this tiredness and take control. Until then, thank you for this lovely post. If nothing it made me wanna do plans and lists... that is always fun :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is an awesome post!!! Thankyou so so much. It is what I needed. I have been feeling run down recently with everything I've been doing. My time management has been really horrid of late so I am really grateful for this post!

    Britney of L&H

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is such a good post, Savannah! And super helpful!

    ReplyDelete