Don’t rush. Take the time to think, think, think.
I feel like I’ve been failing at project management lately, and spending far too much time hacking away on the computer, then bouncing to the phone, and then back again to finish off an email, without a lot of organization, and with lots of time wasted. My eldest has threatened, actually, to throw the computer in the garbage. It’s time to refresh my approach to managing my to do list.
I want to do it in a way that respects the value of what I’m doing, rather than what time of day I have it slotted in. I guess I am wanting more work-family balance –I’m intentionally avoiding the term work-life balance, because I consider my work part of my life, not something that keeps me from it. I just don’t want work to encroach on my family time.
I want to make the most of the little snippets of time I may have to get some concrete private practice-related work done while feeling like there is no rush in the world for three readings of Curious George Goes Camping at bedtime. If I can free up more of my time to feel good about what I do with my time then, well, it’s time well spent.
I’ve played around with a few ‘systems’ over the years, and have discovered some things about how I need to organize things to feel good about how I get things done. I tend to be a to-do list kind of person, and most definitely (despite multiple attempts) a pencil and paper planner. But I also don’t have a ‘schedule’ to the extent that I used to when I worked for someone else. I have projects, and plans, and ideas that apply to my work and my family, and it’s getting hard to keep track of them all so that we have what we need, and are prepared for what to do, when the time comes to get it done.
Here are a couple of pencil and paper ‘planners’ that seem to have the entrepreneur in mind:
Productive Flourishing -pitched as the planner for entrepreneurs and creatives, their free tools (monthly, weekly, and daily planner, as well as project-based sheets and blog-planner layouts) carried me through for a few months this year before I decided to drop the $12 and get the whole package (which you print yourself. Which is on my to do list). If you don’t work 9-5, and have a lot of projects on the go, this might be worthwhile testing out. This planner is one I keep on the countertop as I work away organizing my week, laying out the steps to a project (where all the steps are on one self-contained page, and not lost over weeks or months in a regular planner). There’s space for random to-do’s like phone calls to my sister to plan a get together, or listing the bills I need to pay. I find I need a small monthly calendar when I use productive flourishing because their layout is not ideal for looking at what appointments are coming up. It really is more suited to the project-management side of things, which is what I need more of these days.
Passion Planner -for those who want to explore combining journaling, goal-setting, and scheduling, Passion Planner has quite a lovely kick-start story. Yearly journals are available, as well as ‘school year’ journals. At $30 (though currently half off because we’re into May) I got a nice soft covered journal that got me really excited about my big-picture life goals, and gave me lots of space to doodle, and jot down some free-thinking ramblings. Free monthly printables let you test it out before you buy. Inspirational quotes are printed along side layouts. I don’t need a ‘regular calendar’ for appointments when I use a Passion Planner, though sometimes the personal dreams and aspirations I’ve journaled about are not ones I want to carry across town to the dentist.
If there are other planners you have used and love, let me know and I’ll add them here. Because really, if there is a way we can help each other breakdown the steps to prepare for a client meeting AND remember our child’s dental appointment while simultaneously finding some mindfulness in just breathing, then it is a very good thing.