on time management + the best-laid schemes

“Am I being led by love or pushed by fear?” – Emily P. Freeman

With the help of my Lara Casey / Cultivate What Matters Powersheets, I have been identifying big goals and little goals every month to help make sure I’m answering that question right.

While it’s good to see a framework of how I want my month to look and what I want to accomplish, if we’re honest, my to-dos have been pushed to the next month more often than not. One of the reasons is because we’re just getting into a good school rhythm around here. (Yes, I realize that it’s November!)

So one of my November goals was to design and implement a massive overhaul of my daily routine, which I did the first day of the month…

…and promptly went down with high fever and strep throat that picked off one family member at a time. Good perspective building from the get-go, I tell you 🙂

Please bear in mind that I will never abide by a hard-and-fast schedule. If one of my friends is having a day and suggests setting our minions loose at Chick Fil A for an hour or two, who am I to argue? If my toddler didn’t sleep well and needs to take an earlier nap? Picking up dish soap and chicken cutlets can wait.

It’s more of an evaluation of:

  • What will help me and the people I’m in charge of grow and move forward this month?
  • What’s been slipping through the cracks too much lately?
  • What excess and unnecessary can I remove?
  • Where is there white space in my days that can make the important things happen?

Would you believe me if I told you I’m NOT a natural planner? It’s true. My mind is actually quite the hot mess of need cilantro and schedule dentist appointment and maybe this could happen in chapter 2? at any given time. I didn’t start setting goals or keeping a planner until college when I had three jobs, 18 credit hours, intramural sports, a really fun friend group, and a very real, very intense fear of missing out. It was kind of necessary.

The truth is: If I don’t make a list or give myself a big-picture, I spend a lot of time procrastinating or overthinking what needs to be done next. That’s my human nature and the tendency I’ve learned to adapt. 

But as much as I believe in managing the work, the chores, the appointments, and tasks, I think it’s equally important to create margin for rest and play. That doesn’t come naturally to me, either. I tend to feel guilty and stressed about taking time to rest and play when there are things I need to be getting done. What I’ve learned at the ripe age of 32, though? Guilt and stress only breed burnout and indecision. And I am actually less likely to move and make progress when I’m frozen in burnout and indecision. It’s kind of like starting off too fast in a race and finishing more slowly than you would have at a manageable pace. Or getting a speeding ticket and arriving late to your destination anyway.

So this month, I’m focusing on revamping my routine, finishing projects that have been vacillating for months, being intentional about family time instead of multitasking, keeping a daily gratitude log on my Facebook for perspective, working ON my business instead of just working in it, and recharging well (with things that actually fill me up instead of just shutting down in front of Netflix).

Are you a natural planner? Have you revamped your routine lately?

One thought on “on time management + the best-laid schemes

  1. I’m gonna engage here – help others feel like the can too. 😉

    Not a natural planner at all, but since I love learning, I started picking up time management books and practices starting at age 14. I went to a seminar from the Franklin Day Planner company (back before they merged with and became Franklin-Covey of Stephen Covery-7 Habits fame) and listened to a gentleman talk all about how to prioritize the first things first. Since then I’ve been gathering productivity strategies, techniques, and lifehacks all over.

    For me, one of the most useful and formative was David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and specifically from it – 1) limit inboxes where possible and 2) think in terms of next actions.

    The other I can say after learning all these different methods – without doubt, the single biggest thing you can do to make the change stick is to have and truly engage in a weekly review.

    All the tools, techniques, and approaches are great for getting things out of your head and into a system, be it digital or paper so you can stop worrying. But the weekly review is where you get to select which things go back INTO your head so you can focus on them. Plan enough to get your head clear, but review once a week to get enough back into it.

    BTW, loving the colors!

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