Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Increase your productivity, and become Wonder Woman

I get asked a lot how I stay on top of things. Being a wife to a husband who works 80 hours a week means I am on my own for a lot of the parenting and household things. Having two kids in school means I'm busy being involved with their studies, their school, not to mention their extra curricular activities. Working part time means I'm fortunate enough to work outside of the home as well as get all of these things done. Then we toss in that I'm a book reviewer, a crafter, and the PTO President at my kids' school. It all adds up to a crazy life, an even crazier schedule, and that's hard to manage.

So how do I do it?

It's taken awhile to develop a system that works for me, but I can tell you that I live and die by lists. Lists make me feel calm, even when they are lengthy. Having everything I need to get done laid out in front of me feels much more manageable and the feeling of crossing things off is great!

I do a lot of book reviews and the easiest way for me to keep track of them is a double system to catch myself in case I forget it in one area. As soon as I book a review, it goes right into my day planner. I write the book title and which company is organizing the tour under the date it is due. Every month I update my white board (shown here) with the current month and the next month, which books I have due and what dates. This is usually where I look first when I go to grab a new book to read and every time a review is typed up, it's erased off the board.
I also have two desks in my office. I know that sounds insane, but it has turned out to be really great as far as keeping things straight. This is my every day desk, it's where I pay my bills, run my blog, maintain social media, and do anything that requires a dedicated work space. The only things I keep here are things that go in and out.
Everything else, whether it be crafty, kid related projects for school, or PTO information, happens at this desk. It's actually a built in cabinet meant for an entertainment center, but it has turned out perfect as a second desk. This way none of this stuff crosses over to the work area and I can keep myself straight and work just in the area that I need to. Sadly, this is the desk that often sees piles, but you see I've got one manageable pile here, I swear it's not for your viewing benefit!
I mentioned that I live and die by lists, but you will also never see me without my daily planner. Though I have a full size one here, in January I am going back to a 6 x 9 size (or around that) because this isn't as handy as I thought it would be, I'd much rather have something that fits into a purse easily. But in my planner I use a color coded system. On the month-at-a-view page, I only write down my actual work schedule. Any other activity is marked on the corresponding date with an asterisk- that's my mental clue to turn to the page for that specific date. On that page, anything for Olivia is written in purple, for Jackson it's blue, PTO related things is green and all else is either teal, pink, or red... whatever I have handy. This color coded system has worked out tremendously!

The other thing I highly advise? Is no matter how small it is, even if it's something you do EVERY Tuesday, write it in your planner! Anytime you have to make plans, you really need to take in everything you have going on that day, be realistic! It's OK to say no to things and to say you really have too much happening on any given day.

Another totally random thing that I have found that helps me a lot is actually having a plan for cleaning, a cleaning schedule, if you will. I know, it sounds silly to say, "On Mondays we mop." but truly, it helps! Who wants to blow their entire weekend cleaning their house? Break it up into smaller, more manageable chores over the week so you can actually relax and enjoy your weekend. The hidden bonus to this is that it then becomes easier to dole these things out to children and spouses.

It takes time to develop a routine that works for you and your family, but I promise that once you hit your groove, you will feel like Wonder Woman and people will wonder how you have it so together!

If you are fortunate to already have a really good routine down, and you feel like you need to grow your business but you are lacking funds? A really great resource is Kabbage. They help you grow your business, increase your productivity, and become more successful in your endeavors by providing small business loans. The great thing is that Kabbage knows you are busy, so you can find out what they can do for you really quickly, and that helps you get more done in your day.

2 comments:

♥ Drazil ♥ said...

Can you do a post on how you become a book reviewer? Pros? Cons? Etc. I love to read...am just wondering if it's something I could get into but am not sure how.

Danielle S said...

Thank you for sharing this post!!! I have been looking for advice in this area for a long time and whenever I think of someone that has it all together throughout the chaos you're the one that comes to mind. So it's nice to know some of your secret to keeping it so together!

I would also be interested in knowing how you got started into the book reviewing world! :)