Time Management

It’s now 18 months or so since I left my permanent job and kind of retired. In that time I’ve worked on a couple of projects that paid money and am about to again soon. Mostly my time is my own in a way it never was before. Blogging is one of my main hobbies and I try to write most days. But without structure, it can become difficult to maintain productivity and then when some paid employment comes along it’s a challenge to do both.

I was listening to the latest Smutlancer podcast as I journeyed to my meeting yesterday. In it Kayla talks about having a morning (or whenever you need to get writing) routine. I was struck by how much I have tried to put structure into my day, where none previously existed. I’ve done this consciously over recent weeks because to be honest, my time management had slipped over the previous months. It became too easy to blog from the sofa or not. Plus, I had a whole list of things to do that I just kept moving forward in my 2019 planner. One of those was my divorce. It’s 6 months since I told my ex I would start proceedings and had done nothing. I had planned to update my blog, redesign it and make it more whizzy in time for the top 100. But I haven’t done that either. Last summer when I had paid work my blog was neglected. I don’t want that to happen again.

A new year is a good time for a new start

But only if you keep at it. So, new planner in hand I have begun to manage my time more effectively and get through my lists. I particularly love the structure and have created plans for the year and beyond as well as some week by week lists. This relates to personal stuff (the divorce), paid work (vanilla and sex blogging) and content creation for this and Food, Fitness and Health.

I know it is only 2/3 of the way through January but I am confident that I’m heading in the right direction.

Each week I look back at what I’ve achieved and think about how productive I’ve been and what habits I need to change. This also includes some health related stuff, which in turn is material for my health related blog. I’m finding that I want to write about much more than sex and kink (including posts like this). Whereas in the past I’d write nothing rather than something seemingly unrelated, I’ve changed my opinion. This in turn has released some of my creativity and I was delighted that this post was chosen as one of Cara’s picks in Elust. Plus I’ve written some fiction this month too.

Managing time going forward

I’m not convinced I’ve completely cracked the planning yet. My project plans, supplied in the planner need further fine tuning and also I need to think about how I’m going to review my goals at the end of each month. This will, I think help me stay on track. There’s also a finance element as well as productivity outcomes I’ve not completed yet. I was interested reading this post by Marie this morning, that she takes her planner to work with her and plans her work day in the same way as the rest of her life. This feels important to me, who will be returning (at least in part) to working. This time I want to be much more structured about how everything fits together.

The other thing I want to factor into my time is more exercise, adding more walks into my week. Currently I swim every week and walk to and from the pool. But I want to build an increasing amount of exercise in as I get fitter.

I’m sure I’ll return to this topic with an update later in the year.

Multitask?

Hardly! I can barely do one thing at a time.

That is partially true. I am better at being efficient and effective when I focus on that thing and get it done than when I try to do 2 or 3 things at once. But of course life doesn’t allow us the luxury of concentrating on that one thing and then moving on.

Work, managing a family, social life and blogging all require attention. But if I don’t work out what I need to do and get on with it, I am likely to try to do everything at once. Not literally perhaps, though I do often have several windows on my laptop open at once and of course there’s that important WhatsApp message to check. Next I remember I promised to call my mum and then there is the washing to take out of the machine. (Break here while I go and do it).

Planning

The secret to being productive is planning. I started the year with a fabulous planner and faithfully planned out whole months and then weeks of activity. For about half the year this worked well. I kept track of appointments (lots of them at hospitals), social events, birthdays and my blogging plans. But then life got busy, I took some paid work and things went wrong. I concentrated on the project (I did the planning) and got that done. I still managed to blog, but found it difficult to find the brain capacity for both. Next I went on holiday. Since then I’ve hardly planned anything other than in my head. Appointments are in the diary (often put there by Master), but blogging is more haphazard.

Multitasking in the way I have been doing lately is tiring. Keeping most plans in my head is crazy as I am not doing things in the right order. Plus I am forgetting important (though small) tasks.

Goal setting

When I finished work last year, I had all sorts of plans in mind. To have a prolonged break from the stress of the workplace. To travel and to write. I wanted to see if I could make money from writing. None of this stuff was written down, which is why I got the planner. But I hadn’t factored in the small issue of discovering I had breast cancer and requiring treatment and recovery from it.

Now though I am ready to set goals again and to plan the coming weeks and months. I have a new planner for 2020 and I am going to use it.

I’ve just listed to Molly and Kayla’s latest podcast about setting goals as well as other’s recently about planning and planners. So in theory I am ready. I have ideas I want to put in place, new exciting projects I want to embark on. This week I have found myself steaming ahead to do one of them, only to be stymied by internet problems. This led to multitasking in a way that is not efficient and fruitful as I tried to sort it out.

But while at a classical music event last night I worked out what I need to do (I find piano music particularly useful for this). Set goals and plan. Then do.

You see, as I said at the top, I can’t really multitask. I can barely do one thing at a time. So I will leave multitasking to those who can.

During the writing of this post I drank tea, put the washing into the tumble dryer, went in search of my laptop lead and checked a news story online. Plus chatted to Master who has just returned from the shop.

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