Recently, a handful of people have said to me in emails that they don’t know how I do all the things I do. Then Marty mentioned to me on IM that I should teach lessons on time management…in my spare time *smirk*.
The truth is, I do have a list of things I keep my hand in or keep up with. In my interview with Mandy last week, I listed just a few of the things I do as part of my job. Not including the things I do as wife and mommy, and the things I do just because they’re fun and I like to stay sane 😉
But when people ask me how I manage it all, I don’t really have an answer. I just do. But the fact is, I wouldn’t do any of it if I didn’t love it–including my job–that’s the first “secret” to good time management. It’s harder when you dread something, when you don’t look forward to it or dislike it. Which is why it’s so hard for me to get to the post office. Or write rejection letters. They’re not things I love. Granted, I don’t love dishes either, but I like having a clean house, so the motivation at the end is my prize.
Other things I do to keep my time management good is to set a schedule and a type of goal for myself. I have an idea, with my editing schedule, exactly when I need to have things done. But I don’t make unrealistic goals and I realize up front that things will pop up (like editors quitting) that will force my schedule to change. So I don’t get down on myself if my schedule changes or I don’t meet my goals. They’re not there as a rigid “I must follow this” but as a guideline, so I always know approximately where I should be in my work.
During the day, when Brianna is at daycare, I try to keep myself mostly on task, keeping in mind that I’ve got her in daycare so I can spend time with her on the weekends and in the evenings. So some of my time management is a combination of self-motivation and self-discipline. I might be working at home but I’m still working and 8 to 5 are still the hours I need to get most of my work done in.
Sometimes, I do get behind, or overwhelmed. And sometimes that means longer hours or working when I normally try not to (like weekends). But I just re-prioritize, figure out what I can’t do, delegate and let it go. I wish I were Superwoman, but I’m so not, so letting things go and recognizing my limitations is part of my time management.