I’m sure we all have our time management plans and issues. I have issues with staying on track and have used a lot of different time-management concepts over the years. The most recent one was Time Blocking which was supposed to be the cure-all for what ails your time management. It lasted as long as a week but I kept trying. But this is why I stopped time-blocking and use a list instead.
I am a shiny object kind of person…Squirrel! I get distracted easily. I try out all the new ideas on time management like time-blocking. Or the Pomodoro technique (setting a timer for 25 minutes of work and then a 5-minute break.) I’ve even tried a Bullet Journal. It turns out I like other people’s pretty bullet journals, not my sloppy take on it.
I tried the Ivy Lee method of just putting 6 things on my to-do list, starting with the most important and then working on that first until it’s complete. The idea is that you don’t move on to the 2nd item until the first item is done. There were two problems with this. The first…ooh, look at that pretty new thing over there! The other problem is that I’m a procrastinator, so I kept dragging the same items, the ones I dreaded, to the next day’s list.
But, I do realize now that lists work best for me. At all points in my life, I’ve used a list or have gone back to a list when other ideas have failed. I need to stop getting distracted by the shiny object of new time-management methods and stick with what works for me.
I also need to stop getting distracted by fancy online or phone app versions. Those don’t work for me. I’m both a visual and kinesthetic learner. I like to write out my list and then cross out every item as I finish. Sure an online version or even an app can do that for me but I like to do it myself. There’s a satisfaction in drawing that line through something when it’s complete. Watching an app do it for me doesn’t compare.
The Beauty of a List
Lists are simple. They can be as long or as short as you want. The key is knowing what you need to do not just what you want to do. So I created a master list. It’s a landscaped sheet with seven columns, Sunday to Saturday. And each day has a list of things that I need to do.
And yes, I’m an old-school purist who likes to start my week on Sunday. There’s something soothing about knowing the first day of the week is a day of connection with your spiritual side or your family. I see it as a day to ease into the busy week ahead.
My days are broken up into things that are mostly blog related. Creating outlines for blog posts, pins for Pinterest, writing the blog posts into WordPress, and creating Instagram posts. Everything is broken out by the day I’m going to complete it. My master list gets added to my notebook each day. And that satisfies my tactile need.
What I like about a list over time-blocking is that I know what needs to be done. I can decide when is the best time to do it. It allows for interruptions like laundry or my mind wanting to work on something different instead of working on that one thing that was time-blocked in for that hour. A list also allows for me to add things that come up unexpectedly. Or even things that I plan like doctor’s appointments.
A list also allows me to stay on track with my extra free time while also giving me the flexibility of changing it up. While I’m not retired yet, I am down to three days per week. I have four days out of the week in which to focus on whatever I want.
I could easily fall into a life of just reading books on the couch all day if I didn’t plan. This way I’m able to stay on track with what I want to do while also including those things we have to do like chores and appointments.
Do you use a time-management system? I’d love to hear about it.