Anyone who has tried to blog consistently while holding a full-time job knows it’s a lot of work. In addition to the 45+ hours I spend at work, I spend countless hours on top of that writing blog posts, scheduling social media blasts, designing products for my Etsy shop, and more. Not to mention making time for housework, family, and friends. It’s a lot. And I know there are plenty of people out there with even more on their plate! But like anyone in my position can attest to, it’s all about properly managing your time and establishing priorities. You get used to the busy schedule and learn how to establish priorities so the important things get done, and the people you love get enough of your time.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. I’ve developed some strategies over the years to stay productive, avoid burnout, and ensure the essential parts of my life are getting the most attention. Here are a few tips for managing your time and establishing priorities.
Set Your Priorities
Establishing priorities is going to be your first (and most important) step for learning to better manage your time. Establishing priorities in advance is also a great way to avoid wasting time on things that aren’t important to you, and then regretting it later. For most of us, family and friends probably fall at the top of this list. For many of us, our career is also near or at the top of the list. Knowing what your biggest priorities will help you later when it comes to deciding how to divide up your time.
Identify the Nonessentials
Just as we need to set priorities in our life, the things that are going to get the most attention, we need to identify the things are present in our life but really don’t need to be. They are nonessentials. Nonessentials might be things like spending endless hours scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram or binge-watching Netflix. Nonessentials also might include your inability to say no, and therefore getting roped into things you don’t really want to do. Nonessentials could also be people. You’ve identified the people in your life who are priorities. I’m not saying anyone who isn’t a priority is nonessential in your life, but there are likely people you spend time with who are mentally or emotionally draining to you, or who demand too much of your time.
Saying no can be difficult, which is one of the reasons we all have nonessentials in our lives to begin with, but it’s also essential for your own well-being.
Once I’ve set my priorities, I like to take things one step further and set specific goals for those priorities. For example. Spending time with my family is a priority for me. Because of this, last year I made sure to set aside money to visit my brothers in Alaska. Once I had a specific goal in mind, it was easier to identify what steps I needed to take such as putting more money into savings and making sure I had enough vacation time at work.
My blog is also a priority for me, so I regularly set specific goals that I want to meet with my blog (such as traffic and monetization). Have these goals make it so much easier to really make sure I’m giving my priorities the attention I hoped to.
So you’ve set your priorities, eliminated the nonessentials, and have set your goals. Great! The next step is to get organized. Because even once you’ve identified what you want to work toward, you still have to make a plan and put in the work. Identify steps you’ll need to accomplish in order to reach each and every one of your goals. I do this two different ways. First, I keep a to-do list with the long-term tasks I need to complete. Then each week I use a planner to break down the tasks I’ll get done that week. Though I don’t break down my day hour by hour (though you certainly could), I do designate each task to a specific day.
Automate When Possible
Most aspects of my life, I’m not able to automate. There’s nothing I can do to automate spending time with family and friends, nor would I want to. There’s no button I can press to have the house automatically cleaned before I get home each day. Little of what I do in my full-time job can be automated. Luckily there are plenty of things I can do to automate my blog! I schedule all of my social media for a week in one sitting. It takes me 30-60 minutes, and I don’t have to do it again for seven days. This way I’m not spending my entire day on social media. I also write and schedule my blog posts in advance, and design several Etsy products at a time that will be put up for sale over the course of several weeks. I also use things like templates for images for my blog and social media, so I’m not starting from scratch with each new image.
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What are your biggest struggles when it comes to time management and establishing priorities?
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