I'm asked all the time how I get seemingly so much accomplished. I feel like I don't get nearly enough done, but I guess that's my problem......
Anyway, I've adapted a couple tricks over the course of the years and I thought I would share:
- I take advantage of block scheduling, like running all my errands together one day every week. I also consolidate studio chores - for instance, Sunday evenings are spent varnishing paintings, Monday mornings are packing and shipping days.
- I schedule myself one half-day a week for client consults, photo shoots, painting deliveries, visits and other things that may take me out of the studio.
- I have a daily routine - household chores followed by several hours of computer work, with my end goal being getting to the easel by noon. Because everything else is done, I can paint until afternoon activities start up with my kids, typically around 4 or 5. My Better Half chips in and does carpools and dinners when home in time, and The Man Child gets recruited to drive carpools at least once a week. And the added bonus? the more efficiently I run my morning, the faster I get to the easel - since all I really want to do is paint, it's a great prize.
- In the evenings I check email prior to bedtime. I can also duck in and check while dinner's simmering or kids are doing homework. Things needing immediate attention are flagged as such, so when I come into the studio in the morning I can get straight to work.
- I use a planning software program (Palm Software from an ancient Palm Pilot phone!) to track all my tasks. I color code - studio, family, volunteer, etc - and tag if they can be delegated (you never know when someone will offer to help!). I build tasks with due dates and reminders and set them up to repeat if they are things I do cyclically. This way I do not have to remember a thing, and my brain is free to focus on the more important stuff.
- Everything I need during the course of my work day is here in the studio. Including a girl scout cookie stash. (I had a chocolate one, but someone raided it. That someone's on my radar and karma's tough.)
- I do better with a tightly scheduled day. If I have a shorter to-do list, I will waste time on Pinterest or ebay, for example. So I lean towards overscheduling in the hope that it'll keep me on track.
- I also am a rabid list maker. Understanding that and forcing myself to make one list (the Palm Software) allows me to control and leverage what could end up being a crutch.
To me, time management is understanding the circumstances under which we best perform (and knowing what works for one person may not work for another) and building habits that best match up.
Now I am off for a little holiday shopping with The Princess!
Kim, who loves helping Santa get it done