Ahhh…..task management. That thing that we all struggle with and at times, truly hate. Yet, it’s the one tool we must master when it comes to our work and personal life. As a partnered mom of 3 and a freelance writer, I have to manage my time effectively so that I can enjoy my family and sweetheart without losing work.
For my personal life, I carry around a calendar. It sounds counterintuitive considering I have a smartphone on me at all times. However, more people retain information easier when they write things down as opposed to typing it into the phone calendar. It can also free up the time in your mind for actual work to get done. If we aren’t writing it down, it stays in the mind and then while we work, our brain goes haywire trying to remind us of all the things so that we forget. At the start of my day, after kids have been shuttled to school, I sit with my calendar just for a few moments to see how my day looks and what else is happening in the week. Then I can freely work on my writing assignments and meet all my deadlines.
For the solopreneur, a digital calendar can be a godsend! For work, I use the task list on my google calendar to help me manage my writing tasks for that day. I had originally entered them into my calendar but I found that I was forced into time constraints. I can work with a deadline but not allocating one hour of research for a specific article. Especially if I was faced with an emergency that caused me to change my work day. It stressed me out and I needed to use something without specific time set for. For now, this works.
A friend of mine is also a freelance writer and she creates a spreadsheet that breaks down her tasks by day, week, and month. In a lot of ways, it helps her with making sure she has enough work to pay her bills and meet her short term goals. While it may seem a bit tedious for me, it works for her and frees her up to allow her to work throughout the day without stressing over forgetting a project.
Bullet point journaling is the latest trend in journaling that can be a fantastic tool for time management. This is especially important for those of us who prefer to write things down! Utilizing symbols to denote the importance of a task and creating a system that allows you to see the long scheme of things is fantastic for making sure you are accomplishing your work goals without overstepping into your personal time. One of the attitudes I love most about this system is “if it’s not important enough to rewrite, it’s not important enough to do”. This system not only manages your time but shows you potential trouble areas so that you can do the work that fulfills you most.
Whether you opt for an actual program or choose to use digital and physical calendars, managing your time and tasks is vital to making your freelancing, and writing, a success! Not only does it help with management, it can help you find those problem areas that need to be worked out. And don’t get bogged down in one system. What works for me, may not work for you. Try something and if it works, great! If it doesn’t, look for a new system.