Continuance of “Organizing My Life for Success, Part 1.”
What if you have six projects to complete? Or perhaps you have seven things on your to-do list, long and short-term, but you aren’t sure what you need to complete now?
Prioritizing your work flow is one of the most important things you can do. If you don’t know how to prioritize, you may not complete everything that you want or need to complete. Also, bad prioritization could cost you time, opportunity, and sometimes worse, money. So here are the steps that I follow to prioritize my work flow and achieve my goals and I hope you find some use for them in your work or daily life:
1. Make a list of all the things that I need to get done and include short-term and long-term goals. An example of my list for next month:
- A. Revise the ending of my novel. (short-term)
B. Edit my novel and send it to agents. (short-term)
C. Find new clients to write for or blog for. Send e-mails, apply on Indeed. (short-term)
D. Write 5 articles for Thenextfamily.com. (short-term)
E. Make a list of companies with marketing contacts for brand strategy part of internship. (short-term)
F. Write more blog posts for my blog (at least once a week). (long-term)
G. Work on my next novel. (long-term)
H. Learn more about SEO, freelancing, social media marketing, freelance taxes. (short-term)
2. Prepare to start moving things around on your list. Have some paper handy to organize your list according to importance. I consider the following things to figure out what should be prioritized first.
- A. Put the items that have a deadline at the top of your list. These will usually be considered short-term goals or projects.
B. If your list includes items that will pay you fairly quickly, put those at the top of your list. For instance, I wouldn’t put “work on my next novel” at the top of my list because I would have to finish the book, edit it, find an agent, sell the book, and much more before I ever saw any money from it. On the other hand, “Write 5 articles for Thenextfamily.com” would be higher on my list because the quicker I write them, the quicker I get paid and they have an end-of-the-month deadline.
C. Next on the list will be anything that could grow my career or bring more opportunity and money to me in the short-term or long-term.
D. Coming in last will be very long-term goals that I want to achieve. These might take a year or two to complete but are very important and something that I want to give time to.
3. Pull out that handy-dandy calendar that I suggested you get in Part 1 of this blog post. Click here for reference. Now you need to put your priorities on a calendar.
Now you need to create a daily or weekly goal or time slot for each of these priorities and you need to put them on your calendar. Some people may like to manage their day by time, so for instance, they may want to regulate a certain task like “finding new clients on Indeed” to the time of 9-10 a.m. each morning and 10-11 am each day to revising the ending of my novel.
I, on the other hand, like to mix it up. So sometime I will write on my calendar, “Apply to five writing opportunities/jobs each day” and then also regulate 30 minutes a day to “working on my next novel.” Find what works best for you. It may be a mixture of these things.
Remember, put more time each day or each week to the things at the top of your “Priority List.” You will need to complete those first! Here is a sample of a weekly calendar that I would create with everything I need to do.
As you can see, I don’t really create “time slots” of 12-2 pm or 3-5 pm. I know that researching 5 companies could take me 30 minutes or an hour and I like to keep it flexible. I usually complete everything plus extra which is always the goal in prioritizing work.
4. And then lastly, complete your priorities according to the time limits or “mini-goals” (i.e. contact 5 clients, find 3 companies). Mark off what you complete so you can see the accomplishment on paper.
I guarantee that by following many of these suggestions you will see yourself completing more work and in the order you should complete them in. Just encourage yourself to be a little strict and get ‘er done!
You’ve organized your life with binders and calendars and you created a priority list, and you realize, wow, my list is long. You may have a lot of goals (as you should) and they may seem daunting. How will you ever complete everything without wanting to pull your hair out at the end of the day?
Most people are amazed by how much work I get in each day and how much I accomplish in a week. So here are a few tips and thoughts and suggestions to be successful after organizing your life.
1. If you’re job permits it, take breaks often.
So what do I mean by this? As someone who writes for a living, I found that I produce better work with quicker turn-around times if I don’t work eight hours straight with no breaks. I’ve done it before but by the time I’m done, I’m exhausted and zoned out of my mind. So I suggest create a time slot, say two hours. Push yourself to complete as much as you can in those two hours. Then stop, take a break. Stand up, move around. Work out. Take out the laundry. And then go at it again. I feel as if I maximize my time better if I give myself breaks.
2. Change up the focus of your work.
My work involves different things such as PR, social media, writing blogs, writing articles, etc. Instead of writing 5 articles in a row, I find that I produce better quality of work at a quicker pace if I research an article, start on a blog, do a few social media postings, then return to the article to write it, complete the blog, check my social media posting progress, and so on. Change up your work so that your mind isn’t so consumed by one topic. It allows your brain to stay in engaged.
3. Treat yourself.
I truly believe in treating yourself when you’ve done hard work. Just completed a big project, take time to catch up on your favorite show with a glass of wine. Or perhaps you just closed an awesome sales deal, go pick up your favorite food for dinner. Treat yourself with small gifts and luxuries to entice yourself to continue working hard.
4. Give yourself a break.
Sometimes I can get very obsessed with achieving my goals and I work around the clock (the last three months…). This is not very healthy. If I want to make sure that I produce good work, and not make myself sick or hurt my eyes, I have to make myself not work every hour of the day. It’s hard not to check my e-mail but if I want to live life and enjoy the work that I do, I have to step back sometimes and know that no matter how much I want to achieve success tomorrow or the next day, it won’t be worth it if I’m overworked and unhappy because I didn’t give myself a break every once in a while.
All in all, I hope that you got something out of this post. Although success is a very important aspect that we might all want to achieve, remember that life is not all about work and that we should work to live, not live to work. So prioritize living your life, because that is true success!