Stop Wasting Time: A 15-Minute Planning Session That Will Save You Hours
A few months ago I told you how I went part-time at work in this post. I thought I would have a ton of extra time on my hands and life would be relaxing. But, all of a sudden I got even busier because I started committing to more things because I had more time.
It has been two months since I started this work from home part-time arrangement and each week I try something new to organize my time better and not overwork myself. My time management is still not perfect, but I am doing better each week. I can finally say that I think I figured it out. I have found something that has literally changed my entire work week just by doing one little thing every Sunday evening.
I now take 15 minutes every Sunday evening to plan out my work week and to think about what my week is going to look like. It makes Monday morning much less stressful and helps me focus on the most important things.  So I wanted to share my Sunday routine and worksheets I use. Hopefully, this will help you as well!
(Note: This routine also helps me limit my Facebook time which I am also guilty of lately!)
I have to say that there is one person who was pivotal in helping me create this routine and that was Jullien Gordon. Jullien interviewed me as part of his Perform Higher call last month.
When you download the time management worksheets below, you are going to notice that they are not electronic and that I actually print them all out. You might think I am crazy that I don’t keep my calendar and task lists online but I assure you I do. The problem is that I have multiple calendars in multiple places for my multiple jobs. I keep my personal to-do list in one list, my blog to-do list in another list and my job to-do list in another list.  My Sunday morning ritual consolidates all of these lists into one for the entire work week and helps me focus on the most important tasks for the week without getting overwhelmed. I always have my worksheets with me even if I am not near a computer and still want to check my weekly to-do list items.
Another warning: Everyone is different and you need to determine how you manage your time best in order to balance your career and life. What works for me may not work for you. But, if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, try out my Sunday routine!
5 Simple Time Management Tips For a GREAT Work Week:

1. Sunday Planning Session

Every Sunday evening, I set aside 15 minutes to plan out my upcoming work week.  I try to do it right before dinner so that I can relax during the evening and not think about work.

2. Use a Master Calendar

I plan out my week on one master calendar. Right now, I have a few different calendars I use for different jobs which makes things complicated to manage different meetings. This step helps me consolidate everything into one place.

3. List Out Specific Tasks

I write out specific tasks that I need to get done each week. These tasks are separated into different sections such as personal, delegate, blog, things to think about this week, my job and notes. This helps me prioritize everything in my long master list into just this week and see what is really important at a glance.  This task list shows me that in the grand scheme of things, what do I absolutely need to get done this week?

4. Set Aside Time Blocks

Then I take what I have planned out for my week on my master task list and write it into my calendar with how much time I will need for each task.  This helps me figure out what the focus of each day will be.  I write beside each task how much time I expect the task to take.  Giving myself a time deadline makes sure that I am not goofing off on Facebook when I have a task I need to get done in 30 minutes.

5. Limit My Time on Certain Tasks

I am the type of person that could work and work and work without stopping. When you manage a blog, it seems like there is always something you could be doing.  But, part of the reason that I went part-time at work was to have more time for myself. Instead of doing that, I have just put more and more time into other work things. I now set a number of hours per week that I can ONLY work on certain items, such as this blog.
This has forced me to really prioritize what I need to get done when and it has forced me to really be productive and efficient with things such as “blog time.” At the end of every week, I take a look back at my calendar and make sure that I didn’t work over my max hours in the week for each task.  It’s interesting because you might think that this task of limiting my time would make my work products worse but it actually makes them better because I am more efficient with the limited time that I do have.

Final Thoughts on Time Management

After those 15 minutes of planning are up, that is the point where I take a deep breath and really start looking forward to my upcoming week. In my head, my week ahead seemed a lot more crazy and hectic than it does when I write it all down on paper. It just seems so simple and it is a great way to start your week off right!

How do you manage your work week?  Do you plan out what you are going to do ahead of time?

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