Mastering Time Management

Stock image courtesy of Canva.

The week has flown by, and the weekend is already half over. The scariest part, is July is almost over. Where has our summer gone?

My work weeks never seem to be productive at home, because after spending all day on my feet I just don’t feel like doing much. I probably shouldn’t let it bother me, but it does.

I hate to admit it, but something I struggle with is time management. When I’m working my shift at the library, I seem to get a lot done in a day. But when I’m home it’s a whole different story.

I have been using a bullet journal for about a year and a half (give or take). I have tried several different layouts and have decided simple is best. Sure, the bujos on Instagram are nice to look at, but they must take a lot of time to make pretty. When I started out, I followed the pretty layouts but soon found myself spending more time journaling and planning than doing what I was supposed to be.

I borrowed a copy of Ryder Carroll’s The Bullet Journal from my local library (yes, the one I work at) and his method is super simple. Granted it doesn’t look as fancy and colourful as others I have seen, but there’s something to be said about the simplicity.

I have added a habit tracker this month to mine, because I found myself rewriting some of the same things day after day. I stepped away from the habit tracker for several months, but found it’s something I benefit from. This way I can keep track of how often I do my morning pages, water my plants, vacuum, do laundry and so forth. Plus, I also have the bottom half of it as a health tracker. I like to keep track of how often I walk in a month, how many nights I get to bed before midnight, do my yoga/pilates and even lady days.

Not all planning and time management systems work for everyone, which is why I like the flexibility of my BuJo. I like the concept of the future log, as pictured below. I can plan the major events a year in advance if I like, then add to it each month as occasions and appointments pop up. It’s looking pretty empty right now, but it will fill up as time goes on.

In previous months, I have actually drawn out a calendar but am finding Ryder’s method much easier. The days of the month are listed, one per line, and events, holidays and appointments are added as the month goes on. It not only takes up less space, but I can see at a glance what I can schedule for when.

When it comes to the daily pages, I had been dedicating one page per day, but found some days the pages were almost empty. Now I’m filling the pages with one, two or even three days worth of tasks/notes. I haven’t been doing a task list for each week anymore, but the daily pages take care of what needs to be done each day. I’ve gotten into the habit of filling it out right before bed, or first thing in the morning. That way, I don’t miss anything.

The photo below shows a couple of entries for days earlier this month. The tenth has a list starting on the previous page, but notice what was scheduled, what was done and the notes added to the days.

I know I still have a long way to go to manage my time perfectly (or even relatively close), but having it in writing has been positive for me. I find the more things I have going on, the more I need to schedule them in. One thing I haven’t scheduled in is novel-writing time, and have thus not touched it.

My manager and I were checking out Lynda.com yesterday; an online resource for courses available to library patrons. One of the first I will be taking is on time management. Since I work from home more than the library, I really need to learn some tricks to keep my household obligations separate from my work time (side hustle). I may be doing a follow up post after I take the course, providing I find it helpful.

Do you have trouble budgeting your time? If not, what system (if any) do you use to stay on track?

Photos (Copyright Diane Ziomek 2019) were taken specifically for this post, and are intended for single use only.

5 Ways to Cut the Clutter

New logo designed 2019 on Canva by Diane Ziomek

I don’t know about you, but I like to keep things pretty simple. Easy on the eyes; nothing flashy. Those were my thoughts when I designed the logo for my blog. It’s just enough to catch the eye, yet not be overwhelming. And to me, simple also means downsizing and cutting the clutter.

The older I get, the more I realize I have “too much crap” as my significant other has pointed out to me. I hate to admit it, but he’s right. When I left home at sixteen, I really had nothing. Life happened, and now I have tons of craft supplies, books of all kinds (including at least eight boxes of kids books), board games, VHS movies, DVDs, clothes I don’t wear, electronics I don’t use and a bunch of things that don’t really fall into any specific category. It’s time to continue with the de-cluttering process.

I was doing alright until Mom got sick and had to be moved into a long-term care facility (which didn’t end up being too long-term at all). My mom had a LOT of stuff, and my sisters and I split it up between households as best as we could. We each have our share to distribute as we see fit, and my share consisted of the crafty side of things.

As I have been going through boxes and totes, I have come up with five ways that are helping me. I hope they will help you eliminate some of your clutter as well. And if you’re someone who doesn’t have any, you’re my hero! 🙂

  1. Keep only what you use. I know, this is a hard one to get a grasp on. I find myself with appliances and kitchen gadgets that I’ll need someday. If I went through my pantry, cupboards and drawers, I’m sure I could easily part with a lot of stuff. And that’s just in my kitchen.
  2. Label storage totes. As anyone who celebrates any holidays or lives in a climate like we do, there are always items that only get used a few days out of the year, but are too pricey to replace each year. By investing is some transparent totes and labels, you will see at a glance what you have stacked in your storage room. This method also works for the craft supplies creatives seem to accumulate. (Ahem!)
  3. If it doesn’t fit, toss it. This doesn’t mean you have to throw away items of clothing that don’t fit into the trash. There are plenty of organizations that will take donated clothing. If you blew your clothing budget on some higher end outfits, there’s always the option of selling online or via local Buy & Sell groups. When I went through my closet, I gave several bags to a local church. After Mom passed away, we did the same with her clothes.
  4. Sort and file. Although I think about receipts when I say this, it also applies to mail, magazines and anything else we bring into our homes. Whether it be groceries, toiletries or the ever-constant paperwork, it’s better to take a few moments to put everything in its place right away. I do admit, I tend to slack occasionally then spend a lot more time playing catch-up.
  5. Invest in shelving and storage units. Let’s face it, we have to keep some stuff. We need bedding, clothing, dishes, towels and all of the other things required for daily living. By creating a space for the necessities, then keeping those spaces organized, the clutter can easily be kept under control. Whether it’s bookshelves, storage bins or dividers in your closet, having an orderly system for your possessions will be beneficial.

I know it’s often easier said than done, but if we can part with the things we don’t use, we will soon enjoy a less cluttered home. And if you can make a few extra dollars by selling what you no longer need or use, your holiday or retirement fund will thank you for it.