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.

Embracing Creativity

It’s funny how, as we get older, our priorities and interests change.

At this point in life, I am more about spending time with family and friends than taking on extra shifts at work, or burning the candle at both ends at home. I have to admit, I still do the latter occasionally but am getting better at knowing when enough is enough.

As an independent author and all around creative person, I find myself with several projects on the go at one time. I enjoy the flexibility I have to not only earn an income from my job as a library assistant, but also from my creative venues.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am fortunate enough to be able to have an Etsy Shop. It allows me to sell my crafts, patterns and even my digital products. And because I like my customers to enjoy a bargain every now and again, I select certain products to put on sale. I have added a 25% discount on a few select items until July 31, with one of them being my Pipestone Creek Romance Series. The boxed set is not available on any other platform, so for those who like to read a series start to finish, now’s the time to take advantage of it.

The older I get, the more I like to create. Whether it be with words, yarn or fabric, I embrace my creativity. There was a time when I was afraid to show others what I had made or written; now I just do what pleases me. If they like what I do, the compliments and even the sales will follow. If not, they will move on to something else. That used to bother me, but not anymore.

Creativity doesn’t just come in the form of crafts or writing. If you paint, you’re creative. If you like to design houses, you’re creative. If you like to garden, you’re creative. There are so many outlets to let your creativity come through. Sometimes the hardest part is letting yourself embrace it rather than deny yourself the pleasure.

I try to take time when I wake up to write my morning pages. I have found them to be a wonderful tool to work through a problem, or just wrap my head around a project I’m considering. I have been doing them for several months now, and have noticed more significant progress being made; both in my creativity and how I handle daily events. Between my bullet journal, morning pages and evening journaling I now have a better grasp on my projects, don’t feel so scatterbrained and am able to stay on task better.

My fauxdori has become my lifeline, as it contains my bullet journal, morning pages, brainstorming notebook and a notebook for whatever else I want to write down. Without it I don’t think I’d be as organized as I am now; perhaps the most organized I have ever been. Learning and adapting to change as a person ages is a good thing. And, it helps us embrace our creativity; whether we recognize it or not.

Are you a creative person? Where does your expertise lie?

Feel free to post your answers in the comment section below. Thanks for reading, and know that if you have any thoughts on being over half a century old, positivity helps.

Photo credit: Diane Ziomek 2019 Also used for Etsy listing.