Time Management is Hard. Capital H.A.R.D.

In recent weeks, I’ve had a lot of things change.  My infant son has started trying his hand (or feet?) at walking WAY TOO EARLY, and I broke my leg only a few weeks before he took the plunge. I’ve also had other personal health problems, hired a paralegal intern, and both hubs and I have had solo traveling trips without the rest of the fam.  It’s been a lot to manage.  Add to it some insanely intense project management of various vendors doing construction on our home (thank you, hail storms), and I’m not entirely sure how I’ve kept my head above water the last few months. But, success!  I am still here!  AND we have a new website up and running:

Check out www.nicollawoffices.com for the exciting new updates.  New content will be coming soon!

So, with all of this going on, I’ve tried to find ways to cope.  I’ve found some great time management techniques.  And I’ve got some great online resources to share with you all. At the end of this article, I’ll share what’s worked best for me/us.
Some great online resources are available for help with time management.  Some are directed at mom’s, some at solo-preneurs, some at lawyers.  I found the following tips to be helpful:
  1. For the mom: http://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/time-management-tips/
    • Assessing your time and organize, organize, organize really hits home for me! Know where you’re wasting time, what you can cut out, and where everything goes.  It’s great for piece of mind.
  2. For the working mom: http://www.workingmother.com/11-quick-time-management-tips-for-crunched-working-moms#page-3
    • The top three here really resonate, but the whole list is EPIC!
    • Get enough sleep… Ha, bloody, ha.  Maybe for the seasoned mom, but not for this newbie!
    • To this day I still struggle to establish sane work hours, and I am hereby vowing to do better. 5 p.m. drop dead stop time is happening! No working weekends here!
  3. For the lawyer: https://www.thebalance.com/effective-lawyer-time-management-2151357.
    • Interesting how many of these overlap with those on the previous two categories.
    • The new one here is to avoid the phone.  Phone calls are the bane of my existence.  I am notorious for screening my phone calls, for the law firm, for the property management job, and even for my personal calls.  If you don’t leave a message, you will not hear back from me. Period. Unless your my mom. Then… I’ll call back, mom!
  4. Another for the lawyer (just because): https://abovethelaw.com/career-files/a-new-paradigm-for-attorney-time-management/?rf=1
    • I just love this burning analogy. It’s such a great metaphor. But what I took from this is to remember that client emergencies are NOT your emergencies.  It’s your job to deal with client emergencies, but it should not take emergency precedent over everything in your life.

Without further ado, this is what has worked for me:

  1. Letting others help. My husband and I try to eat together every evening… Even if it’s throwing frozen pizzas into the oven after the baby goes down.  More often lately, he’s cooking while I feed the baby and get him bathed.  It’s working better than ever splitting up meals during the week, and we’ve found great new recipes the hubs has found online!  Plus, usually a few times a week we make something with enough leftover for a few lunches. We also split up the grocery shopping and the dishes.  He still does ALL of the laundry, though.
  2. Putting the phone down. My husband and I try to eat together every evening… WITHOUT our phones nearby. We are surprised to find that once the phones are out of eyesight and earshot, it’s easy enough for them to remain there for the rest of the evening.
  3. Keeping everything pretty. I know it’s stupid, but I found that when I revamped my desk, I didn’t avoid sitting here as much.  I even got new color-coded binders (bling!), pencil cases, etc. to spruce up the filing system.  Include a new plant, and a “Queen for a Day” mug-turned-pencil-holder (received from a vendor as a get-well present), and you’ve got a definite improvement to my creative sanctuary.
  4. Getting a new “planner” notebook. I looked through lots of to-do list templates, and even found a few free printables online that came close to my style, but ended up making my own rather than doing a preprinted calendar.  It’s entitled “Get Shit Done” and has categories for “Must Do ASAP,” “Emails,” “Phone Calls,” “Meetings and Shit,” “Projects,” “Social Media Shit,” “Personal Shit,” and “Tomorrow’s Shit.”  I think you get the idea of the whole thing. Done columns and priority columns are a MUST.  And, of course, it’s got matching bling. I use the reverse of the page for notes.  When I start to have most everything checked off, I move onto a new page, and transcribe the remaining undone items onto the new list.  Each time I rewrite something I remember it more clearly, too!
  5. Stay off Facebook.  I limit my “Social Media Shit” to 15 min. during the day as much as possible.  Usually, I grab a cup of coffee first thing in the morning before daycare or breakfast and spend 15 minutes checking emails and 15 minutes checking social media. Admittedly, this is probably where I can improve the most. I’m going to be setting a timer in the mornings from now on.

Now for what I am going to work on going forward!

  1. I am going to get a very pretty hard copy calendar for above my computer that matches the rest of my bling. Did I mention it’s all rose gold?
  2. I am also going to put a big clock in my office, so I can hopefully stop running late (this is improving, but it can always get better).  Once again, very pretty and matching bling (hubs will be SO happy).
  3. I am going to set a timer in the mornings for social media and email time. OH! I literally found a bling-matching-pretty 30 min. hourglass sand timer! Amazon is evil.
  4. I am going to put my phone down more and more, AND I have already turned on the driving while texting notification for the new iPhone OS.
If you have other suggestions for better time management, efficiency, and organization, please share!

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