how i get things done

March 17th, 2011   |   Business AdviceLife

Over the years I’ve been asked many times how I manage to get everything done with the business, blog, and life. Being self-employed means that I’ve needed to learn how to manage my time wisely, avoid burnout, and effectively build my brand. These aims sometimes compete with one another and the balance between them is challenging.

Over time I’ve found a great way to manage my time day-to-day is to keep things simple. I sit down at my desk each morning and write out a list of tasks that I plan to accomplish in the day. I don’t think about any particular order, I just dump the tasks on the paper as they come to mind. Once I’ve got everything written down, I look at the list and prioritize the items. In general what is most important or urgent is at the top of the list and less urgent/important items are assigned to be done later in the day. This way if I’m not able to accomplish everything, the items that are left over can be completed the following day.

Sometimes I take the time to write out bigger scale goals like what I intend to do each week, but these daily to-do lists are what I rely upon for pace, direction, and time saving. By thinking ahead and determining the task order, I don’t have to stop throughout the day to pick the next item. It’s all laid out for me before I even begin.

Any other scheduling suggestions out there?

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  • Rebecca

    Thanks for this – its always helpful to see how other people prioritize and stay on task :) I love your notepad – where did you get it?

  • lynne

    i’m with ya on the to-do lists. i try to keep them to things that need to get done that day, and i try to not carry over too many things day-to-day. that always tells me that it is those things that often need to be addressed first.
    that said, where did you find that notepad? i love the format/design!

  • ~nita

    Nice paper featured in the picture, where did you get it, or did you make it?

  • http://www.makeundermylife.com Jess

    @ Rebecca, Lynne, and Nita: I’m glad you like the pad! It also comes in pink too. The best part of them is that they are actually sticky notes too! So I can just stick the paper in my planner if I head out to a meeting.

    They are from the Container Store and they are by Russel + Hazel. : )

  • lynne

    thanks! container store, here i come.

  • http://www.alittleginger.com Maddie

    I like your system, Jess. I couldn’t live without to-do lists either, but mine get so long and messy that they’re almost stressful to look at! I’ve started using teuxdeux.com to keep things cleaner and better-organized; it’s ridiculously simple, but works for me.

  • http://drawworm.blogspot.com Kelley

    Your notepads really are cute. I like using Google Tasks, because then I don’t have papers floating around my desk.

  • http://www.jubileedesignstudio.com Julie

    I like using http://www.teuxdeux.com as my to-do list. That way I don’t have paper lists lying around all the time and tasks I don’t finish automatically rollover to the next day. It’s just too good not to share :).

  • http://www.aheartandsoulstory.blogspot.com Anja

    Love that post!

    I also have a To Do list. I go kind of with the same system, only I divide them in the different areas, to be even more specific. So for you it then would be blog, business and life for example. I also like to make bigger points and under them break them down into small action steps. When I finish one, I tick them off the list (great feeling). This helps, if the task seems too big and you always dread to do them. i love the list you got, sadly we don’t have that store here.

  • http://www.makeundermylife.com Jess

    @ Maddie and Julie: I’ve heard a lot about this teuxdeux.com… I’ve watched their videos and love them :). Right now I’m personally more of a paper person, but I could see myself switching over in the future!

    @ Kelley: I sometimes use Google Tasks too. I think it’s especially great when I have a lot of online things to do when I’m at a coffee shop and don’t want clutter on my table top.

    @ Anja: I like breaking them down into sections, that’s a great idea! And you can probably find Russel + Hazel products online… I’d suggest googling to find out!

  • http://reticella.blogspot.com Jennifer

    this reminds me a bit of the Franklin Covey products. I use a Franklin Covey and have helped me tremendously with juggling school, work and life! I definitely agree with the prioritizing.. I’ve heard that we don’t have time to do EVERYTHING on our to do list, but as long as you get the most important things done, you’ll be good to go!

  • http://beagleandbear.blogspot.com Kelly

    I have weekly to-do lists…but maybe making daily to-do lists and prioritizing them would help!

  • http://www.makeundermylife.com Jess

    @ Jennifer: I LOVE Franklin Covey! Not only because it’s an awesome company, but because it’s run by Stephen Covey – author of The Seven Habits – my favorite book of all time ;).

    @ Kelly: I think doing a little bit of the weekly and daily is a great mix – I try to do the same for myself.