It’s the most common question I get asked, especially when I was working in the corporate world, writing, AND momming. These days I’m an author, mom, and work part-time for a not-for-profit that’s dear to my heart. So while more of my time is my own than it used to be, it’s still a lot to juggle.
So how do I keep it all organized? To be honest, some days I’m not sure I do. But most of the time, I manage life with a fair degree of success. So here’s a quick list of the tools I use to help me keep from pulling my hair out.
I have an ideal schedule worked out on paper that I use to arrange my days. I’ll share more about it in a later post, but basically, I plan my days into 4 shifts: Non-Profit work, Mom/Housework, Author work, Family/Dinner/Bedtime.
When I move from one shift to the next, I try to be very deliberate about closing out one and starting the next. That means, when I move from office work to housework, I close the door to my office (before I had an office, I would shut my computer and put it out of sight.) And I don’t check email for my non-profit work while I’m in the middle of my author work shift.
The times don’t always line up with my ideal schedule (for example, today I started my author shift an hour late, which is almost half of the shift lol!) but having the ideal schedule mapped out allows me to deliberately shift priorities some days and make up that missed time later (or not!)
Google Calendar + Passion Planner
I keep all of my family’s (and my) appointments in a Google calendar my hubby and I share. Each Sunday, I transfer the next week’s appointments, tasks, errands, etc. into my Passion Planner. Prepping a paper planner for the week helps me better visualize the week and how to leverage my time between commitments.
Goals + Bigger Plans
Airtable + Passion Planner
I like to keep my big projects and goals in a digital project management tool. I found.
Airtable about a year ago and I love it! I use Airtable to organize everything from the parking lot of projects I want to do one day, to my current in-flight projects, and even my social media calendar. Airtable lets you visualize your data/timelines/calendars in different ways. It’s pretty slick.
Just like I distill my appointments from my Google Calendar into my Passion Planner each week, I distill my project plans from Airtable into my Passion Planner each MONTH. Now, I do not move every task and item I’m tracking from Airtable into my PP (that would be ridiculous and SO inefficient) but I do use the Roadmap and Goals sections in my Passion Planner to mindmap out what I’m going to accomplish for the month ahead. Handwriting my goals and a high-level action plan is a low-pressure way to re-process the information and solidify it in my brain. Something about writing those mind maps really helps me a lot.
So there you have it! A crash course in how I stay organized. What productivity and organizational tools have you found that help you stay sane?