One of the most common questions I am asked in interviews, chats, and general conversation is how I make time for it all. I’ll be honest – juggling a teaching career, a young family, the demands of digi designing and scrappping, as well as still having some kind of life is not easy. Not at all. Some days, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Over the last few months, I’ve learned a lot about how I deal with my time and my responsibilities. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that prioritizing is key.
For me, prioritizing works on two levels. First, when faced with a list of tasks that need to be done, I need to sit and prioritize the list and start working on it in that order. This may seem obvious, but I am infamous for looking at my to do list, and instead of picking the most important task, I gravitate to the easier, smaller tasks. Sure, I am getting something done, but at what cost? What ends up suffering is the most important tasks – they get left for the last minute, or the end of the night when I am getting tired. So, if I take a minute and prioritize what is on my list, and work on it in that order, the most important tasks get the “freshest” me, and they get done.
Secondly, I have started really looking at the things going on in my life and prioritizing them. What is the most important to me? What deserves the most attention right now? That list isn’t static, it changes depending on the time and what is going on in my life (well, my family is always first, but everything else changes). Really thinking about what things are most important to me at the time really helps me frame what needs to get done and where to focus my energy and time. Prioritizing the “big picture” helps me to remember what is truly important in my life.
One thing I am looking into starting is making a priority list for my computer time. My school day is pretty scheduled, but when I sit down at night, I often find myself distracted by a million other things (have you SEEN Pintrest?!) before I actually get anything done. I am figuring that if I set a list of things that I have to do when I sit down at the computer each night, before I do ANYTHING else, I will be able to get more done. My wife and I have a similar list for the housework, and we have had success with it. Hopefully I’ll be able to see success creating a similar list for my computer time.
I know I have too much going on in my life…the funny thing is, I like it that way. If I am successful in prioritizing the tasks I have to get done as well as prioritizing the “big picture” of my life, I am able to manage all the things going on in my life.
How about you? Are you prioritizing your life? What strategies do you use to manage your priorities?