I tricked myself last night. I told myself that I was going to take a night off to watch a movie and sketch a bit. Sitting on the couch allowed the fog in my brain to clear for a short time. It was pretty nice.
Work can get a little crazy sometimes, and if you’re anything like me, this is when you actually become less productive. I’ve been working on how to best manage my time. Working a 9-5 during the day and then working on freelance projects every night and on the weekends is starting to catch up to me. Plus, the fact that every noise drives me crazy when I am working does not help. The sound of crunching chips, the tapping pen, the sniffling nose, etc. I have been working on a few ideas for my own time management and wanted to share with everyone what has worked best for me, so far.
- Set a timer. I’ve made it a habit to use a project timer when I am working on projects for clients. This is the best tool to determine pricing, but for some reason, when the timer is going, I feel so much more focused. Probably because I am in a battle with myself to see how efficient I can be. Who knows? All I know is that this works for me. When there is a timer going in the background, everything else kind of disappears and I’m able to focus in on one project at a time.
- Give yourself a break. When I stop the timer, I usually get up from my computer, walk around, grab a drink, take my dog out, etc. Giving yourself this break allows you to refuel. Once you sit back down, resume the timer for the project you’ve been working on or move on to the next item on your to-do list.
- Get a daily routine. This one is new for me, but it’s working so far. Set certain times of your day to work on certain projects. When you work a 9-5, it gets a little complicated. You don’t have the freedom to work on your most time-consuming projects during the morning when you’re more focused. For me, I get the most focused late at night. Once my husband has gone to bed, the tv is off, music is on, this is when I’m best able to focus. Usually during this time is when I work on client websites, only because it requires all of my attention. In the morning, before I head to work, I check my emails. On lunch is when I work on “ideas”. I sketch ideas for client’s logos, websites, packaging, etc. From the time I get home from the day job until we eat dinner is when I am catching up on emails, working on blog posts, on twitter, pinterest, etc. These items don’t require much of my attention, so I tend to do them while my brain is still recouping from the work day. Understand? Just figure out when you are most focused, and plan accordingly.
- Limit your to-do list. Unless you procrastinate (sometimes guilty!), then you should have plenty of time to map out when you should work on certain projects. Arrange them according to due-dates, and stick to the plan! Deviating away from the plan will only mess up the timeline for other projects. If you all of a sudden get a brilliant idea for a project that you’re not working on at the moment, write it down in a notebook. I keep a notebook with me at all times. It’s my little black book.