Hi again. 🙂 It’s me.
I put out a poll yesterday to see if I should do weekly posts or bi-monthly and you guys voted weekly – so we’ll be doing weekly. Yay.
In today’s post I’ll be sharing some of the things I do to make sure I stay organised and productive with my infinite to-do list. For those who don’t know, I’m the editorial director of Monochrome Magazine and the owner of a graphic design studio called BM Design Studio. So my days revolve around wearing these two hats.
People always ask me how I do all the things I do and still have time to spend my days at coffee shops every other day. Lol.
*Disclaimer: I’m sharing what has worked for me.
Set goals and values
Without even knowing it, my mantra in life has always gone something like this:
The key to life is to choose what you care about and not give a fuck about anything else – Mark Manson | The Subtle Art of Not giving a Fuck
I only read the book last year but that line is basically how I’ve always been able to stay productive.
I set daily, weekly, monthly life goals that include stuff like working out, spending time with family, getting new clients or increasing the Mono readership and then making sure that everything I do aligns with those goals. Which means I don’t do anything that doesn’t. I do everything with intention.
Along with my goals, or rather before the actual goal setting – I set my values. I’ll name a few; friendship, creativity, success (what it looks like to me) and family.
That way I’m reminded of what’s important and what’s not. And then act accordingly.
Plan Plan Plan
I am such a planner.
If you’re starting to think that I’m not very spontaneous, you’re probably right, but we’ll argue about that another time.
Because of my workload I write down everything I need to do for both Mono and BMDS. My to-do list is literally never-ending so that helps me remember everything I need to do. It’s also imperative that I list them by order of importance and urgency.
I switch up between Mono and BMDS work, I don’t have a set time for either. I try to balance it out.
In the past I kept like four notebooks, each for every project I worked on. It didn’t work obviously because I couldn’t carry all the books everywhere. So now I keep a notebook with dividers. Four sections; one section for Mono, one for BMDS, one for “That’s BS”, one for personal plans and goals.
I conceptualise and plan out everything in this book. I also keep a to-do list pad, that’s where I meticulously jot down what I need to do every day, to the tee. I ALSO, use an app called ASANA, on which I add my task list and projects with their deadlines etc. This app allows me to allocate tasks to my team and plan out projects.
I plan out tasks that should be done today, this week, this month, this year. It’s all laid out and gets revised every other day.
It’s a lot, but it’s a very effective system. Lol.
Task by Task
I personally get anxious when I start something and I don’t finish it. It also bugs me if I don’t do something right and well the first time. Which makes procrastination something I don’t do.
I get an idea, I jot it down. I set a time to conceptualise. I conceptualise. I create a plan of action. I add it to my to-do list. I execute.
Basically, I take this big project/job and then break it into small tasks and then get to doing them one by one.
What also helps me stay organised is taking up a task and finishing it before moving on to the next one.
Because some tasks require more brain power than others, like designing a new logo or working on a proposal, and other tasks don’t, like replying to emails or updating client social media, my daily to-do list usually looks like this.
I write my tasks on Sundays when I prep for the week and then evaluate every night or morning, what I managed to do or need to push to the next day. I also add new tasks as they come.
PS: That feeling of ticking off a task is my favourite thing. Especially on asana. Lol.
Wake up early
I wake up at 5h30 every day and I’m supposed to be in bed at 10pm every night (emphasis on suppose to).
I need 8 hours of sleep to function like a human being. Shem.
Waking up at 5h30 allows me to get a head start on my day. It allows me to ease into my work day and be prepared for what the day may bring. So I do the 5 little tasks first, getting them out of the way; reply to emails, send emails, schedule social media posts for my clients. I get those done by 7.
I use the next two hours to work on the 1 Big Task (Usually 2, one for Mono and one for BMDS). I spend the rest of the day on the medium tasks and the new tasks that pop up because, you know, the cycle must continue.
Waking up early also allows me to schedule my meetings at 10 or 11 am, because I would have had the chance to do actual work by then.I can afford to step out for a few hours.
That two hour head start gives me so much opportunity to tackle my to-do list better because on days when I allow myself to wake up a little later, I get anxious and jump right into it agitated and rushed. And when I’m in that state, I don’t get much done.
Sometimes my brain gets so tired of all the work and dealing with clients that I get to a point in my day where I just can’t anymore. This usually happens at noon.
So I’d take my phone, get up from my desk, walk to my couch and just lay there. Sometimes even take a nap.
But because I had a two hour head start, milly rocked through my little tasks, big tasks and medium tasks by 12, I’m allowed that break.
I reward myself off days, sometimes, after finishing projects or having busy days/weeks just to refresh and refill my cup.
And then come back to revisit my to-do list again.
In a nutshell, this is how I get things done.
I have a question for you guys;
Do you prefer to do the easy tasks first or difficult tasks first?
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