I’ve been rooting into my archives lately (for my new Throwback Thursday series), and wound up finding a series of posts from waaaaay back in 2009 all about how I manage my time, essentially:
- How to filter your email
- How to manage your weekly tasks
- How to manage your to do list
- How to block your time
As you can imagine, lots has changed in almost 4 years time (!). So I figured I’d give ya an overall peek on how I manage my time in almost-2014. I constantly get asked, “Do you sleep?” and “How are you so organized?”, and I usually answer “Yes!” and “Because my memory is crap!”
But really, I’m just an overly committed, perfectionistic, entrepreneurial, multi-passionate, somewhat structured creative who’s experimented with a lot of systems – and I figured it can all help you, too!
Just a disclaimer that this is what currently works for me, but is certainly not one-size-fits-all. Feel free to use this as a jumping off point and tweak what doesn’t work for you along the way. Everything below can also work really well in conjunction with everyone/thing I mention here.
How I Plan for the Day/Week/Month/Quarter/Year Ahead
This is all about my 2014 Dry Erase Poster Calendar for hi-level planning and TeamworkPM (or “TP”, as we call it internally, since we all have the sense of humor of 14 year old boys) for mid- and low-level planning. While I actually have dates laid out for all my 2014 projects right now (as ridiculous as that sounds), I know there’ll be movement depending on, well, life!
So, because of my hi-level planner, I know my goals and direction for the quarter that’s ahead. For example, Q1 of 2014 is all about opening applications for a new round of clients and the re-opening of Career Camp, both happening in March.
Because of that, we work backwards, with Halley and I strategizing the marketing piece, Arwyn and I figuring out tasks and milestones and deadlines to get ‘er done, and Hannah implementing. The content and steps are all planned out in TP.
When it comes to my scheduled appointments – client sessions, The Declaration of You review calls, etc – I live and die by my Google calendar, which is color coded by the type of appointment it is (personal is purple, WIGU work is green, and stuff I do with my husband is blue). I have it open all day long on the weekly view, and I can move deadlines in the project management system based on how my week looks. For example, this week I had 5 calls on Wednesday, so I knew there’d be minimal time for other work. I shoved off the TP tasks that were assigned to me on Wednesday that didn’t have to get done that day to a more open day for me.
On a daily basis, then, I’m on top of my Google calendar and my tasks in TP.
How I Manage My To Do List
More TeamworkPM love!
Before Arwyn and I settled on it, we tried them all – Basecamp, Asana, Trello and others I’m forgetting. But TeamworkPM allowed us to create templates that we can load and use over and over, separates our projects, delegate tasks, see milestones, and track our time.
Here’s what my dashboard looks like:
On the left, you’ll see all of my active projects: Blog Brilliance, Business Building, Career Camp, Clients, etc.
In the main section, you’ll see what the team focus is for this week and the upcoming month from a project management standpoint. Arwyn updates this each week so we all know what the priorities are.
Then, underneath, you’ll see just a few of the tasks that are assigned to me today – payment reminders, answering emails (yes, I remind and time track myself for that), and sending files to peeps who’re putting in New Year, New You orders for The Declaration of You.
Looking at everything in the nav, I can search by project, filter by person, see what’s late, run time reports, etc. TeamworkPM is my lifeline, and how I break big goals into small bite-size steps.
And yes, I have a Personal project here and have task lists for my show, doctors appointments, gift lists, and other remindable things.
How I Start (and Finish!) a Project
After hi-level brainstorming and settling on some dates to work with, I always pow-wow with Arwyn and we set some milestones. Think the “events” of the project, like this:
Then, we attach tasks to that milestone – the bite-size steps that have to happen in order to be successful with that milestone. You’ll see below part of what it’ll take to open up the Clubhouse doors – at least what’s still left to do (the other stuff gets crossed out & drops off the list once it’s marked as completed):
We make it look easy, right? That’s ‘cause it mostly is. Anything that’s forgotten is human error, although it’s easy enough to add a task, delegate it, set a due date, and “send” it to myself or one of my team members with notes, comments, and/or files:
I didn’t mean for it to, but this post ended up being all about TP! I knew it was a life-saver for me, my business, my team, and my bad memory – but it’s also the bridge that ties it all together. Find the system that works best for you and your projects and you’ll be able to do the work you love with minimal hassle.
Want me to share my email filtering, business reviewing/planning, organization, and general behind-the-scenes goodness? You’ll get exclusive content this week that won’t be posted anywhere else + an invite to join a virtual coworking day with me if you hop on this list!