When I first started this work at home mom journey I was a mess. I don’t know why I had this cotton candy and rainbow sprinkles idea of how easy life would be once I cut out the long commute, stopped rushing to pick ups and drop offs like a crazy person, and had “unlimited amounts” of time to get things done. Dreamland for real. What actually happened is I became busier than I have ever been in my life. If I thought life was hectic before it was NOTHING compared to what it looked like those first couple of weeks. I might have dropped out the race before it even really got started had it not been for the grace of God and the ladies in my mastermind group. Since then, I’ve figured out a system that helps me stay somewhat “balanced”, less anxious, less all over the place, and able to get things done. It’s pretty simple but for a girl with a lot on her plate and a low tolerance for overwhelm, this system has changed the game. I wanted to share the things that have helped so I thought I’d start a series on simply “Getting Things Done”. First up: Themed Days.
The thing about being an entrepreneur is you have to do all the things. You would think I knew that having side hustled for a couple of years but when this is your bread and butter…things are a little different. Especially when there are multiple things on your plate. I was managing a blog, freelance writing to pay the bills (which entails everything from finding clients, admin tasks, marketing, pitching, staying current with industry news, and too many other things to list), and working on a building a beauty brand with my business partner/soul sister. Those are the just the branches of my business. I also am homeschooling Man Man, it’s only preschool but we have a daily schedule, helping manage the Mr.’s business, and following this purpose God has placed on my heart to serve my community through education. The reality is, there’s no way to manage all of those things at one time. Impossible. But that’s what I was trying to do and I was failing miserably. During one conversation with my partner, I summed it up perfectly by saying “I’m all over the place. All the time. I have no balance. Ever. I’m about to email you now.” It was around that point when Brittany mentioned themed days. Game changer.
I will be the first to admit it. I can not multitask at all and I don’t want to. I’m not even going to try. That’s why for people like me, themed days are brilliant. Let me tell you why. Each day of the week I work on ONE thing. No exceptions (with like the slightest bit of flexibility because life). By committing to one aspect of work, I’m assigning everything a time to get done. Whenever I start to feel anxious about something I need to do, I refer to my schedule. I have a day for that, to commit to that, to get that done. When my creative mind starts spiraling out of control with ideas regarding anything other than what I’m focused on that day, I jot it down in a notebook or, my favorite app ever, Wunderlist. That way it’s out of my head, but ready for me to refer to and deal with on its own day. The levels of productivity working in themed days have been crazy. I actually get things started AND completed because I’m not busy switching tasks and trying to juggle a million things. My mind is much calmer because I don’t consistently have that nagging feeling that I “should be doing something else”. That something else? There’s a day for that.
To be completely transparent at first I struggled with this idea. Whole days devoted to one aspect of work?! I caynnn’t! I have too much to do, no way. But hear me out. Because I have a ton of obligations outside of work (refer to paragraph two), themed DAYS work better than working an hour on this and an hour on that. When the day is already broken up by so many other things, it can get really exhausting and hard to keep focused. Instead of having to shift my mind from one completely unrelated thing to another, and then another, having a theme takes way less mental work to handle the day. And remember, the thing about themed days are they are just that: THEMES. I get specific about what exactly I plan to get done each day in my planner. More on that in another post. By choosing themes, you’re just laying out what main thing you want to focus on. And also, not every week has to look the same in regards to themed days. Some weeks I have more client days than blog days. Other weeks I’m pitching and blogging with barely a day for client work.
If you’re like me and need focus to get things done, I HIGHLY suggest trying themed days. Unsure of where to start? You can download this checklist to get you started. Hope it’s helpful! If you try themed days be sure to let me know how they work out. Stay tuned for the next part of the series ;).