Part One of my Four Part Series: How to Find Balance in a Chaotic World

Recently, I have been reflecting on reclaiming my time. Creating systems is something that is necessary in my life. With this, I am equally obsessed with time management, in particular, how to maximize my time. As someone who is very busy at all times of the year, it is extremely important to be organized.

Here are some of the strides I have made towards reclaiming my time in 2019-2020:

  • I have spent time with a dear friend who is a time management coach creating systems to ensure I set myself up for success. This unlocked my full potential at a whole new level.
  • I have tracked every single minute of my day in a spreadsheet to see where I waste time.
  • I have dedicated days to creative work and days to important work (bookkeeping, meetings, paying bills). Having a distinction by day helps me be accountable.
  • I would spend every Sunday evening reflecting on what went well in the week, and what could improve.
  • I have spent an absorbent amount on planners in the past few years and have tried them all. The takeaway? Don't spend so much on planners when you don't use them consistently.

With 2020, I noticed I started slipping. Important personal growth meetings were getting missed, things on my calendar would go unchecked, and I was struggling to get it together. I wondered what the possible solution could be. After all, I dismiss all Google notifications (or generally have them turned off), I don't look at my calendar daily, and I am extremely forgetful. What a great combination.

So needless to say, it was a large task at hand.

I am trying a new planner this year that uses the Pomodoro technique and is working well for me.

It is called the Productivity Planner and I am loving it so far. Here is what does not work for me:

  • It is small for my large bubble handwriting
  • It has 6 days of the week
  • The notes area is small

Here is what I love:

  • It offers space for your most important task
  • It offers bubbles to mark off your time spent on a task
  • It offers a space to score your day

If you want one for yourself, I ordered it directly from Intelligent Change to minimize my use of Amazon. It arrived within 2-3 business days (in the US). I actually see this planner sticking, and I wake up excited to use it daily.


Although in 2020 I started a business, had 3 incredible live shows, released 5 patterns, and kept my bookkeeping business and family afloat, I felt like I didn't accomplish enough. The culprit? Putting too much on my plate. The  Pomodoro technique is where you set a timer for 25-45 minutes and focus on 1-3 tasks daily. You heard me. 1-3 tasks. Not 5-7. Not 10 plus (c’mon you doers).

Realistically speaking, we only have some much time in a day, and there are factors we can control and factors we can not such as: kids leaving zoom classes every 10 minutes to interrupt *ahem* check in on us, preparing meals, needing to exercise, using the toilet, tend to family, work, the list goes on. As someone with a lot of energy that moves towards ignoring my basic needs,

In diving further, I realized that the biggest issue was not time, but energy levels. This raised the question: how much energy do I have each day? 

As I love to analyse and have been watching my behavior for quite some time, I know that I am seasonal. Year round, I have less energy to push than most. I burn out fast, and I do a lot with my time. I now know I have about 3 hours of energy a day to push, then I need to rest, and then unwind with a more mellow task. My solution? I am now waking up earlier to ensure I accomplish my daily goals, allowing more flow with my natural clock, and less resistance.

Everything went well until yesterday, when I fell behind. Instead of worrying, I will leave today open to work on yesterday's tasks (luckily, I use a pencil in my planner so things can change according to my needs/interests). 

How do you manage your time? Did 2020 throw a curveball at how you track your days?

Do you want to read more on this?

Here is what I have been reading and watching this week:

Rowenta Tsai-the one productivity system you need: time vs energy management (ep. 1)

Ny Times Article-Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management.

Harvard Business Review-Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Liziqi-The last episode of the “Life Series”: The life of white radish!


p.s. I am taking a break from Instagram at the moment. As a highly sensitive person who takes everything in, I need moments to step away from it all. Periodically, depending on the tone of social media, I will delete it altogether from my phone. Albeit wonderful, social media for me, as a person of color, in the pandemic years has been quite overwhelming. So I have been avoiding the pandemonium. I do post using a posting app, and you will see me online after I post via my web browser, but that’s about it.


Today, I found a wonderful surprise, my sweet peas have grown enormously over our balcony. As someone who loves the little things, this definitely made my day! See for yourself!!

Until next time,

Serah


Song of the Day: Andrew Bird-Pulaski at Night


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