If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: we all get the same 24 hours in a day. You have the same amount of time as every millionaire and billionaire who started off with nothing to get to where they are. You have the same amount of time as people like me who aren’t millionaires or billionaires but still managed to replace the prairie dog village (cubicle life) with the joy and bullshit that comes from working from home. (If this is your first visit here, the premise of this blog has always been to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of working from home.) Here are some of the time saving hacks I use in my work from home life.
I Plan My Week & My Day
Every day of the week at 7 pm, my phone has an alarm that goes off that reminds me of one thing: to figure out how to make the next day my bitch. There is nothing more powerful on the planet than taking control of your time. Side note: making a schedule means nothing if you don’t stick to it and take action on it.
I take about 15 minutes a night to think about what I need to do the next day and rearrange some things if necessary. I work from home and I can do that. I’d like to remind you that 15 minutes of your day is only 1% of 24 hours…so you’re using 1% of your day to control the other 99%. I take a little bit of time in the morning to review what I need to do and, if necessary, tweak things…especially since we are virtual schooling.
On Sunday night, I am more thorough. I start by using what I call a capture tool. It’s just a fancy word for a giant-ass to-do list. It’s a page in Rocketbook. You could use a traditional notebook or Evernote or whatever you want. Just write down everything you need to do this week. Don’t get overwhelmed. You’ll break it all down. Just hang in there.
Now, think about those things in terms of objectives: work, family, and personal. You can have whatever kind of objectives you want. Those three areas work fine for me. I have other objectives inside of each. I just make columns with those labels. I move each to-do under the proper column. They don’t have to be prioritized yet. The goal here is to just get everything out of my head and then placed into the right categories. It helps me visualize what needs to be done because then it isn’t as overwhelming.
From there, I can start adding it to the daily portion of my Panda Rocketbook if I want. Many of my clients are long term clients and I have certain things I do on certain days. So, if I know I have a certain deadline, it gets written down first.
I also make it a point to schedule in things such as my own educational pursuit, my marketing (which has yet to be done this week and it is fucking Thursday…sigh), and exercise (I am still recovering from a small injury, but it is still written down).
There are also times I need to know roughly how long certain activities may take so I write down an approximate time. I also keep track of how long the actual activity takes. When you’re a freelancer or self-employed, you’ll find this information is extremely valuable for rate setting. How long it takes you to work on a project directly impacts what you should charge for something.
This year, I invested in content calendars. Yep, you can buy them. They are available for every platform, for every industry, for multiple industries. They are inexpensive…and they are worth it. You can reuse them, too…because let’s be honest – who is going to remember that this time last year when you talked about X or showed the “sneak peek” of your workspace especially when something may have changed?
A content calendar, especially if you own more than one, means you always have something to talk about across your various mediums (and you can always repurpose the content across your channels!). If you spend an ungodly amount of time spinning your wheels trying to figure out what to do online, content calendars.
If you don’t want to invest $25 (I’ve spent around $27 to $37 per content calendar. I own several because I like tax write-offs and content options…and they spur my own creativity), get on Pinterest. Look up “social media challenge” or “content challenge.” You’ll find free content calendars. Ta-da.
Easy Vegan Meals for Me
Friendly reminder: I’m vegan and my husband and son(s) aren’t. And, yes, we live in peace and harmony. I stick with easy (yet healthy) vegan meals for myself during the week. I am serious about my health. I won’t get into my story in this post. I did that on video on IG the other day. I’ll do it for the YouTube video and podcast. I’ll spare myself the finger cramps. Vegan junk is tasty, but no better than non-vegan food when it comes to cardiovascular health a lot of the time. It is still full of sodium and other shit. And this is a time saving hack post.
I don’t care whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, omni, keto…whatever. Be mindful of what you eat…plan if possible. Use your crock pot. Buy the best food you can. Focus on easy recipes. Cook in batches if necessary. I like vegetables sandwiches. I like chickpeas. I like a lot of easy foods.
I Buy in Season Produce
Since I eat a lot of produce, I buy in season. I live near a Green Acres store and they have a clearance section. I tend to do a lot of raw vegan eating (again, me…not my son or husband…except that time I made some awesome bruschetta…I hardly got any!!! AND WHEN I BUY BLUEBERRIES! lol) and Green Acres has a great clearance section if I get there early enough. Their produce is organic. It can be both a time saver for me and cheap. Raw eating, by the way, is fancy talk for me not heating things above a certain temperature. I don’t do this ALL the time, by the way. I’ll spare you the full reasoning behind it…
Daily Review of My Objectives and Goals
Every day I review my daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly objectives and goals. Yes, I separate objectives and goals. My objectives are my life. My goals are for my business. Sometimes as someone with C-PTSD my daily objective might be to get through the day without crying in the closet.
It is what it is sometimes.
This review has many purposes for me, but I want to explain the two main purposes.
- Is everything on track? It’s okay if something needs to change from a business perspective. This isn’t just a 2020 lecture. It’s an in general lecture. There’s a giant misconception that if things aren’t working the way you thought it would that you’ve failed. That’s not necessarily true. There could have been something you couldn’t foresee. Maybe something did change in your life and you need to tweak your plan. I don’t know, but it’s okay to readjust your plan…even your daily plan.
- It keeps me motivated. I know what my business is capable of doing…but I am also extremely grateful for where it is now. I know that if I don’t keep my eye on what’s happening as well as what it can be, that I am at risk of falling off and just leaving things alone…and then I get bored. It gets difficult for me to restart because I get overwhelmed. And that’s a shitty place to be. I’d rather be in a place that’s motivated.
It may not seem like that reviewing this information daily is a time saver, but it is because it keeps me on track. I move forward instead of falling off the rails.