I’ve always been excellent when it comes to time management, at least until 2021. Even though COVID (December 2020 through February 2021), I worked like a madwoman to stay on top of stuff. In a second, I’ll tell you a funny story about that. Between long-haul symptoms and getting diagnosed with systemic lupus (among many other shitty things that happened), my time management skills have just sucked. So, I’ve pretty much had to find time management resources, and they’ve been hit or miss. That’s why I decided to create this blog post because I want you to set yourself up to win.
A Funny Story Related to Me Working with COVID
So I have a client that I adore (I adore all of my clients). This client is an agency that hired me to do the writing for their legal clients. I barely remember the capitol riots…and I watched it on television. That’s how sick I was. I remember, vaguely, both my oldest son and my cousin contacted me to ask me if I knew about it. I remember I talked to my neurologist about the excruciating non-stop eye pain, pain behind my right ear, and migraines that just would NOT go away. I remember wishing I could just sleep. And I remember I felt like I had to work because…there’s no such thing as paid sick leave. I hate feeling like I fall behind…so unless I am fucking dead, I work. Apparently. Poor Bull had to work for me for a few days shortly after this. He had all the questions but he was a trooper!
Anyway, fast forward to April or May? Then-editor contacted me on behalf of their client and asked me if I could create another landing page for the same client but for a different city where they had another office…same area of law (of course, some of it had to change) because they really liked the one I previously did. My client never knew I had COVID. I’ve never met them in person, and they are located in the same city I’m in. I was all…
The client gave me enough information that I could look in my digital files to find the original. I had zero recollection of writing it.
I can’t help but wonder what else I worked on and do NOT remember, but no one complained so…
My Time Management Skills Used to Be Amazing
Time management is absolutely one of the primary keys to your success as a business owner of any kind. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a freelancer, start a brick-and-mortar business, get involved in direct sales, affiliate sales, or whatever you want to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to be the world’s best parent, the world’s best spouse, the world’s best gymnast, the world’s best BJJ competitor, or whatever you want to do in life. Time management skills are required. Self-control and dedication are also essential. Not listening to assholes who say you can’t do it is also essential.
Before getting sick, my time management skills were on point. They were amazing. They were the envy of practically anyone who met me. I didn’t need an alarm (even when my adult kids were little); I have a great internal alarm clock. I didn’t need to write anything down, thanks to a photographic memory. Short of uncontrollable traffic, I would be wherever I needed to be early if it required driving. I didn’t need to calendar anything unless someone sent a calendar request with a Zoom link. (It’s rude not to accept unless you just do not plan to attend…)
Now, though, to better manage my time appropriately, I had to try various time management resources. Here are a few tools you may be interested in trying. Some work better for me than others. However, ultimately for any time management resources to work for you, you must work the time management resources. You must actually use them and follow through. You must like them and want to use them. And, again, you must actually use them.
Related: Productivity Timer Review
5 Time Management Resources to Try and Use
I still use my Cozi calendar. I have the FlyLady version. I use the paid version. They do have a free, ad-supported version. There are a few differences. With the paid version, I can search for things that I added to my calendar. So, take my story above as an example. Of course, I couldn’t remember what happened…but after that, I started taking client names, titles of things assigned, and putting them as all-day activities:
Search is only available in Cozi if you upgrade to Cozi Gold. Search is available in the upper right. I type in what I remember of the task, in this case, TC. It brings back everything I had marked TC. Then, I could copy the link out (covered for client reasons) and go straight to the task. I have since changed how I handle this task because Jami and I now have too much work to do to rely on Cozi alone.
Cozi also gives us a way to share birthdays, shopping lists (Jami, Bull, and I can have a shared list and separate lists), and a place to store recipes. We also have a meal planner. None of us really use the meal planner…but the nice thing about the recipe box is that we can save online recipes and add the ingredients to a shopping list. Jami’s family and our family have similar eating styles. As yall can see, I am no graphic designer.
Panda Planner Rocketbook and Its Cheap Companion Not a Rocketbook
If you missed my Panda Planner Rocketbook review, go here. The video is NOT the best…but let me tell you – a Panda Planner is badass. The problem is that because they are quarterly, you’re gonna keep paying for them, and if you love to plan in detail, you won’t have enough room, mmkay? And if you have OCD like I do, and you get obsessive-compulsive like I do with planning….there’s never enough room. So, I went with a Panda Planner Rocketbook. I love it…but…there’s still not enough room to write. The planner pages are great, but not enough writing/planning space.
I went with a cheaper version. For $15, I bought a super cheap version off Amazon…but the assholes who made it wanted $70 for their app. They thought they were cute. So, here’s a hack for you if you buy a cheap version of a Rocketbook.
Pay roughly $9 for TinyScanner Pro. Connect it to your Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or whatever you use. Scan your pages accordingly after you create your appropriate folders. You’re welcome. You still need the correct type of pens. You still need the microfiber cloth, a smidge of water, or a super fun hairdryer on cool (so they say – I haven’t tried that). I love, love, love smart notebooks. I have not tried buying the homing devices for the Rocketbook and hacking those to work with the cheap version.
I plan on buying Not a Rocketbooks for Jami’s older kid (surprise?) because I think she would have a lot of fun with it.
For me, this has been so helpful for my memory because I can write out everything I need in whatever I color, take it with me to the doctor if necessary, take photos and upload it to the appropriate folders (even make subfolders if I want), and erase it.
For the tried and true lovers of time blocking (I used to be one!), you can always just rely on good ol’ Google Calendar! Honestly, before SLE started beating the shit out of my brain, this was all I needed. my calendar was beautifully color-coded from the time I started my day until it ended.
OneNote – Microsoft’s Gift to Productivity
Yes, really. You can make OneNote into a productivity machine…if you’re careful. I like it better than Evernote. And it’s totally free. There are several things you can do. Of course, you want to create Notebooks. I create one (still) for each client because I still use OneNote. It holds my SEO stuff even though I’ve changed what I do.
To use it for productivity, you create a master list of everything you need to do in a week.
Then, you create sublists of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Then, you drag and drop from your master list to your sublists. Here’s a look at mine from February 2021:
ClickUp: Idunn’s Gift to Us
Jami and I are back to using ClickUp. One of my favorite clients uses ClickUp. I started trying to use it about 18 months ago. For me, the struggle was real. I knew what it could do, but again, as someone with OCD and a tendency to get sucked in because I love productivity and project management…I would get bogged down. So, other than keeping my account because my client uses it, I fucking gave up. Until this year. Jami and I needed a better way to keep up with business.
We set up each client in ClickUp. Every project has a to-do list, a due date (if necessary, some clients have activities that occur each week or each month – and since it’s just the two of us, we know when they get done), and we use the timer. We assign ourselves and a start date (or due date). We can leave notes or talk to each other through there. We can run the timer and assign tags to know what each project’s main goal happens to be. We can do a lot…you can do pretty much anything, but what our goal was…to make sure nothing fell through the cracks, especially for me. Because my brain has sucked lately because of systemic lupus. I currently rely on it.
What’s your favorite productivity tool? Let us know in the comments!