Happy Thursday! Last week, I launched the start of a new blog series, “From My Desk” to share some of my personal experiences for the career driven, goal-getters out there (I know there are plenty of you!). Juggling between a full time job and a lifestyle blog requires quite a bit of organizational skills. Personally, being organized is tri-fold. It’s a combination of scheduling, prioritization, and setting goals.
Over the last several years, I’ve managed to devise my own plan and discovered a plethora of tools to help me stay organized.
Read further to find out my favourites!
Whether you work from home or in an office, when you’re juggling multiple jobs and blog deadlines, it is super important to get really good at managing your time. To stay on top of deliverables at work and meeting my publishing schedule, I allocate a set amount of hours weekly towards my work and my blog and also determine set days in which I write and create for my blog. I try my hardest not to deviate from these plans, as I want to avoid what I call ‘spillage’. I’m referring to 24 hours of scattered, non-stop work, which become overwhelming and non-productive.
If you’re having a hard time staying on track and meeting deadlines, I encourage you to plan out what your ideal typical work week looks like and work towards fulfilling that schedule. Try it for 21 days and I bet you’ll become more productive and organized.
My typical work week looks like this:
Monday: 10 hours at Work / 2 hours on Blog
Tuesday: 10 hours at Work
Wednesday: 10 hours at Work / 2 hours on Blog
Thursday: 10 hours at Work / 2 hours on Blog
Friday: 9 hours at Work
Sunday: 3 hours on Blog
If I move off this schedule by too much in any one given week, I categorize that as “overtime” and will make up for lost personal time the week following. It’s my own way of keeping a healthy mix of work/life balance.
Know Your Value
The scheduling exercise from above also becomes a beneficial one because it also allows you to understand your value and the cost of your time. If you don’t make the effort to track how long it requires you to complete a task or how long you’re spending time building your own business, you will never understand your own worth and whether that time you’re spending is actually adding value to your overall well being.
Of course I am a believer that passion comes ahead of compensation, but if you’re producing great work, you should be fairly compensated for it. Many bloggers or creators have a hard time figuring out ‘how much do I charge for my work’? Firstly, you do have to do a bit of market research. Secondly, you should figure out your standard hourly rate and then charge according to how much time it will take for you to complete the project.
If you’re in a similar situation such as myself, where you’re juggling between a full time job and a blog, a simple calculation I recommend is first, take your annual salary and then divide the number of hours you plan to work in a year. Now, this is different than taking your annual salary and dividing it by the number of standard hours you’re expected to work. Let’s take $100,000 of annual salary as an example. From my above calculation, I schedule myself to work 49 hours a week. If I annualized that, my rate is approximately $43/hour. You now have a good starting point in terms of understanding what your current hourly compensation is and how your blog compensation may measure up based on your level of experience and expertise. After all, you should apply a holistic view to the overall time you’re spending making a living.
Making Lists and Time Tracking
I love making lists. Lists are a great way to stay on track and to measure productivity. The more you cross off, the more productive, right?! I’ve always preferred to make physical lists on paper, but this isn’t a very sustainable way to keep historical data. Plus I can only measure productivity if I can compare the time I actually spent vs. the time I planned to spend. This very same data also helps refine the ‘value’ equation.
If you’re not already making lists and tracking your time, I highly recommend it, it will tell a good story and help you improve your productivity or what you want to spend more/less time doing!
I’m currently using Trello to make lists. I love how simple it is and it is free. You can create multiple boards and assign tasks and collaborate with others. This is perfect for me as I have multiple boards for work and also for my blog. With some stellar colour coding, it provides a great view into all my deliverables and to-dos. In addition to Trello, I’ve also used other to-do list managers such as Any.do and Wunderlist. Both are great apps to keep you on track and organized.
If you’re looking for a time tracking application, here are a few that are free or low cost that are perfect for individual or personal use (hey, you may want to know just how long you’re spending time watching tv daily!): Toggl, Hours, Everhour, Paydirt, Timely.
I hope you enjoyed a glimpse of how I approach my weekly schedule. Please note these are my own opinions and of course there are so many different ways successful people stay organized and manage their own time!