When I first started this blog last August I was about to make the leap back into full time education to study journalism. I had always enjoyed writing and after much soul searching decided that it was now or never. Taking the view that life is utterly precious and not to be wasted I decided to “live the life I’d always wanted” or well at least give it an honest shot.
I figured that a blog would be a great way of detailing my time spent in college as well as getting my name out there so I spent a weekend grappling with WordPress while I set it up. Fortunately WordPress is pretty straightforward as anyone who knows me will be aware I am more techno phobe than techno geek. If you don’t believe me check out my post “Emergency Dash to Meteor” that really happened – I kid you not. Thankfully I’ve improved since then.
I spent hours upon hours working my way through loads of suitable WordPress themes before I picked one, worked out my posts for the month ahead (Yes I really was that organised. Was.) Big shout out to Amanda and Lorna at spiderworking.com for giving me valuable pointers and taking the time to answer any questions I had. I posted my first post and then ….I waited and I waited. No flash of thunder, no phone ringing (why would it?? How could it??) No round of applause – in hindsight I don’t know what I expected but well apart from a few views nothing really all was quiet.
Determined to succeed I persevered and here’s the thing: I really enjoy blogging. It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers, get a glimpse into other worlds and learn something – a really good blog post can move you to tears or to make you laugh out loud. In my case my blog began to get a life of its own and aside from one post college didn’t really feature in it at all. Not that college wasn’t great (I’m back again in September) topics just seemed to present themselves in no particular order or theme and as life became busier and because I had no system in place I got bogged down. Creating a good post on a regular basis is really difficult because at the end of the day while no one should underestimate the power of visual a really good blog post needs really good content and that takes time to create.
All bloggers know this. As well as creating a post you also need good strong visuals to accompany your post. Like a lot of bloggers I find that more and more I’m taking my own photos that way I get to choose the images and there are no problems with copyright. Thing is this also takes time. Time, in my world is something that is in short supply. You have to decide what the shot is, how best to take the shot, set it up take it and then when you have the image the way you want it then you import it to your laptop.
So, if I wanted to continue blogging and managing everything else in my life it was clear I needed to sort out my time management skills. And here they are, these tips helped and while it’s still a real juggling act keeping all the balls up in the air they certainly are effective in helping me manage time better.Write a list but don’t stress yourself out over it. Write down in order of importance jobs which need to be done. When the first job done cross it off and move on to the task and so on. I realise that you’ve heard this before but I’m including it because it works!
- Allow yourself a realistic amount of time to complete your jobs. The first thing I noticed when I began to make a conscious effort to manage my time better was that some tasks took way longer than I had anticipated while other tasks didn’t take too long at all. Mainly though I wasn’t giving myself enough time to finish some tasks properly. So set yourself a realistic time frame and, if necessary break the job down into two or three smaller, doable tasks.
- Find it hard to concentrate/get started? Set a time to start and stick to it. Tell yourself that if you still hate it/making no progress in 15 minute you can call it a day. Nine times out of ten when the 15 minute deadline is up I find that I’m in a completely different frame of mind and carry on. I really recommend this if like me when you get over-whelmed you procrastinate!
- Give yourself regular breaks. Every 50 min to 90 min allow yourself ten minutes to have a cuppa, stretch your legs or just relax. While you’re having your break: forget about the job you’ve been working on. Clear your mind and relax. I find short breaks really help my concentration meaning I can stay working for longer without getting burnt out.
- Delegate: if someone else can do the job and it’s not something you need to do. Let them do it. Why not? This gives you time to focus on other tasks. If you’ve children give them suitable jobs to do depending on their age: wash up, clearing plates away from table, empty dishwasher (older children ) walk the dog etc. it all helps. It can be difficult to get into the hang of this particurly if you are the type of person who isn’t used to telling others what to do/ doesn’t like to ask for help. But it’s worth persevering because ultimately anything that frees up valuable time will make your life a easier in the long run.
- As you work down your list try to take action earlier so that crisis are averted saving you stress i.e. sort out the car insurance the month before its due for renewal – not the day before leaving you plenty of time to check out rates with different companies.
- At the end of the day you need to unwind, so don’t bring work to bed. Try to stop at least an hour before bedtime this gives you a chance to unwind.
Any more tips let me know I’d love to hear them