The most common thing I hear from people is “I don’t know how you do it all!” It’s true, I have a pretty remarkably full plate:
- I single-handedly run Party Plan Divas – the largest online training community for women in the home party plan/ direct sales industry where I have weekly conference calls, exclusive call series, monthly twitter parties, personally coach and train consultants one on one, as well as work with individual companies on their corporate level training and structure.
- In addition to that, I have a blog for that business, The Party Plan Coach, where I offer free direct sales training, reviews, giveaways, and more.
- I run this blog – MoscatoMom – where I work with companies like Honda, Dreamworks, Kia, Progressive, and more. Plus this is my place to share all of the things I love, places I go, and stuff I don’t screw up in the kitchen!!
- I own a small coffee stand called Java Hut in our local civic center where we are open for every hockey game, concert, and numerous other events throughout the year.
- I am a Ghost Writer for a handful of other bloggers and friends.
And that is just the “work” list. I also am a mother of two daughters with opposite school schedules, wife to a workaholic, mom to three furbabies, and a part of a ridiculously active social life. Still, I manage to find time to read, work out, go for jogs often, and spend at least one day a week palling around with friends, and my house is “guest-ready” 99% of the time. Oh, and dinner WILL be on the table every night at 5pm, though I admit sometimes we go out to dinner, but that has way more to do with my poor culinary skills than schedule or time.
So how do I do it?
Not just any schedule or a “to do” list. A full on, OCD – with a splash of ADD – schedule. Check out my Planner this week – yes, I still use paper!! My Planner actually has everything from my schedule to my webinar schedule, post info, PR Reps, Conference details, Brand events, workout schedule… no app is going to touch that.
Whether you are a party plan consultant, blogger, full-time employee, business owner, mother, father, caretaker…. it is important for EVERYONE to manage their time well. Life is simply easier and more enjoyable when you aren’t stretched too thin and always pressed for time. So how do you get started?
Step 1 – What are your “hats”
The first step is to make a list of “hats” that you wear – or what roles/responsibilities you have. For instance, my hats (in no particular order) are 1 – Party Plan Divas Coach, 2 – Blogger for MoscatoMom, 3 – Java Hut owner, 4 – Ghost Writer, 5 – Personal/Mom/Wife/Friend.
Step 2 – Color Match Your Hats
As you can tell from the picture, I have a slight addiction to highlighters. Its how I stay on track and know exactly what I am working on each day. Get a package of highlighters, I like the little portable keychain ones so I can clip them to my Planner and carry them at all times, and then assign a color to each “hat.” For me:
- Party Plan Divas – pink
- MoscatoMom – orange
- Personal – yellow
- Java Hut – blue
- Personal – green
Step 3 – Write it ALL Down.
Everything. People who think they can “remember it all” are doing nothing but fooling themselves. Your schedule can become your “To Do” list and vice versa. When you have it ALL written down, you know EXACTLY what you have to do, what you can add or take away, and what you must accomplish every day before going to bed. Spend time every single day doing a “brain dump” of everything you must do. If you are a night owl, do this at night before going to bed, so you wake up to your tasks the next day. If you are a morning person, make this list while you are having your morning coffee. Just make sure you get into this habit DAILY, and do it when you feel your best – not tired and crabby.
Step 4 – Use Scheduling Software
If you have other people needing a piece of your time – like I do with my coaching – then use a great Scheduling Software that integrates with your online calendars. Because I love Gmail I also use a Google Calendar, which is sync’d to CalenGoo – my #1 app on my iPhone. To schedule appointments I use ScheduleOnce, which let’s me put in my availability and I can email anyone needing my time my personal link to schedule an appointment. As soon as they do, it updates my Google Calendar, which updates CalenGoo – and even color codes it for which “hat” it is associated with. It also removes that spot on the availability so I literally cannot double book myself. When I confirm any appointment, I also write it in my Planner – which is what I use every day on my desk to stay on track. Now I know for sure that I A – cant double schedule anything, B – get notifications on my phone 1 hour and 15 minutes before anything begins, and C – because my Planner is never out of arms reach, I have absolutely everything I need for any kind of appointment or event at my fingertips.
Step 5 – Get 100% Committed to Managing Your Time
You have to understand that poor time management is not a trait – it is a HABIT. The true definition of a habit is – “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” In other words, YOU acquired this behavior by doing it over and over and over again to the point that now you do it almost on autopilot. Do you know someone who is ALWAYS late? That is a habit they have formed. It’s not a trait – they aren’t even intentionally being rude (although nothing will get me tick me off faster than someone being late) it is just a habit they have created for themselves.
To truly get control of your life and your time, you have to get rid of the habit of disorganization and crappy time management skills by creating a new one. Habits cannot be broken – they must be REPLACED. So you have to commit to being very very strict with your Time Management UNTIL your NEW habit is everything running smoothly, and effectively. I have been doing it long enough now that it IS what is second nature to me – just look –
If you are struggling with Time Management and Disorganization, start NOW on making a change. The longer you put it off, the harder that habit will be to break – just ask anyone who has smoked cigarettes for longer than 10 minutes. Stop what you are doing right now and do these 5 tasks. Then set reminders on your phone to go off and remind you to do a “brain dump” EVERY DAY. Keep your calendar or planner with you – all day, every day. And get committed to getting control of your time. Trust me when I tell you in just a few days you will start feeling more focused, more efficient, and less stressed out.
Isn’t it about time?