living well

I’m too busy! So here’s what I do to save time

7 Comments 29 June 2012

save time

Almost 3.15, still time before I have to go on the school run…

I have recently made a couple of basic but amazing discoveries for managing time. These discoveries allow me to save time AND get more done! Oh, and enjoy life more, which is the MOST important thing, of course. Maybe these will help you too.

1. An effective planner/calendar:

I have a spreadsheet titled American Resident Content Calendar, but it is so much more. I think this concept could be applied to a lot of different vocations. The columns are:

1. Day

2. Date

3. Blog post

These are colour coded by category: expat life, blogging, living well, food, family+home+garden, sponsored, interviews, things I love. The purpose of colour coding is so I can see at a glance if I have an over abundance of one categry or another. This post, for example is in the Living Well category, which I’ve coloured pink.

4. Posts elsewhere

Like when I write for Expat Focus, BritMums or others–in case I want to link between those sites and my blog.

5. Facebook

I mean the American Resident Facebook page, not my personal account, so I can put additional/supplimentary info on that page relevant to my most recent post.

6. Twitter

If I want to tweet about my post and similar subjects, including RTs for other people in the same subject, it sometimes helps to make note of that here.

7. Projects

This might be blog conferences, holidays or other things that might impact on my blog in one way or another, including providing good blog content.

I was first given this idea when I joined a really useful American blogging course called Content Brew (not an affiliate link, I just like it). I was bowled over by its simplicity! I then went straight into working on the Brilliance in Blogging Awards so looking at my American Resident Content Calendar I see loads of blog posts I scheduled in with good intentions and plenty of enthusiasm, but never had the time to write. Now that the awards are over I will have more time to focus on my blog, and on catching up with others’ blogs–and having this calendar will help immensely.

2. Take one on, take one off.

Again, a beautifully simple concept. Like most of us I am a busy person which means my list of jobs is long and my day to day life is busy. The bookshelf is full. So. To put another book on, I need to make room, I need to take one off. Otherwise I will cram a book on and either a book not-of-my-choosing will get pushed off or all the other books will get crushed, covers will rip, and spines will groan.

I need to remember that if I take on a job, I need to take another job off the list.

When I took on the Brilliance in Blogging Awards, I needed to take off other things or everything might have suffered, or that one thing, not-of-my-choosing, would just be dropped. This time, that was this blog.

3. Multi-task and streamline

I have Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, email and my blog on my iPhone. This is because I often have to arrive early to my daughter’s school if I am going to get a parking space and I can do a handful of social media tasks while I wait. Or if I have to wait longer than expected at the GP or dentist, I can answer a few emails. And I can reply to tweets while queuing at the Post Office.

I also often have my phone sitting next to me while I am on my laptop so I can see and respond to tweets while I do other work.

4. Doing one thing at a time

The opposite of number 3 above, I know. I have learned that there are some jobs that are more efficiently done without a multitasking element, such as the laundry (the new pale blue trousers did indeed run all over the light’s wash), cooking (did I put in one or two cups of flour just then…? Remeasuring flour is no fun.), driving (of course), accounts (my tweets would become too tense or I would add my figures completely incorrectly), and gardening (my iPhone hates dirt).

5. Family comes first

Ok, so sometime other jobs have to come first for a moment, but I find if I shut my laptop, put away my phone and focus on my family time I always feel I have achieved so much more at the end of that day, than if I say ‘hang on, I just need to answer this email’ or ‘I’ll start dinner in a minute I just need to finish a blog post.‘ Or whatever. If I feel I have given my family the time they need I am better prepared for doing my other tasks, no matter how busy I am. The most valuable thing I have is my time, so giving it first to my family is the best thing I can do for them.

This post was inspired by the British Gas and BritMums linky, #BGSaveTime Linky. Hope you found it helpful!!


Your Comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Can we have a Google+ Hangout so you can teach me this? I so need your help!


  2. breakfastfor8 says:

    The most important time saving App: Lost Kidz
    There is nothing more critical to a parent than saving time in being reunited with your child – it is THE factor which affects whether your child would suffer accidental or deliberate harm. It would be great if you could take a look and share with your followers!

  3. Rachael says:

    Some great tips here, thanks! I like your last point though, that family always comes first. Yep, always. It’s so easy to get caught up in getting everything done isn’t it? I completely agree about giving it to family first.

    • Michelloui says:

      There are times, of course, when family has to wait a moment while other things get done, but if family is always the number one priority they know that and can wait while you get othe tasks done from time to time.

  4. Alena says:

    I cannot relate to being on many sites, being glued to the computer and the cellphone/texts. I’m a single woman without children and have a flexible schedule with my own biz. I can’t imagine being glued to the pc or phone, unless my biz demanded it. Computers are like tv and phones, in that they can are time/life suckers. I was finding myself focusing way too much time online, even giving in important and sacrificial ways. Having brought order to my life, I deplore wasting time online or on the phone. Women especially need to learn to set very strong boundaries and learn how to enforce them. Life is to be lived, not crammed. Stress is for emergencies, not daily routine. While I value computers and phones/texting greatly, they don’t control my life or create imbalance. That is not living.

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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