I've always been the person who takes on a million projects at once.
I can't explain why this is. I suppose it's just in my nature. I have a lot of grand ideas, and these ideas turn into goals. I'm a dreamer. But as great as it is to have big dreams, some days all of my projects choose the same day to gang up on me, and I find myself surrounded by mountains I'm unsure I can climb.
Yet, somehow, the projects get done.
Right now I'm finding my plate full with a full-time job, moving, publishing my novel, writing two books at once, updating my websites, reading to stay knowledgable on all things writing, as well as keeping up with my other commitments.
Oh yeah, and then there's my social life.
Having a lifetime of experience with being a dreamer, I thought I would share the tips I've learned to make a chaotic schedule feel less stressful.
Tip #1: TIME MANAGEMENT
Can I stress this enough? Time management is SO important when having a busy schedule. Everyone thinks they have good time management skills until all their committments sneak up on them. The way manage your time successfully, is something that spontaneous people find exceedingly dull:
-Daily to-do lists
I don't know where I would be without a to-do list. These are seriously a life saver, especially on busy days. Forgot that thing someone asked you to do earlier, and you feel like it might have been important? Write it on your to-do list the moment they ask you. And always, ALWAYS refer back to it before the day is done.
Remember that email that you probably should have sent last month, but forgot to do until it was too late? Or how about that appointment you forgot to write down?
Weekly/Monthly schedules are vital if you have long term commitments. They keep your goals on track and heading in the right direction. Writers need this for book deadlines and marketing schedules.
Tip #2: TAKE YOU TIME
This must be done if you are to handle a busy schedule, especially one that is long-term. Sometimes, I feel like I'm such a roll with what I'm doing, that I try to accomplish more and more. By the end of the day, I'm so burnt out that I don't feel like doing anything the next day. That's a whole day wasted! Designate some time for you, and only you to recooperate. You'll thank yourself later.
Tip #3: KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO
I've learned this one the hard way. If you're a multi-talented person, people recognize that. Before you know it, you're getting bombared with requests, whether it's to host your friend's going away party, tutor your classmate in writing, or anything that you would be doing solely as a favor.
And like goal-oriented person you are, you say, of course! I can totally handle that.
Before you say yes to requests like this, you HAVE to refer to your current schedule. Look at everything you have on your plate and ask yourself: When and how often would I be needing to work on this? Could this take away from my prior commitments?
If your answer is "yes" on the second question, you've got to take a deep breath and say no. Even if the person is offended, you're doing the right thing by staying loyal to the commitments you've already made. You might be awesome, but no one is Superman.
These are the three main things that have kept me from pulling my hair out my whole life. With a little planning and determination, there is no limit to what a person can do :) Have a great day!