I’m not a naturally organised person. In fact, if you asked those who know me well, you’d probably hear words like ‘mess’ and ‘scattered’ being used to describe my life in general, and I’d be inclined to agree. It’s just not something that comes straightforwardly to me or happens automatically. I am also a busy person, and I like it that way. I can’t sit still for very long before starting new projects or finding things to occupy my time. Being quite busy can have it’s pitfalls, especially if you’re not naturally inclined to get everything done neatly and well organised. I have therefore developed strategies over the years to maximise my time and to stay on top of everything, and today I wanted to share what I think is the secret to my sort-of ‘success’.
I do busy rather well. Last year, I was finishing my degree, my dissertation, my final year placement as a primary school teacher, running a blog, a small business, and a part time job. I actually, somehow, miraculously, graduated with a 2:1, qualified teacher status, continued to grow the blog and the part time job turned into a full time one. This by no means makes me an expert, but has given me a bit of experience when it comes to time management.
Recently, my schedule has calmed down a little bit, but at the moment I do still have a full time job alongside this blog and my photography projects. I also have all the day to day roles of being a functioning member of society, I try and regularly visit my family who live just under a hundred miles away, spend time with my boyfriend and be a (semi) social human being. It’s all about balance really!
My trick to staying on top of things is a simple one, but one that took me a strangely long time to start doing. Just get up one hour earlier. Nothing drastic, just an hour. I shifted my schedule by one hour, going to bed a little earlier to compensate for getting up just a bit earlier, and it’s made a world of difference to my days.
My favourite things about earlier starts is that they always feel like your extending your day, rather than simply managing your time differently. I never miss that hour in the evenings, in fact I rarely do anything productive after 7pm anyway. Going to bed an hour early doesn’t feel like it’s shortening my evenings either, and I always feel more rested for doing so, irrespective of when I wake up. Pulling the end of my evenings an hour closer never particularly feels like a particular shortening of the day either, but makes all the difference when it’s added on in the mornings.
Getting up at 6.30 means I’m dressed and at my desk with breakfast and a coffee by 7am, leaving me with a full hour until 8am to work however I see fit. This usually includes planning, answering emails, writing posts and editing photographs. It’s a real concentrated hour, aside from a little bit of breakfast eating and coffee drinking, it’s undisturbed and focused. It’s quiet too. The early risers in my house leave by 7, and the others don’t get up till far later. My phone rarely goes, almost giving the illusion that you’re up before the rest of the world, giving yourself a really quiet and peaceful time to get things done. If my to-do list isn’t feeling too full, or on non-posting days, it’s a great time to start out the day slowly and gather my thoughts. Just sitting down for half an hour to plan makes my days feel far clearer, and planning ahead can make them far more productive than the days in which I just muddle through.
It’s the most simple of strategies but one that makes all the difference for me. That one little hour means I’ve had a decent breakfast, am ready and clean and made-up as well as having a whole hour to work on my own projects before heading out of the door into the real world. Obviously some people are more suited to evenings than mornings, so it’s all about finding what works for you, but for me, that little morning productivity session is the key to a great day!