Saturday, May 20, 2017

Scheduling 2.0

Lately, I had a lot of things on my mind, so I had to take a break.  Not too much of a break because I am loving the page views I have been receiving, but enough to get myself back on track.
I have started some posts to put up this week, but they have been pulled back to next week. I have not been mindful to myself, but thankfully, my family nor my church has not asked me to do too many things.  The reason I said this is as of this morning, my left ankle has been acting up, which mean one thing:  I am having a slight flare-up of gout, and I do not want to slow down my intake of seafood.  The other things that have been slowly flaring up are my shoulders and my eczema, which is concentrated on my face and chest (started to say the other thing in the chest area, but I remember about my G-rating on this blog, LOL). Except for the worry that I may not have enough money to finish paying for my trip in September, working on my YouTube Channel, and working on my friendship swap (my third scrapbook/mixed media swap with this woman), this has been a laid back week.
Well, enough about me, how has your week been going? 
Topic of Scheduling: What is it?
Today, since I mentioned my schedule or the sort of lack of a viable one, I thought I would post about making a schedule.  Not only a schedule that works for your writing but a schedule that contains everything you do in your life.  Let me first say to those who are new to scheduling, it is another way of planning.  In this case, you are planning out your day, week, month, or year. (Trust me, I know people like that). I have mentioned in many, many blog posts, and now some videos, planning is a way of knowing what you need to do, and want to do.  Planning keeps you sane, it keeps you on track, and it keeps you from duplicating tasks.  When you were in school, it was called a syllabus. Another name is called a “To Do List”.  Rather you call it a planning guide, syllabus, To Do List, Honey Do List, or scheduling, it is all the same, which again, it is a list of things that need to be done.
How to make a schedule?
Making a schedule is not hard to do, but for some reason, this is something that most people struggle with, myself included.   Even as a single person, with no kids, and not currently dating, it is a struggle.  Why?  Because I have so many facets of my life that I have to place into motion, such as time with the family (both biological and church family), church services, regularly scheduled meetings to attend, blog posting, videotaping, writing assignments that I suddenly feel that I need to do, and handmade projects that need to be made.  Oh, let’s don’t forget things, such as doctor and dental appointments, hair appointments (getting your hair twisted is an all-day appointment, even when you have 3 African braiders in your head at all times), pedicures, grocery shopping, and spring cleaning and decluttering (in the process now).  The list goes on and one.  You wonder if I will have time for baby when I adopt. Sleep, yes sleeping and pooping (OK, TMI)
To do that, you have to first prioritize.  Yes, that nasty little word called prioritizing.  What is important to you, may not be as important or more important to another person, so you have to place, in order, the things that need to be done.  Let look at my list:
·         Family time (D)
·         Worship services (W)
·         Meetings for church (M)
·         Meetings for business (AN)
·         Blog writing, editing, and posting (x3 W)
·         Video filming, editing, and posting (x2 W)
·         Freelance writing assignments (AN)
·         Handmade product creation, pricing, and placement (W, Q)
·         Doctor and dental appointments (Every 3 months, 6 months, A)
·         Hair and feet appointments (Every 2-3 months)
·         Personal and grocery shopping (AN, 2 weeks)
·         Spring cleaning and decluttering (Q)
·         Technology stuff (M)
The symbols are
·         A=Annually
·         AN=As Needed
·         D=Daily
·         M=Monthly
·         X#=Number of times during the week, month, or year.  The word Every in front shows importance for me.
·         Q=Quarterly
This is my breakdown of the overall schedule.  Note that I have not put any times on the scheduling part.  This when I do my calendar.  More on that part in a moment.
This is how I do my scheduling.  I write it on a big sticky note, handwritten, nothing fancy.  I usually will plan out my week on Sunday night (Sunday to Saturday scheduling).  So tomorrow, I will sit down at my desk, and look at my calendar, and plan out my week.  This process will take about 15 minutes to an hour, depending on what I have.  At the end of the month, I will throw in what I have to pay in bills, so it takes longer (towards the hour mark), and the rest of the month is usually towards the 15-minute mark.  So, if you are wondering how I throw in bill paying time.  There you have it.  I usually do not schedule in a separate bill paying time because I pay online, and it is like an internet session for me (before social media time).  I go to my credit card and utility sites, my banking, and Paypal in one session, jump back and forth between screens and in 15 minutes, I am done.
Next level:  Calendar
My Erin Condren Calendar
(c) 2017 Photo by P Lynne Designs
(c) 2017 Erin Condren 
Once I have all of that stuff straighten out, for the most part, I turn to my calendar.  I have 5 calendars:  Two paper planners (personal and business), My Ipad, and My smartphone (no the smartphone and the Ipad are not talking to each other (IOS and Android).  They do not play nice with each other, when you are on the family plan with your parents, and having an Ipad and an Iphone is not in the plans when your 21-year old nephew has one. So, until then, I have to deal with devices that do not talk with each other.  I mentioned a 5th calendar, that would be my desktop, I nicknamed, Della because she is a Dell computer. (Get it, Della). OK, so I have a quirk. My car is Baby J, the desktop computer is Della, Smartphone is Sammy (for Samsung phone), Ipad is Izzy, and my Cricut Explore is named Carmen.
Sorry, for going off track, where was I?  Oh, yes, my calendars.
A view of how I schedule through EC
(c) 2017  Photo by P.Lynne Designs
(c) 2017 Erin Condren 
Like I mention, I have two Erin Condren Calendars.  I love this brand because it is the first calendar that allows my style of recording things.  I have looked at others, but I am happy with the EC.  They offer three styles and I love the horizontal style, which allows me to write as much detail as I care to.  I place the topics of the blog post or video titles in there under the date.  That way, if I feel like I am repeating, I can turn to the month that I thought I wrote it, and decide on a different topic if I need to.  I can write down detailed things I need for appointments, meetings, and even directions.  EC has a dashboard which I use both as a white board and a place to put sticky notes.  My only wish is those planner creators who design stickers for the EC planner would have more horizontal formats.  
When it is time to make my schedule, I turn to that week to see if I have any meetings, appointments, and so forth.  I even record what I spend, and how much I have to spend.  Sammy, Izzy, and Della are online backups to my EC calendars, and I can enter in dates on these devices when I do not have the paper planner with me.
Is this a foolproof system?
No system is completely foolproof.  You have to put it in action to see if it works for you. Feel free to tweak any scheduling system that does not work for you.  Also, one tip:  no system is going to work if you do not use it.  If you keep putting it off and do the same things you have been doing, it is not going to work.  For me, a system will or will not work if you do not use it for at least 3 months.  3 months is plenty of time to tweak along the way.
So, give it a try.  You may need to tweak it to your style of doing things, but if it does not give you the satisfaction of a foolproof system, try another system.  I will tell you what does work for me, scheduling apps.  To me, they are so limited, especially the free systems.  The way they work and the way I work did not meet my needs, especially the last one.  Who knows, you may find an app that works for you.

Have a good evening

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