Hillary Chybinski: Working Smarter - My Journey to Better Work Habits

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Working Smarter - My Journey to Better Work Habits

Get a Grip on Time Management

My One Little Word for this year is Journey. One of the journeys I am taking is making smarter work decisions. I'm a WAHM these days - splitting my time between blogging, writing and online content creation and independent marketing/social media consulting. Anyone that works from home knows that there are special challenges and obstacles to overcome. In hopes of getting a better foothold on that elusive work-life balance, I have vowed to find ways to work smarter.

To kick off the new year, I have implemented a few new strategies, and after three weeks, they are working well. Let me share my strategies with you:

Strategy 1: I'm using a MomAgenda as a combination Editorial Calendar/To-Do list. It has enough space to track my schedule, my kids' schedules and work I have due for clients. It also provides a canvas for me to plan my blog's editorial calendar, so both organic and sponsored content get scheduled. Bonus with this system? There's a Weekly Dinner Menu space for my meal plans! Here's what I have learned about myself and my work habits - I need to write things down with a pencil and paper. (EDITED - just saw you can save 40% on certain planners at momagenda.com)

Strategy 2: Blocked time. I am looking at my daily to-do list and blocking off time to complete tasks. On a typical day, I have 6 hours available for "office hours". Depending on my deadlines and commitments for a particular day, I may block an hour in the morning to write, then a 15 minute household chore break, then 2 hours for client work, I may put in an hour for more chores, lunch and a quick walk/WiiFit workout. Another 2 hours for client work and/or writing and I try to be wrapped up by 3pm. Blocking time allows me to concentrate fully on the task at hand, rather than getting distracted.

Strategy 3: Shutting down social media. This one hurts, but has improved my productivity, particularly on busy days. I allow myself time in the morning and late-afternoons to catch up with my favorite groups, friends and family. Social media can be a real time suck, but it also has far-reaching benefits, both personally and professionally, so it needs attention too.

Strategy 4: Meal planning. I know. . .that is SO unglamorous, but I must confess it has helped tremendously. By planning my weekly dinners, I cut down on trips to the store (which allows for time to complete other tasks), save money, and can arrange my menu to suit our schedule. For instance, it's concert night tonight - we need to be out of the house by 6:15, so that means Trader Joe's Chicken Nuggets and Mac-n-Cheese. You can find a meal plan posted every Monday.

Those are my 4 strategies that I'm using on my journey to work smarter in 2014. As with any plan, adjustments may need to be made, and that's ok - I'm taking each day as it comes, and trying to plan out for the week and month when possible. I like to think of it as a map to help me reach my destination.

Are you working smarter this year? What are some of your strategies?

catch you soon - 

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