inspiration

Time Management, How I Get It All Done

I try to maximize the number of things I can do in a day. I’ll give it the old girl scout try to pack it all in, which sounds aggressive… but it actually includes everything. A nap if I want/need to nap, a trip to the dog park for an afternoon with Teddy, time with Garrett, phone calls with my mom. It’s just a matter of prioritizing: saying no when you need to say no, making sure you make time for the people you care about most, and (very important!) giving yourself the time to regroup.
For better or for worse, my days are completely different. My schedule actually gives me anxiety, so sometimes I’m bad and don’t check the next day until the night before. Regardless of when I find out what I need to do the next day, I always start with the obligations. 
I map out my days carefully around what are set times and what I’m obligated to do that day. Let’s say for example… I have two meetings scheduled (10 am downtown and 4 pm nearby) and it’s a hair wash day (aka add 45 minutes to my “getting ready” routine) and I have a dinner planned with Garrett and don’t want to work too much afterward. Then there are the regular tasks like emails and writing. The best way I can describe my method is to use an example of a fake day of how I would schedule one day.
I start with the meetings. I need to leave my apartment at 9:20 to get down there in time. I know that I’ll want to get in a solid hour of catching up on social media (Pinterest, Tumblr, reading blogs, and responding to priority emails, etc.) before going to the meeting. So call that 8:20. I also need to walk Teddy for thirty minutes, 7:50. It takes me an hour and a half to get ready (shower, makeup, dress, andโ€“ ugh hair dayโ€“ my hair), 6:20. Knowing I’ll also want a cup of coffee while I’m working and getting ready… I’ll add in a ten minute grace buffer, 6:10. So basically that’s when I’ll set my alarm. No snoozing! (PS I walk Teddy and then get coffeeโ€“ extra hotโ€“ when I’m still bed-headed so that I’ll have coffee while I get ready!)

At that point, I know my morning is basically over. I’ll get back to my apartment by 11:40 (hour for the meeting, another 40 minutes for traveling back). 
Then I start the process again for the 4 pm meeting. Luckily this one is around the corner so I can leave my apartment at 3:50 and be back in my apartment by 5:10.
Between 11:40 and 3:50 is when I’ll get the bulk of my work done. Most of the time that means keeping up with emails… say, 11:40-2:45. I’ll probably be banging my head against the wall, so I’ll take Teddy to the park for from 2:45 to 3:35 and then walk back to my apartment to head to the meeting.
I typically ask Garrett to meet me at my apartment for dinner at 7 pm so I can get even more work done between my meeting and his arrival. By 10 pm, I’ll grab my laptop and sit on the couch with G while we watch a movie and work until he yells at me to stop working (midnight or 1 am).
I write out the schedule the night before. In this case, I’ll have a skeleton schedule with a to-do list on the side:
6:10: Alarm
6:10-6:40: Walk Teddy
6:40-6:50: Get coffee (call mom!)
6:50-8:20: Get ready
8:20-9:20: Work (emails, Pinterest, Tumblr, catch up on blogs)
9:20-10:00: Travel to meeting
10:00-11:00: MEETING #1 (downtown)
11:00-11:40: Travel back to apartment
11:40-2:45: Work (refer to to-do list)
2:45-3:35: Walk to dog park and play at dog park (call mom!)
3:35-3:50: Walk to apartment, drop Teddy off, get ready really quickly
3:50-4:00: Walk to meeting
4:00-5:00: MEETING #2 (uptown)
5:00-5:10: Walk back to apartment
5:10-7:00: Work (refer to to-do list)
7:00-10:00: Dinner/play with Garrett
10:00-midnightish: Finish up working (refer to to-do list)
My to-do list might look something like:
Answer 15 Tumblr Questions
Get through starred emails (can take anywhere between three and seven hours… yikes!)
Write blog post for next day
Write blog post for afternoon
Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter upkeep
Meeting #1
Meeting #2
Call with so and so
Edit photos for an upcoming post
Something related to my accountant and/or lawyer
+ anything I didn’t do the day before
Tip #1: I maximize efficiency by drafting emails while underground on the subway or get in a little bit of reading on the way down, or (if I’m extra-stressed) do prep work/review for the meeting on my way there or follow up/initial first steps on the way back.
Tip #2: I always call my mom while I’m walking somewhere. Definitely in the morning on my way to get coffee and probably while I’m out walking Teddy to the dog park in the afternoon. 
Tip #3: Sometimes when I’m desperate and really swamped, I’ll pay for a cab instead of a subway so that I can have cell service and rapid fire out emails or take phone calls. The $15 cab ride is totally worth it then. 
Tip #4: Once a week, I make sure I have no meetings until 2pm if I have meetings at all. Those mornings are the best because I’ll take Teddy out to Central Park off-leash at 6:30 in the morning and then spend a luxurious hour in Starbucks reading (newspaper, magazine, or a book… whatever I’m in the mood for!). I swear those mornings are like GOLD to me.
Maybe I’m a little bit crazy when it comes to getting stuff done, but I really really value being efficient and making sure I get everything done (including time with Teddy and my friends and time for myself).
What are your time management tips?


xoxo
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57 Comments

Gaby

This is my new favorite post, Carly. You are such an inspiration to me. Keep it up!

xoxo
Gaby

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Hunter

I am the exact same way; busy, busy, busy! To help keep up with my time management I try to keep a constant check on my blog email, I write down important blog dates in my planner, and I always have a to-do list sitting in front of me on my desk. That is the best way for me to make sure I get everything done on time. One thing I always, always try to do though is take an occasional break (just once or twice a month) to catch up and recoup! Great tips Carly!

Hunter
Prep on a Budget

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Jenn Cramer

WOW! I am really busy, but I like to not have a schedule, but that's because I am by no means a Type A kind of person. That is awesome that you can make a schedule like that and stick to it, I don't think I ever could.

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Liva

Seriously though. My father receives emails in the high hundreds each day, while attending meetings, conference calls, and dealing with other work and projects constantly…and that's his 9-5 job. He still finds time to exercise, spend time with family, cook nice meals, and relax on the couch. What's your problem? Why are you so inefficient?

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Sita Chandra

If you read her blog well enough, you would know that she mentions her anxiety a lot which [speaking from experience] can heavily impact a person's day so she is doing what works best for her. She is still growing up and figuring her life out- not to mention in one of the busiest and fast-going pace city of America! You do what's best for you and she'll do what's best for her. Keep rocking on, Carly, love this post!

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CT Cupcake

I don't get all the this is so inspirational. It's work, and it's what everyone does, except some of us aren't so lucky to count to pinterest and tumblr as work. Glad you have a schedule of sorts that works for you, but I can say I've never met someone who didn't make a to-do in some form everyday, so I don't see what is so revolutionary about this.

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cheyenne

love this post! i guess i keep to the same plan – although the last few months have been so busy and stressful, right now it's really hard for me to concentrate and getting my lists done.. just need to get back in the flow again ๐Ÿ™‚
xo, cheyenne

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Autumn Masen

Lovely post! ๐Ÿ™‚

As a stationery buff, it is imperative I ask: What stationery do you use to carry out all of your planning? Perhaps you could conduct a planner tour? ๐Ÿ˜›

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Kelly Crusenberry

Love this post! I think its so important to take time for yourself to regroup and maintain your focus. Dog walks, coffee, and books are my go to as well. Nothing like stepping away from it all to really enjoy what you do!

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Brienne Peers

I love the idea of once a week not having meetings until later in the day. It is such a stress reliever to have a morning to yourself!

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Meredith Davis

This post made my type A brain giddy. It's all about utilizing your time in the most efficient manner – I call my mom when I'm driving to & from work!

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Sarah Garramone

SO glad I am not the only person who does this…it's nice to know there are other people out there like me with their crazy, type-A scheduling & to-do lists! ๐Ÿ™‚

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rachelnvargo

Do you ever schedule in time to eat or prepare a meal? Sometimes I feel like if I don't pencil in "eat lunch" I will go the whole day to realize at 9 pm all i've eaten is a granola bar. Inspiring organization though! I really admire your work ethic!

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Samantha Kay

I'm pretty good about mental scheduling, but I love the way you have it all written out. This is great for people who have difficulty managing their time.

morninglux.blogspot.com

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Rebecca Ann

I am totally a paper planner girl. Finally got one for 2014, and just in time, since I have been schedule job interviews like crazy in the last two weeks since I have been home.
I like to write my appointments in the month at a glance, then my daily to-do's in the weekly pages (with appointment reminders!).
Writing everything down definitely helps me to remember everything that I need to do, especially those little tasks that tend to slip my mind!

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Natalie

I really like this post because I'm very type A too so having a day organized keeps me less stressed even though it can seem stressful from a non-Type A perspective.

Natalie
Pugsandpink.weebly.com

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Nessa

I am so glad I found your blog! This is a great post. You seem to be very efficient and a good multi-tasker. I agree that it is important to find time for yourself (and your family and friends, of course). I just wish I could be as disciplined as you are when it comes to waking up early…

http://www.livinginsteil.com

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lgabler

What website do you use to keep up with the blogs you follow?
Or do you just have them all bookmarked?
Or are they all blogspot and you just look through your feed?

Would love to know!

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Andrea Ruiz

Thank you so much for your post! I'm trying to stick to the habit of waking up early and getting things done, but it's pretty difficult. I'm getting better at the writing down what I have to do, though ๐Ÿ™‚
Love your blog xx
savoreachbite

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Kay

Had to send this to my mom because this is almost exactly how I plan my days and she doesn't get it, hah! So glad there is someone else to likes a schedule!!!

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Nicole Pรฉrez

Most of my days consist of meetings, so I'll use Microsoft Note/ legal pad at each one and write an "action list." It's like a list of things I said I would do or things I should do in general based on the meeting. I always refer back to this when I'm making my daily to-do lists, and I feel like it keeps me (and my schedule) accountable. Loved your post, thanks for being so wonderful and helpful!

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Arianne

I like being efficient, too, and writing them down definitely helps… I'm not so busy that I need an actual schedule yet, but sometimes, just writing down the things I need to do prevents me from becoming overwhelmed ๐Ÿ™‚

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Emma W

These are great tips! I love the idea of not having any meetings book until 2pm it is a great way to get a little break ๐Ÿ™‚
emmasbeginning.blogspot.com

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Colleen Fox Slack

I have a weekly sheet broken down by day of the week and then split into 2 columns – work and personal. That way I can separate tasks and book them out farther into the week if I know they aren't high priority and then stop worrying about when they'll get done. I have a electronic list in Evernote that I keep a running list of tasks for all my clients and personal life and I can pull them over onto my paper list at the beginning of each week (or in the middle of the week if I'm being extra productive.) Since I have a toddler and run my interior design business from home (she's in daycare 4 days/week) I need to be organized but highly flexible. This system has been working well for me without micromanaging the day into specific tasks.
Thanks for sharing your system.

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Nicole Bandes

Great tips. I especially love #1 about drafting emails while underground. Just because you don't have an immediate connection doesn't mean things can't get cued up!

The number one time management tip I can share is to get enough sleep! When we are well rested, we get more done in shorter periods of time because we are clear headed and focused.

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Jasmine Brink-Li

I love this post. I started doing this and it's a game changer!! I might not follow it to a tee but during the work week it's amazing for keeping me on track. Trying to fit in work, homework, blogging, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle means I need to keep track of the minutes! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing this one!
x

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Leslie Scott

Well it differs from person to person how they tends to manage and go inline with the time. But I think that you have clearly defined one of the best way to manage and process the time management aspects.

Being a sales coordinator, time management is one of my highly prioritized approach for me as well as for my team. And I think that the main aspect to have the time managed and streamlined with it is to keep track of the time what has been utilized and carried up. I literally use one of the best advanced cloud based time tracking software from Replicon that helps me manage the time and keep track of it in a respective manner in order to reach out at the target and get the work done up.

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Ronja S.

Found your post just now via Pinterest. Love love love how you schedule your days – still doing it that way?
Thank you for the inspiration!
xx, Ronja

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