Hi! It’s been a while.
I think that part of (if not all of) the reason I’ve been a bit lacking on my blog is because I’m using all of my inspiration to write elsewhere. That, my friends, is about to change. I’ve made a list of all the topics I’d like to write abut on here, and I’m going to make my way through them.
I thought I’d kick off with 5 tips to prepare for a busy month because that’s what I’ve been faced with recently.
The first few days of each month signals a fresh start for me. This is particularly poignant in September, which is marked by a change in weather.
READ MORE: When your hobby becomes your full-time job
The start of a new season presents a great opportunity to take stock of all areas of your life and plan for the months ahead. Winter is a particularly difficult time for me, so I like to ensure I’ve got plenty of fun activities peppered throughout the months to get me through.
Preparation is a pretty essential part of that process, and it becomes even more important if you’ve got a busy month ahead.
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you have a stress-free month.
READ MORE: How setting intentions can help your career
Block out your free time
When you’re busy – particularly if you work for yourself – there’s a tendency to just keep working. In the same way that we schedule meetings, appointments and work into our calendars, it’s important to schedule time to do stuff for you.
‘You time’ looks different to everybody. For example, I’ve got a free Sunday this week which I’ll be spending painting the office. That, for me, is enjoyable, I love decorating. For others, your time out will look very different.
Always plan time to do absolutely nothing, don’t just cram more and more activities into your calendar. Sometimes, when you’ve got a day free, it’s ok to just leave it free and spend a bit of time doing nothing. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
The three job rule
Each day I write a list of three jobs I’m going to complete that day. If you start the day with a to do list that makes you feel anxious just looking at it, you’re going to end up pent up before you’ve even started.
I pick my three most pressing jobs on the day and write them in my notebook. I keep them very broad as well. For example, yesterday’s list was: 1. Yahoo shift (9-1), 2. Conference call, 2pm. 3. Write blog post for client.
If I’m having a particularly anxious day, my list consists of one thing: chill the eff out. If you don’t look after yourself, you won’t ever be able to tackle your mammoth to do list.
It’s not just about the work
It’s easy to think you can only be productive if you’re doing work. That’s wrong. If your brain simply won’t work, you don’t have to force it.
If you work from home, there are always house jobs to be done; water the plants, sort out your washing, go and give the kitchen a scrub. If you don’t, think of the life admin jobs you have to do and focus on those instead.
Doing something mindless for half an hour can give you your creativity back to carry on with your day.
Keep your office space clean
I never feel as productive when my office isn’t clean. Since I also spend a lot of time working on the kitchen table, if the kitchen around me is messy, that’s a big no-no, too. That’s more specific for work-from-homers, though.
Clean your laptop or computer and extend that to cover your whole desk area. I don’t print things unless absolutely neccessary to avoid the inevitability of a big pile of paper on my desk. I’d also recommend getting a shredder so you can shred any bills you don’t need instead of leaving them hanging around and piling up.
Don’t overthink tasks
If you’re anything like me, the anticipation of a busy month will be much more catastrophic than the actual month. If you’re somebody who builds things up to be much more stressful than they are, you’ll benefit from not thinking about tasks until you’re in them.
When I’ve got a busy day, I go as far as not thinking about it until I sit down at my desk and begin working. I get up, get ready and have breakfast all the while blocking any stressful thoughts from entering my brain. It’s a self-preservation thing and it works.