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Old 08-22-2012
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Question Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
I suppose I could have entitled this post: Are You Distracted? Do You Do Too Many Things At One Time? and so much more.

With school starting back soon, at moments I find myself overwhelmed with so many directions my family is going and trying to find a clear direction of my business. Yet, I know I need to work on organizing my family life and my business life. I love lists and want to know how others organize themselves?

How do you organize your chores, blog posts, medical appointments? Do you use Google calendar or do you write out your lists? Do you meal plan? Do you use a blogger planner? Or your smart phone?


What works for you and what doesn't? What trips you up? Thanks everyone for sharing your ideas on the forum.

Jan
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Old 08-22-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
For me personally, the Internet is too much filled with distractions (Facebook and the like being only one of them). The best way to have a productive time is to completely go offline.

I use a program called Freedom to forcefully remove myself from the internet. You could just as easily plug the cable from the router and lend it to your neighbor for an hour

As for staying on track, I feel a simple to do list - on paper - works best.
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Old 08-22-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
Jan,

This is the first year I have no one going back to school (super happy dance!). I spent the day with my son today and we were just talking about this. Hearing all the back to school stories and posts I feel a huge sense of freedom since I no longer have to worry about all the little adjustments to the schedule.

As for chores and other household things I have lists. I got into this habit with all the remodeling and house flipping that we have done. Cleaning happens a little bit each day and bigger items go on the list.

For my appointments I use my Google calendar and only have one calendar for work and personal. I do color code everything so I know what is client things, professional development items, etc. This helps me because it feeds to my phone so I always have my schedule with me.

For blog posts and development things I have a project on my PM for internal items and schedule those just as I would client work. This way I know I am making time for my business as well as my clients.
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Old 08-22-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
I love this idea of going offline. I try to do that but sometimes the distraction is too much temptation. For me the best way to manage time has been to come up with a routine with a time for social media, a time for checking email, and I do not work on my business on weekends. This way I can make sure I have time to get whatever personal tasks I have to do. I also try to give myself 1 afternoon a week to work only on my business so things dont get off track when I'm extra busy.
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Old 08-22-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
I use Google Calendar for everything and since it automatically updates on my phone, I always have my schedule on me which is handy when I'm out of the office and clients call asking for appointments.

I use a colour code that I use to show what tasks have been done and which ones are still pending. I also find it useful to allocate a realistic complete time for each task so that I don't feel overwhelmed by trying to do too much in one day. This really helps me organize myself and it's such a great feeling to look at it at the end of the day and see everything marked "completed".
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Old 08-22-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
I just want to give a "shoutout" to my fellow "no going back to school....until winter semester college" sister Lee! YAY! My youngest graduated too

On topic though....I use Google calendar and my cell phone to keep me on track with appointments; both business and personal. I also add personal time and family time as appointments too!
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Old 08-22-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
I have something like a daytimer that I use (offline) to schedule everything, from business stuff to personal stuff. It works for me just fine. It's easier than using something online in my opinion.
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Old 08-22-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
I've used two things:
My online method: Toodledo - So in love with this. It helps you to prioritize tasks, set goals and even has a premium feature that I really enjoy. Let's say you have an hour free and can't think of where to start, it'll analyze your tasks,due dates, priorities and durations and tell you what to do first.

My offline method - If you go to www.productiveflourishing.com, they publish a very useful set of planners for your day, week and month. They even have a weekly planner specifically for Freelancers that allows you to track time spent on different projects. You simply print them out each month and you're good to go.

My current mix is the printed planners in conjunction with Google Calendar for meetings/calls etc. Works like a charm.

Raven
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Old 08-23-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
@LuzDonahue: I hear you, the temptation of the internet is huge. For me, if I have a problem with lurking too much on Facebook for example, I tell my online friends that I am supposed to focus on work at such and such time.

When they spot me online (gaming, chatting), they call me on it. Bad. Make them tease you so much that you stick to your schedule
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Old 08-23-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
Baha! So true!

@Raven, I love this Toodledo. Totally stealing that!
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Old 08-23-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
Most of my work is done during the evenings and weekends. I have a "To Do List" which I write out manually every week. As I get things done I cross it off in Red pen. I also add to it. It is divided in to groups, so when I have something extra to do in a specific group I add it to that group.

Crossing things off is soooo satisfying. I had used the "To Do List" in Outlook, added colours and catagories. But I hated it! I did not get the same satisfaction when I crosses out things I had done! Crazy I know.

My method also highlights to me if the same thing was on there week after week after week, then I know there is a problem with the item. Either I need to do it immediately, delegate it someone else or not do it at all as it is not important.

I am sure my process is very silly to others especially if your "To Do List" is pages and pages long. I have managed to condense it and make bullet points. As I am the only one that is going to read it, it only needs to make sense to me.

I only have a certain amount of hours to complete work daily, therefore I try and use the same time period each day and those around me know I am working and can't be disturbed. Phone is turned to vibrate, so it can be ignored depending upon the person.

Hope this helps a little bit.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
I spent the week relaxing because this was my one week off in between summer session and fall session, but it's back to school for me on Monday

I use Outlook to kept track of my life and I color code everything for easy viewing.
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Old 08-24-2012
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Default Re: Are You Focused? Do You Waste Time?
There are just SO MANY distractions!!!!! Currently, I am trying to get everyone ready to go back to school. There is just so much that needs done!

Thanks for the resources here!

Anne
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