For today, our assignment is to write at least 400 words non-stop. No theme was given and no word limit. So here’s what popped up in my head:
One of the obstacles I faced when I made myself independent as a freelance blog coach was time management. I complained about it frequently with my friends. My mistake was that I thought I would be better at handling various client schedules, deadlines, and my own calendars if I went digital. Big mistake. really.
I started with a Google calendar and soon found myself limited to colours. The day boxes showed too little information for me to really get a grasp on what my deadlines were for that day. I did not like the way the calendar looked on my mobile either.
I tried to find other electronic calendars online and found one that had a great layout. However. after every 10 minutes you had to sign in again …
Instead of pulling my hair out I tried to figure out what used to work for me when I had several projects going. Well, it has always been paper calendars for me.
Ever since I started university I have logged around a leather calendar. I started with a 1980s leather personal sized Winchester from Filofax. This binder got used and abused a lot. It was shoved into book bags, fell off tables in coffee bars, and was always crammed to the max with paper. After a decade or two I gave him some well-deserved rest. I bought an A5 sized leather binder from Succes and that has been my main calendar. Now, it also serves a business calendar.
The solution for my time management was simple. I needed a month at a glance to see in which weeks I have major projects. I need a week at a glance to make appointments. i transformed the ABC tabs that are normally used as address book into a “client to-do” depot. and last, I have a day per page set in the same binder.
Every evening, I scan the major projects and check whether the weeks are getting too full or not. If I see a very busy week coming up, I highlight that week in the weekly planner. Then I check the clients’ to-do lists for things that have to be done the next day. I check the weekly calendar for the next day’s appointments. On the day per page I write appointments on the left, indicate how much time I need to commute and when I must start packing. I write on the right what that day’s to-do in no particular order.
Thanks to this simple switch back to paper I found exactly what I needed: an organized start of my freelance career. I am still amazed at how many calendar refills one binder can hold and am careful not to overload the rings.
Going back to paper has also taken the stress out of meeting clients. No worries whether I have any bars on the mobile or looking for wi-fi. I have the notes, the tasks, the calendar, and the overviews I need.
Piece of mind, priceless.
Note: this was typed in one session of 13 minutes non-stop. The counter is at 540 words.