As you can guess, I have quite a bit on my plate. I have so much that I want to do, and my interests are scattered among many things. However, I feel as though I am finally starting to grasp a bit of balance in a world full of chaos.
And for the most part, it’s all about finding and sticking with a good plan for scheduling my time.
Too Much Expansion Can Prevent Success
Like I told one of my clients many years ago: “If you spread yourself too thin, all the things you want to do will only get a sliver of time.” This was in regards to buying up as many website domains as possible.
His plan was to make all of them moneymakers.
The problem is, though, is that this particular client never put in the time and effort to make any one of them a true success. In fact, the client would rarely add content to any of these sites and expect them to flourish.
The end result is a collection of sites that see very little traffic and don’t generate any kind of money whatsoever.
My point is that trying to tackle too many things without putting the effort into what you already have slows progress.
Prioritizing Stuff the Works
One of the things I wanted to do recently is adding more videos for CrossingColorado.com and ColoradoPlays.com. The problem is how long it takes me to create videos in general.
If I put in the time to create a video for one channel, I simply won’t have the time to do the other.
At the moment, the YouTube channel for WriterSanctuary.com is doing well. I don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize its success.
So, instead of trying to push something out on another channel, I focus on stabilizing what I have.
If I want to achieve my goals, I need to prioritize the stuff that actually works. This means more blogging posts, higher quality WriterSanctuary.com videos, and maintaining my client’s workflow.
After all, it’s my clients who keep my bills paid.
Once the other projects can stand on their own, I can move on to add something new. I just need to make sure what I already have is stable.
Creating and Sticking to a Schedule
Working from home has been an eye-opening experience. For someone like me, it’s been far more difficult than working a traditional job. It’s the lack of a set structure and accountability that creates most of the problems.
However, I’ve recently been working on a good scheduling atmosphere for myself. According to this schedule, I should be able to get far more done in the day.
The trouble I have, though, is sticking to this schedule.
It looks great on paper, and looking at it inspires me first thing in the morning. But a strong schedule doesn’t mean anything if you’re not putting in the effort to stick with it.
Part of this process involves using time-management apps like Asana. Although I’ve only been using it for about a week for my personal stuff, Asana works amazingly well for my clients.
I just need to keep motivated and stick with the schedule I laid out. If I can do that, then I can easily achieve most of my goals this year.
Finding and Eliminating Time Sinks
Another method that will help reduce the chaos and find balance is by eliminating time sinks. These are things that wind up chewing away the day without promoting anything constructive.
For instance, I easily get sucked into YouTube or Netflix. While some entertainment is good here and there, binge-watching for hours on end prevents productivity.
Identifying these issues is only the first step, though. Then, I have to take measures to stop myself from indulging.
And when you’re working from home, this is far more difficult than you might think. Well, it is for me, anyway.
I know there are probably a lot of people out there who can easily stop themselves from binge-watching and be productive. But when you’re living in a chaotic world, the mind tends to be all over the map. Sometimes those diversions can help center yourself.
It’s when you take those brief breaks too often when it becomes a problem for securing balance.
Plus, if I can keep my mind occupied at night with more than just watching videos, I tend to snack less. This is extremely helpful when you’re trying to lose weight like I am.
One thing I realized over the years of freelancing is how often I do waste time. Not everyone will admit it, though. When you start keeping track of the times when you are productive, patterns start to emerge.
This is why I like to keep track of my productivity in a spreadsheet. I use it much like a timesheet as I clock in and out every day.
Setting Achievable Goals
When it comes to goals, a lot of people will fail because they set the bar too high. It’s one thing to reach for the stars, but it’s another when you reach for something so far out there that you wind up setting yourself up for failure.
In other words, you need to keep your feet grounded while reaching for those stars.
My goals usually center around things that promote self-improvement.
For example, I started freelance writing in 2012. My daily goal was to simply do more work in a day than I did the day before. Even if it was just typing out 50 more words, it is still positive growth.
Another way to manage goals is to break up large ones into smaller objectives. If you want to write a million words this year, that sounds like an awful lot. But when you break it down per day, it’s only 2,740 words.
For someone who writes as much as I do, that’s not all that difficult of a goal to reach on a daily basis.
What I’m saying here is that you can have goals to help drive success. Just make sure you’re not trying to accomplish something you know is likely impossible for you to reach.
Don’t Stress About Not Getting Enough Done
I often get mad at myself when I don’t accomplish enough throughout the day. This can lead to a variety of issues, most of which are related to negative feelings. And once you start viewing yourself in a negative light, success is far more difficult.
Instead of focusing on the things you didn’t get done today, feel confidence in the accomplishments.
Didn’t get enough words written today to reach your goal? Look at the amount of time you put in. Didn’t get that video up on YouTube today? Perhaps you at least laid out the script and images.
When I started as a freelancer, I added my personal blogging time into the same category as writing for clients. That’s because every word I write for myself only improves my overall abilities. Which then leads to a higher quality when writing for paying customers.
As long as you’re able to say that what you did today was for overall improvement, then you can consider it a success.
Just remember to be honest with yourself. If you binge-watch YouTube videos and try to tell yourself it was for “enlightenment,” it may have adverse effects on success.
Find Your Own Balance
For many people, it’s not easy finding balance in a chaotic world. It often means you have to really look at your activities and be true to yourself.
If you’ve been fired from four jobs inside of six months, it may not be the employers. If you can’t pay your bills even though you have plenty of opportunities, it may not be the bill collectors.
Understand yourself and be better. Whether you’re an Uber driver or a freelance writer, success is related to effort. Improving yourself from day-to-day will eventually lead to achieving all of your goals, hopes and dreams.
Just find a way to help you keep track.