Right now in my life I have lots of smaller jobs that make up my paycheck work. I teach spinning classes, I write for PLY and Spin Off, I do consulting, I write newsletters, and I have several jobs for Knitty. This year I'm also writing a spinning book.
It may seem a little crazy making (and some days it is) but no matter how deadline crazy it gets, I have nothing but gratitude for everyone who is involved in hiring me and supporting me. This is the job I dreamed of when I sat behind a desk in a corporate cubicle.
People have asked me how I stay (mostly) on top of things. The short answer is: Lists. I make and keep a lot of lists. I also never stop tweaking how I organize my work. I'm always asking people, reading books and blogs and listening to podcasts. There is a huge industry built around organizing and I pick and choose what works for me.
Right now I use a system that's a little GTD, Bullet Journal, Daily Journal, with a helping of Google Cal and Things for Mac.
What works for me is to have an electronic calendar, big and repeating projects in a computer program and weekly and daily tasks written in a paper journal, with fancy pens.
I learned after fighting it for a long time that I still need paper. I love the act of writing and the fancy pens. I love checking things off of lists. I am that person who will write something on a list after I've done it just to check it off.
I also learned that as I fill up a work journal, I don't want to copy the whole flow of ongoing projects into the new book, that's where the electronic project system comes in handy.
There are lots of things I've learned over time that have helped me and I'll share them here every month or so and maybe they'll spark something for you.
Something I like is to try something for a month and see if it works for me. I can pretend something works for a day or a week, but hanging in there for a month means it has helped with my work, it's become an A-ha for my work system.
My August A-ha was to write all of my blog posts on one day. I've always struggled to fit in all of my blog writing and found it hard to shift back and forth between other work and writing as the week progresses. Some weeks I write 5 blog posts and knowing I have a whole day to just write takes the stress out of finding the time.
Here's something I'm struggling with and maybe you have suggestions for me. It is hard for me to take the time for the making part of my job. Spinning and knitting samples is important to my job, without that work I wouldn't have things to teach or write. I struggle with carving out the time to do it, so that part of my work is always more rushed than I'd like. How do you, if part of your job is making things, carve out the time to do it?