In a productivity obsessed society, alongside ever-growing self-employment, organisation is crucial to achieving consistency, and ensuring regular breaks and time away from work are part of your daily life. The calendar is the hub of what you do and when it must be done by, a simple concept, yet it can transform workflow and output if applied correctly.
Self-organisation can be extremely difficult. Blocking out time into visible chunks gives an understanding of what needs to be done and gives an overarching look into the best way to spend working time.
Here's an example of my daily calendar:
An average workday in my life will consist of around 7 hours of work, with 1 hour 15 minutes of breaks. I prefer to start working later and to finish later, that is simply a matter of preference and is situational, which can be changed depending on events or commitments.
One of the best productivity tricks I've learned is to focus on a maximum of 3 areas in a day and to batch create where possible. For example, I aim to publish 21 social media posts a week across various platforms (including this blog, how apt), in the past, I would panic and attempt to write, film, edit and post a video on the day it would be uploaded. This is intensely counterproductive and can lead to an impulsive, unplanned attitude in your work life, which is not healthy or beneficial. I now dedicate one workday a week to this purpose, if you are unable to do so, even blocking off a few hours within a week to achieve an ambition or target will compound over time.
Rest and recovery are paramount to a successful work/life balance, which can seem impossible to achieve at times. The key to this for me was a switch from prioritising the number of hours worked, to output in a given day. This process-oriented workflow allowed me to achieve more in less time, which was further compounded when intentional breaks and personal tasks like going to the gym are added to the calendar.
A simple to-do list which encapsulates self-care, daily tasks and well-being activities is another way to improve work/life balance as well as mental state, which is integral to a healthy working environment. I dedicate intentional time to my mental health through meditating twice a day, even though it takes under 10 minutes of my day, I find it to be monumental in my mood and work output, I'd suggest anyone to have a look on YouTube at short guided meditation videos and give it a try, here's my favourite - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jholcb8Gz0M
Spending time on enriching things like learning a language through Duolingo or spending 10 minutes a day reading may seem trivial, however, over time new skills are being built in a sustainable and manageable way. 10 minutes a day equates to 60 hours a year put into a new skill, which is a significant amount of time spent learning something new. Gratitude journaling has been an ideal way to close off each day for me, I use an app called Daylio for this but there are others, ending each day by detailing your thoughts and 3 things you are grateful for brings finality and peace of mind to the end of each day.
Here's a summary of all that I've learned about making your calendar work for you: