You have tons of things to do. You have multiple projects that you’re working on and just don’t know where to start. You have stuff you would like to do, like going to the gym or doing a hobby or simply to relax but can’t do because we always get stressed because we have a lot of pending stuff that needs to be done. And because of that you lose track and ended up not finishing anything, on time, at all! Or at work you tend to sleep late or not sleep at all just because you are trying to catch up on your deadline. It happens to the best of us. It still happens sometimes to the most organized person. But if we can’t foolproof it, is there a way we can at least make it better? Yes! Simply by making it simpler.
Here are simple steps you can do now to simplify your schedule.
- Identify your typical (average) daily schedule in the simplest format that can also be flexible.
This is basically a general idea of what you do usually in a day. Here is a sample of my own typical daily schedule as a Freelancing Artist :
Monday to Friday
- 8:00 to 9:00 – Breakfast
- 9:00 to 11:00 – Gym/Laundry/Grocery
- 11:00 to 13:00 – Lunch
- 13:00 to 14:00 – Shower
- 14:00 to 19:00 – Work
- 19:00 to 11:00 – Free Time (either I eat Dinner, doing any of my hobbies, blogging or simply chill out)
Saturday and Sunday
- Free Schedule
You don’t really have to schedule when you wake up, when to sleep, when you do your laundry or grocery… because those things do change up a lot depending on your mood, some events, weather and listing them (the things that are done by everyone, honestly) will make you less flexible. The key here is flexibility while working on your priorities. For work, sending or opening emails is not really something you have to list down because it’s what you always do at work so you just list them down as part of your work time. But if you really need to then there is no need for you to really listen to me because you know yourself more.
- Know your Priority Schedule/Time.
Is it the household chores? Is it work like mine? Is it the time for your kids? Now that you have identified what your daily schedule looks like, it is easier for you to know how you can divide all the TO DO that you have for the week in separate days based in your priority time which is in my case that is the one I marked the “14:00 to 19:00 – Work” in bold.
As a freelancing artist I accept multiple projects at a time and I always make sure to list all of them according to priority. When I have already identified them by priority (this is taking for account their deadlines)…
- Know your amount of time and capacity to work per task.
You’re the only one who knows how fast and how efficient you are to work on a specific thing and be completely honest with yourself. If you take 5 minutes or 10 hours to do 1 task, then so be it. This is not about finishing as many task as you list down but how you can divide them up.
- List your To Do Things STRICTLY within the allotted time for that specific Priority Time Schedule, could be less but NEVER MORE.
So you know how long you work on a task. Always give yourself an allowance of more hours to do a task. For example in my case doing a rough sketch can typically take me less than an hour for simple one illustrations and 2 hours for something a bit more complicated, but it’s not always the case. There are rare times that a sketch takes me more hours than it should and those time when it happens can be unexpected. So always expect the unexpected and give some allotted time for them. This will also helps you relax while you work on a specific task, without having to worry that you still have other pending task that needs to be done which in turn makes you stressed and become unproductive instead.
Here is a sample schedule if, for example in my case, working on multiple projects that needs to be done within the week. I only schedule up to 2 to 3 tasks a day. There are times that specific task moves a day later or earlier depending on how early my client approved the work I deliver or if I finish a task ahead of time and insert another task scheduled later on to finish and work on it earlier…(which is always good because that means I can do more in lesser time) so I do my scheduling on a day to day basis rather than schedule them whole week before. Me, I schedule my work for the next day the night before.
Sample List or TO DO/Projects and Priority Time Daily Schedule
Client and Project list that all needs to be done by the end of the week
- Client 1 or C1 – Weekly 3 black and white comic pages
- Client 2 or C2 – Character Design Sheet
- Client 3 or C3 – Character Illustration
- C1 rough sketches
- C2 rough sketch
- C3 rough sketch
- C1 line art WIP
- C1 finish line art and tones (For Delivery after finished)
- C2 line art
- C2 color flats
- C3 line art
- C3 color flats
- C2 color tone and finalization
- C3 color tone and finalization
- If it helps (which it did for me quite a lot) use an organizer and write it down.
For me it is easier for me to remember and be more conscious of it when I write it down on paper, or journal (I use a Midori TN Monthly for 2017 but will be changing my inserts to a Weekly Memo for 2018)
And that’s about it! The technique here is to list up to a maximum of 3 priority task a day only.
And… if it’s work related… sometimes declining a job that you don’t think can be done in your current schedule is the best route to take.
Till next blog post!