Here are the tips offered by Design*Sponge (paraphrased by yours truly):
- Block out your most productive, creative times on your calendar, and plot out priorities.
- I'm literally blocking out my calendar for 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. every day to focus on my top priority, most creative projects. At the end of every day, I'm going to try to write my top 3 priorities for the next day, too. Often I'm rushing around and then arrive to work unfocused, then get distracted by email and "this must be done now!" stuff, and things get out of whack. Same with weekends -- I still want to relax and rejuvenate on the weekends, but I also want to set aside 1-2 hours for priorities I can't get to during the week. Like, free/creative writing and blog stuff, basically.
- Work ahead of schedule.
- This is really hard. But it feels oh-so-good to be on top of things.... so I'll try.
- Create energizing space in your day.
- I accidentally make this some sort of New Year's resolution every year, I've realized. Creating space can easily mean "doing absolutely nothing with a glass of wine in hand while watching Scandal because wine helps me relate to Olivia Pope better." That's okay, but I need to create energizing space. I usually do that through yoga but I want to include daily reading/writing space as well.
- Let go of expectations.
- Soooo pretty much a life practice in all areas, over and over.
- Plan for the next day, energy-wise: what fills you up v. what sucks your energy away.
- Sometimes I just set my schedule and agree to things without really thinking it through. For instance, I keep making plans on Monday nights when I know by 5 p.m. Monday I want nothing more than to go to yoga, do laundry and hang around the apartment. I never want to be social on a Monday night; I want to be a homebody to the max. Anything else steals my energy, whereas planning to be social on Wednesdays-Saturdays feels much more fulfilling and fun and I actually follow through on it. Same idea with work -- if I notice my tomorrow is full of meetings, I need to proactively think about how I can avoid momentary burnout throughout the day.
- Know how you work best (because now you do!) and don't apologize for it.
- I actually just had a performance review and got feedback about being a "quiet leader." I've struggled with this over the years, but honestly, I'm tired of apologizing for it and trying to be somebody I'm not. I'm a naturally quiet person; I'm a natural listener and thinker before a speaker and actor. It's good for me to push against this, but I also know that it's simply who I am. And I've done quite well thus far being that person!
In a week or so, I'll be back with an update on how this effort is going. If you're participating in this exercise, share your plan going forward!