Life has been busy lately! Between all the sicknesses in our household, a spirited toddler, more patients at work, and an overbooked schedule, I haven’t had much time for myself. That’s okay; it’s the season of life I’m in and I know it will come and go.
You probably know by now that I am a very goal-driven and aspirational person. I always have personal projects that I’m working on, both big and small, and even more that I’m dreaming up.
I actually become even more inspired when I am busy with other things. When I’m active physically my mind is active as well. Lately I have so many ideas and dreams and hobbies that it can be easy for me to get overwhelmed with them and lose focus. When I find myself mindlessly playing games on my phone instead of making any progress toward my goals, I know something needs to change.
Here’s what I do:
1. Write everything down.
I’m a huge fan of the Getting Things Done method. I use the Things app to capture any task or idea, placing them in the Inbox. That way I can stop using mental space to hold onto them. Then when I have some time, I can go back and categorize the tasks or create new projects out of them. I do that in the app, or using Evernote if it’s something larger.
2. Figure out what needs attention NOW.
I’m talking about personal projects here. It’s always a given to me that I put my faith, my family, my job, and the household first (that includes housework and meals). Sometimes there isn’t time for anything else, but usually I’ll have small pockets of time here and there even during a busy season. So I like to have a plan for what I want to focus on.
For me, right now, there are three ongoing activities that I want to keep up with: my training runs, blogging, and reading. Probably in that order. The runs are important because I feel better when I exercise and I don’t want to die when running the half marathon in January. Blogging is a constant creative outlet (good for my soul) and a community. Reading is just something I love, and I’m part of two book clubs that I want to keep up with.
Once I figure out that those are the most important things for the moment, I make a plan. Ideally I’d love to run 4 times per week, but my goal is 3 (two short runs on weekdays and a long run on the weekend). On an especially busy week I could make do with 2 (a short and a long). I tell myself that during any downtime I can work on the blog or I can read. It’s okay if my posts aren’t amazing or if I only read a few pages a day. I’m still making progress, and I’m not wasting time.
3. Prioritize the larger projects.
Then there are the larger projects, dreams, and goals. These are what can really trip me up because I want to do all of them right now. But when I gave myself permission to delay working on some of them, a weight was lifted. I decided to focus on one thing at a time for now, and this is what it’s looking like:
>Holiday prep (including purchasing gifts, my annual holiday minibook, and possibly completing the advent calendar)
>Liam’s birthday (planning his party and any memory-keeping to go along with it)
>A quilt for Meredith
>A possible creative business idea
So that’s what’s working for me during this busy season! Now it’s your turn to share your tips. How do you keep up with your personal projects?