December To-Do List
Sometimes my to-list for the month is as long as I am tall.

Every Tuesday in the See Jane Write Facebook group I host Q&A Tuesday and invite members to ask me anything about writing, blogging, and business.

Yesterday a Facebook group member asked: How do you manage your time? What does a day look like for you?

This was perfect timing because I recently decided to revamp and re-release my time management e-course “How to Write and Have a Life.” (It will be available in March. Be sure to sign up for the See Jane Write mailing list to be notified of the launch date.)

People often ask me, “How do you do it all?”

This question used to surprise me because it’s usually asked of career women with kids and I have no children. But I suppose the question is valid because I do A LOT OF STUFF.

I am the founder of See Jane Write, for which I organize and host monthly events, maintain this blog, and offer coaching and consulting services. I freelance for a number of local and national media outlets. And I produce e-courses like the one I’m re-releasing in March.

And none of these things has anything to do with my full-time job!

I said that I don’t have children, but that’s not exactly true. You could say I have 100 kids because that’s how many teenagers I teach at a fine arts high school located in Birmingham.

On top of all this, I exercise regularly, try to stay active in my church, and I have a husband who would actually like to see me sometimes.

magic in the planning

So how do I do it all? (Don’t worry. I’m not going to make you wait until March to find out how I plan my day.)

I plan every hour of my day — including my downtime and even when I’m going to eat and shower.

My Day Designer planner is my lifeline. If I leave home without it, I will turn my car around to go back and get it. But I do believe that the magic is in the planning, not the planner. I’m productive not because of my planner but because I meticulously plan my days.

I make a to-do list every single day. Even when I’m on vacation I’ll write down all the fun things I want to do. I just love checking off completed tasks!

Lists keep me motivated and when I have a particularly daunting task on my to-do list I will also add some sort of reward to give me the extra encouragement I need.

Be careful, however, not to let your lists overwhelm you. If you have 24 items on your list and each item will take an hour to accomplish, you’re probably going to give up before you even get started. There is no way you’ll be able to complete this to-do list unless you don’t eat, sleep, or shower that day.

Planning each hour is a method that works well for me because I am a teacher and live much of my life in class periods. But this is a method I used long before I began my career in education. My planner has a space for hour-by-hour scheduling, too, which is another reason I love it so much.

My planner also includes space to write daily to-do lists and space for “Today’s Top Three.” When planning my day I often I decide on 1 to 3 tasks that must be accomplished that day and I write them in that area (and I usually do these things first thing in the morning to ensure they get done). I still write down all the other things that need to get done eventually, but with the knowledge that if I don’t get to these things today that’s OK.

early bird

You should also know that I am an early bird.

I get up at 4 or 4:30 a.m. most days of the week. If you’re not a morning person, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Girl, you’re crazy!” But I’ve been getting up this early for so long it doesn’t bother me one bit. In fact, I find it hard to sleep in on my days off. Being an early riser definitely helps me tackle my to-do list. Let me add, however, that if you’re going to wake up early, you need to go to bed early, too. Whenever I find myself consistently staying up late and getting up early I soon find myself sick, too. If you feel you can’t get everything done unless you only get 4 hours of sleep, you’re doing too much.

So what does my day look like?

I get up between 4 or 4:30 a.m. Before I leave for work at about 7:15 a.m., I will work on See Jane Write, spend some time writing in my prayer journal and reading Scripture, shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast.

I usually leave work between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m.

On most evenings I exercise, cook and eat dinner, watch TV, blog and grade papers.

Some evenings I have client meetings, networking events, or a See Jane Write event and, unfortunately, on these nights I usually sacrifice my workout for the day. This is something I still need to work on.

I try to be in bed by 10 p.m. and I read a few pages from my book of the month before I fall asleep.

In my e-course, I’ll walk you through my day in great detail and give you tips and tricks on how to get more done and have more fun.  Remember to sign up for the See Jane Write mailing list so you’ll know when How to Write and Have a Life will be released.

How to you manage your time?