Balancing the Workload

By guest contributor Maddy Hague. Photography by Leslie Shewrig for Decor8.

Today's post focuses on an issue you're sure to encounter once you start taking on new projects. Whether you are a contributor, or are leading a project, balancing your schedule can be the hardest part. Here are some time management skills I've learned over the years that can help you manage a large plate of work:

Keep a calendar
This sounds pretty straightforward, but keeping an organized calendar is absolutely vital. I keep separate colors on my calendar for each blog or project, and block out time for each task involved in the blog/project. You will be amazed at your productivity if you stick to your schedule. If you go over the time allotted, move on to the next task on your calendar. Simply add it to your calendar in a future spot where you can complete it.

Have a set time each day to handle your email
Pick one or two blocks of time each day to handle email. Check and answer all of your e-mail accounts in this block of time. I know that if I don't handle all correspondence during this time, I'll more than likely fall behind on one or more accounts. No one wants to feel like they are drowning in unanswered mail.

Don't surround yourself with distractions
I'm personally okay working with music or a television on. When I need to plow through tasks, I tend to turn on movies or a TV show that I've already watched. This allows me to be entertained, but it doesn't require my full attention.

Walk away when you need to
People tend to work a lot more slowly when stressed or bored. My time management skills are hugely reliant on my work efficiency. Even if it means missing one of my task appointments, I'll go out to lunch or find inspiration at the local craft store to get me back on track.

Make sure the work you're doing is worthwhile
Do you love it? Are you working towards a goal that is important to you? If there's no motivation for you to be doing it, you may end up resenting it. This will take up time that could be spent doing something that will help you advance in what you actually enjoy. Take a hard look at your schedule, and make sure everything on there has a purpose.