10 Tips to Manage your Time, Priorities, and To-Do List When You Work For Yourself

Daily Overview Notepad on Desk

Managing your time effectively and keeping up with daily to-dos while also prioritizing what matters can be tricky when you work for yourself. Whether you’re a designer, photographer, or social media manager, you probably have a lot on your plate and no real “structure” to your days (or a boss to report to!). 


While working for yourself usually means a lot more freedom, it also typically means working from home and often alone. This can be a hard environment to stay focused and creative in - which is why today we’re bringing you our top 10 tips to stay on track and continue to be inspired throughout your days. 


But before we get started, just a reminder that staying productive is obviously important, but ultimately, your worth is not measured by your productivity. We hope this blog gives you more insight to how you can realign your work life on what matters most to you - not how to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of your days.

 


OUR TOP 10 TIPS:
  1. HAVE A MORNING RITUAL 

Ok, don't roll your eyes at this one! Morning rituals are so so important to start your day off on the right foot. Whether your ritual is simply making your bed or establishing a more step-by-step routine (i.e. journal, walk, or meditation), any form of structure that gets you excited to get out of bed is what we’re talking about here.


  1. TIME BLOCK + TIMER ON

At the start of your workday, roughly block out exactly what needs to get done that day by the hour. We love our Daily Overview Notepad and Planner for this! With space to time block and set priorities, it’s great for keeping yourself focused - speaking from experience. :)


Once you’ve laid out your time blocks, throughout your workday, set a timer for specific tasks (example: 20 minutes to check and answer emails, 30 minutes for designing, etc.) this will help you stay on track with specific tasks and to-do’s in your work day rather than floundering trying to remember what you’re supposed to be doing. 


  1. INSPIRATION BREAKS

This one may seem intuitive, but you’d be amazed how commodified creativity has become these days and, when you take a step back, how hard it can be to feel inspired.

At least once a day, take small breaks for inspiration. A simple walk outside around the block, a phone call with a friend, a quick coffee run, flipping through a magazine, etc. Whatever inspires you and will give your creativity a kickstart!


  1. GET DRESSED

While getting dressed may not seem like it directly correlates with your time management, it can be hugely beneficial in activating your brain if you're working from home. It can be tempting to work in your PJ’s all day, but from experience, we know that can breed laziness and greatly affect your mindset.


  1. UTILIZE TECHNOLOGY POSITIVELY

Technology can be such a distraction when trying to work from home, but there are also so many hacks and helpful features on our amazing devices. If you have an iPhone, we recommend utilizing the “Work” mode to only allow communication/notifications from clients or work-focused items. 

Another of our favorite tech hacks is opening up new browser windows to keep projects separated and our brains less overwhelmed. This helps keep our minds focused on the one item at hand rather than seeing every tab/to-do at once.


  1. BEAT THE BURNOUT WITH AN INTENTIONAL REFOCUS

If you’ve been feeling lately like the way you’re structuring your day just isn’t working, maybe it’s time to recenter what’s at the focus of your days/weeks. 

Ask yourself this: when it’s a Sunday night and you’re thinking about the week ahead, what first comes to mind?

For example, you might think first about what all needs to get done workwise. All the editing, designing, emailing, etc. that needs your attention in the next 7 days. This often leads us to feel drained and overworked before we’ve even started. When your to-do’s and priorities begin with work items, you’ll feel that your cup is emptying before it’s had a chance to refill.

When you center your week around your own wellness, the game truly changes. When you first approach your week with “how will I take care of myself this week?” and “what will my intentions be?”, you subconsciously show yourself that you are the priority here, not your never-ending todos. 


We love our Weekly Wellness Notepad for this exact purpose. With space to track gratitude, habits, and intentions, this notepad helps you refocus on what matters most.


  1. PRIORITIZE PRIORITIZE PRIORITIZE!

We are BIG believers in prioritization because here’s the truth - it’ll never all get done. Read that again. The to-do list will never be completely crossed off, there will always be more to do. If you don’t prioritize and ultimately come to peace with the fact that it will always be unfinished, you’ll always feel overwhelmed and unaccomplished.


  1. HOURLY STRETCH

On the days where your brain feels a bit more slow going, set a timer for every 50 minutes and when the timer goes off, allow yourself a moment to get up and stretch.When you work for yourself, it can be SO easy to sit at your desk all day long staring at a screen. These simple, mindful moments of stretching every hour can make a huge impact on your workday and overall productivity. 


  1. WORKSPACE MATTERS

Create a workspace that you love, and that you’re excited to work in every day - it matters! It's important to keep in mind how much your environment really does affect you. Even if you have an office or workspace at home you absolutely love, it can still be great for your mind to switch up the scenery throughout the week. Try going to a coffee shop or co-working space once a week.


  1. REMEMBER TO SCHEDULE ROOM TO BREATHE

One of our biggest values at Ramona & Ruth is leaving space in our lives to live slower and with intention. We believe life is too short and precious to rush through. 💛 As you search for ways to be more productive and stay on top of your to-do’s, just remember to intentionally schedule in room to breathe, space to just be, moments to just live, because at the end of the day, that’s what matters most. 


If you’d like a supportive friend to help you along the way in staying organized while reminding you to stay intentional, we’d recommend our Daily Overview Planner (we do know we may be biased 😉). Our lovely customer Catherine explains why better than we do:


“ After a fairly exhaustive search for the “perfect” daily planner, I came across the beautifully simple and spacious Ramona & Ruth Daily Overview planner. With plenty of room for your schedule, tasks, and sections to keep you focused on what matters most, along with the flexibility to add notes and plan ahead for tomorrow, I feel like I have room to breathe and yet stay focused each day. It feels like a supportive friend nudging me to have my best day, without added pressure for “perfection”. Maybe it’s the soft colors and minimalist design. It’s become a gentle companion to making the most of my days.” 

 

We hope this blog post helps you manage your time effectively while remembering to set aside space for you.


Here’s to working-from-home days that feel organized, peace-filled and energized this fall!