Several people have called me this week for advice on their workplace issues. I offer a coaching program through which I share all my secrets for Working Smarter, Not Harder, if you’d like some personalized help with your music therapy session planning, business organization, or help with assessments and treatment plans. Just send me an email if you’d like more information.
What keeps me sane each day is my routines. My favorite resource is Flylady.net. That site offers free information about how to get organized while being kind to yourself. It’s a pretty overwhelming website, with lots of information, but if you actually follow the program as it’s laid out (developing one habit at a time and decluttering each day and making it fun and being nice to yourself) then it really works! When it doesn’t seem to work is when you think you’re better than the system and you take shortcuts or try to do everything at once without developing the habits and creating routines.
Here is my work routine that helps me make progress on things, even without a lot of time to work on projects:
First, I have a morning routine:
1. Wake up, get dressed, read email/social media/blogs, and drink coffee at 7 am
2. At 7:30, I drink my second cup of coffee, check my calendar and to-do list, and spend 30 minutes on my computer–responding to email, creating visuals or other materials for clients, creating example documents for students or session plans, sending invoices, or writing blog posts or book chapters. Since I have a short amount of time, I prioritize my list of things to do, so that I work on the Most Important Thing each day. I also stay really focused so that I don’t get distracted by things that aren’t important and actually accomplish something.
3. At 8:00, I start a load of laundry, blend the breakfast smoothie that starts my day, and workout with my family before running off to whatever appointments that day holds. My husband and I tag team child care, but mostly that hour and a half each morning is my work time and my husband’s child-care time. Then after I shower and get dressed for the day, my husband gets an hour or two of work time and I spend time with my kid.
Then, in the afternoon, my kid usually goes down for a nap and I leave for work. I have an afternoon routine, too, that takes about 30 minutes:
1. Eat lunch and prepare snacks for the day.
2. Reboot the laundry and check the calendar to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
3. Load up car with instruments, equipment, snacks, water, etc. needed for appointments.
When I come home, I have a routine, too, that takes about 15 minutes:
1. Unload my car and put things away.
2. Check calendar for tomorrow and prepare equipment and water bottles.
3. Make a list of things to do tomorrow and fold and put away the laundry.
So this is how I stay on top of work and manage some things around the house, too. What are your best tips for staying productive? What routines work for you?