productivity 101 the freelancer janaePeople often tell me I’m a busy woman.  But we’re all busy, right?  Everyone has to contend with finding time outside of their jobs, families, health, social obligations, and a ton of other responsibilities.  So when I mentioned to a new acquaintance that I am in the midst of writing two books (“How to Create a Revolution” and “The Expanded Edition:  How to Start Your Business with $100”), working on the Our Revolution Project, and composing an opera for the 140 Characters Conference, they ask me how I could possibly do all that. 

What can I say? I am all about effective productivity. There are a ton of things that I do and want to do, but still need and want my free time. Here is a list of tools and resources that I use to be productive:

Time Management Tools:

Are are some of my favorite tools that you can use to help save time.

1.       Evernote – Whether you are working on a big project or just need a place to organize your upcoming blog posts, Evernote is what I would recommend. The platform (and its Iphone app) are incredibly easy to use and allows you to categorize folders, take photos, and share with others. It helps keep you organized and brings all the parts together.  Very easy to use and saves me a lot of time.

2.       Mind Mapping – Mind mapping is a great way to take on many tasks by discovering how they relate to other tasks you want to do.  Create a diagram with all your projects, tasks, and ideas, and come up with related descriptions of them.  Expand on those descriptions and you will see how any two projects can overlap.  Try FreeMind – a free mind-mapping website.

3.       Basecamp Project Management – I use Basecamp to collaborate, assign tasks, get feedback, and keep tabs on every aspect of a project.  It’s convenient, easy to use, and saves a lot of time corresponding with people.

Time Management Essentials:

We must constantly be vigilant observers of how we spend our time.  Consider the following time management tips.

1.       Eliminate Negative Relationships – Some people add value to our lives, others consume it.  If the people around you are negative, they can occupy your mind and take away your mental focus.  It’s rough but sometimes you have to cut those people loose, or at least minimize the time you spend with them.

2.       Focus on the Big Picture – Time slows for no one.  If you worry too much about the day-to-day minutiae of your goals, you may end up wasting a lot of time in the long run.  Start with the big picture and determine how you can quickly get there.  Make the big picture your end goal, and keep that, not that daily stuff, on the forefront of your mind.

3.       Redefine “Time Wasting” – Realize that time is only wasted if it is spent doing something you didn’t want to do.  Reading, spending time with friends and family, and even watching television should not be considered a waste of time if you chose to do these things.  It’s the activities we do to procrastinate, those we would never choose to do, that are the real time-wasters.

Time Management Resources:

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am the queen of delegation.  What can I say? I’m just not a fan of doing things that I hate to do or feel that I can pay someone else to do.   Here are some things to take into consideration when delegating to your allocated resources:

1.       Make a List – Determine what needs to be done and how long it should take.  You might want to attach a dollar amount to each task so you have an idea of its value to you.

2.       Make a Team – Do you have a person on your team that you can delegate each of these tasks to?  If not, here are some tips to finding great members of your team.

3.       Elance – A reputable website where you can find freelancers in every field.  Freelancers will compete for your project with bids so you can get the best talent for your price.

4.       Odesk – Another website where you can search over a million users to find great freelancers who can work remotely for you.

Everyone develops their own little strategies for time management.  So when you have a lot on your plate, what tools do you use to stay on task?  Is two books in one year too much, or do you agree that it’s possible to juggle work, life, and outside projects while staying productive?  I’d love to swap tips and share success stories with you below.

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