Such a great question! I’ve tried so many different ways, thinking I had to use some formal method, but now I just use my own system, which I adapt as my mood takes me. When I started my YouTube Channel Google sent me a really cool notebook, with lines in it. Now that has become my bible when it comes to planning, and writing things to do, means everything is in the same place, and any thoughts before bed can go in it and stop me worrying about them.
At the front of the book I write the dates of the individual month along the top, and on the left side, I write a list of things I want to achieve during that month, like upload a YouTube video, exercise, walk the dog. Then each day I colour in the square under that date if I have achieved that task. The idea being that I end up with a page of colour, by the end of the month, and have a sense of achieving things as well as knowing where my time was spent.
On the next page I draw out a more traditional calendar, boxes with the date, and then I write in any important deadlines, and colour each day at the end of the day. I do this for every month.
In the next section of my note book, I write the date/day at the top of the page, and then create a to do list, which includes daily tasks. If I’m paying off a debt or if I want to get a certain number of Patrons or YouTube subscribers or whatever, I keep a tally to help me stay motivated. Some tasks are small, some more complex, in which case I might break them in to smaller tasks. That way I stop doubting myself all the time, or worrying about what ifs. If it is in my list of things I need to do to be successful, then as long as I do it, I’m headed the right direction and will achieve my goals.
Every Saturday I clean up the house, and do things like ironing, which helps my brain reflect on the week, then I sit down and plan out the to do lists for each day that week. Its a bit tedious, but it really helps me to get a sense of a fresh start, of what I want to accomplish in the week ahead, and to reflect on what went well the previous week, or what things to change. That way I feel like I’m always moving forward and it mentally draws a line under the week before.
I try to do the jobs I enjoy the least, first thing each day, then it means I can relax and not feel guilty whilst doing the tasks I enjoy the most, I work better at night and get less distracted anyway, so it works well for me to do the tedious and admin type things first, then creative things in the evening.
I’ve also just started to try and put a small portion of the money I get from my patrons aside each week, so that I can then hire a virtual assistant, or have folks on Fiverr undertake some of the tasks I have to do, but hate doing each week. This has freed up loads of time, and kept my energy levels higher, so I can then focus on the thing I love to do most - create, so I feel like it is a better investment for my patrons too, especially in the long run.
I love having structure, but there also needs to be flexibility too. If I’m tired or not in the mood to do something, I’ll miss it off my list, and do that task the next day or whatever. As long as everything is ticked off at the end of the week, it all works out. I’ve learnt the hard way that there is no point doing a task if I’m just not in the mood, since this comes across, and it always ends up as half a job, but takes twice as long because I have to go back and re do things:)
I’m hoping that by sticking to things this way, I’ll eventually be able to bring enough to support myself, so I can stop working on the other stuff that is just to pay the bills.