Drowning in lists. Head spinning with tasks for your business, for your kids, for your home. You’re trying to figure out how to balance 40 hours at work, getting some good sleep while still spending enough time with your family AND keeping up with all the adult tasks of maintaining a home & social life. You have overscheduled yourself once again.
There is never enough time as a working parent
Yep, I hear ya, those 40 hours a week that you know you’re working, never feel like enough fucking time.
You can plan it out.
You can put it on your schedule.
You can fill up your asana, your Trello, everything.
You can map it all out.
But everything takes longer than you anticipated. Especially if you have a little one at home, or you have meetings that you have to attend throughout the week. Or you’re offering clients email updates, or Voxer or Marco Polo interaction. You can only plan so much. And at the end of the day, you still have to cook, clean laundry, take care of the kids, and wash the dog. Like there’s just a never ending list of shit that has to be done.
So why is it that those 40 hours never seem like enough?
We all have a tendency to take on more than we can because we keep thinking that things are simpler than they really are. We overschedule ourselves easily. My team knows this firsthand. And I talk about this all the damn time. I’m always the culprit that says, Well, I’m just gonna build a website.
And that’s my task in Asana, build a website.
Well, I don’t know if you did your own website, or if you hired a developer, but there’s always more than just “build a website”. There’s figure out site structure. There’s developing copy and the client user interface and the user experience. Then, there’s developing the page funnel so that you know, like how people are going to interact with the site. Finally, there’s actually making the site and adding the graphics and creating graphics, and then downsizing photos. And then making sure all the buttons work, and all the things. Each page has hundreds of little tasks that go along with it. And so the moral of this extra long list of things that I do to make a website is that everything you do is going to take longer than you think.
So how do you combat overscheduling yourself?
The team and I use Asana. The more we lean into using Asana, the better we get at estimating our time. I always feel like I’m behind because I’m still under estimating how much work is to be done. But the sub task of a sub task of a sub test situation, super helpful for my brain. It makes it so that I can see, “yes, we’re building a website, oh, we have these pages, what are we doing on each of these pages? What needs to be done beforehand.” And it lets me assign each of the different components to different parts of the team. By having a good idea of what is going on within a project, we can make sure that no one on the team is ever overscheduled in a week.
Example of how we break down social media management
This is how we do social media management to for our business management clients. We break down the month into different steps. And different people in their zones of genius get to do the different components that work best. This way our clients can see what we’re working on and how we’re working on it. We can also move dates so that people stay in the loop. But at the end of the day, that all is just moving tasks and not a measurement of anything.
We’ve also incorporated Toggl to help us know how much time things are taking us.
What I tend to do with my toggle is each of my clients exists and toggle each of the different projects. So like for business management, each client gets all their product, like even for their business management clients. If there’s an Asana board for it, it gets a project in toggle. And then when I start working on something, I type in the specific tasks that I’m working on, that way I can track what is getting done, and the client can see in their hours report what we were working on, because if you don’t describe what you’re working on, I personally feel like the client just thinks oh, they just turned on the toggle and didn’t actually do anything. So
Setting all this shit up sounds overwhelming. . .
I know it can sound like a lot. Setting up the entire breakdown off all of your tasks, putting it all into Asana, possibly having to set up Asana and Toggl accounts, and let’s not forget the actual tracking to learn exactly how long it takes you to do all the things.
But I promise you, the overwhelm of now will save you so much frustration in the long term when you know how to better manage your time and better understand the amount of time that tasks take you. Stop the overscheduling, and actually finish what is on your list in a day. This also helps you learn if it is already time for you to outsource instead of continuing to do it all on your own.
You may realize you are trying to shove 80 hours of work into 40 hours of time. Maybe your neurodivergent brain doesn’t let you just sit and do the giant task that you keep trying to make yourself do in one sitting, so you learn that you can better work it if you break down the project into steps.
But once you get a handle on all the things you are trying to do, you can figure out how to best schedule yourself or where you really need help. You can get a better handle on your schedule, and your team’s schedules by avoiding overscheduling anyone.