Managing Multiple Schedules and a Busy Life

a busy new york city street scene with a women crossing the stress with a big bag

We live in a busy world.

Hustle culture—and all the pros and cons that come with it—is still alive and well. Especially with the rise in a gig economy, individuals everywhere may be picking up work on the side. Entrepreneurs are starting new businesses. Working parents are juggling the demands of a busy work and a busy home life. 

If you’re working multiple jobs or managing multiple realms in your life, it’s a slippery slope to disorganization and chaos. 

Luckily, we’ve compiled ways to help keep your life—and your work—on track. Here’s how to get started. 

Get your systems in order 

It’s hard to get organized if you don’t have the right systems in place. 

First, do an audit of what you use to keep your work—and your life—on track currently. What tools do you regularly use? What habits have you already established? What resources do you leverage to keep organized? 

After you’ve audited your organization habits, it’s time to identify the areas of opportunity. 

For example, let’s say you’re a freelancer while working a full-time job in a corporate setting. You might have two different laptops, two different Google or Outlook calendars. Two different emails, two different scopes of work and lists of projects to complete. 

At first glance, it might feel overwhelming. But here’s where there’s an opportunity. Perhaps you’re a fan of writing out to-do lists at the top of every day. Use a task list pad or running list pad to identify your daily tasks that incorporate everything you need to do, not just your freelance work or your professional work.  

You can also sync calendars electronically to toggle in between the two. Some people also like writing out meetings, priorities, and must-do tasks on a dashboard desktop pad to make sure all systems are consolidated into one place. 

The key to getting your systems in order? Streamline where possible. Find the right tools and resources that work for you—and that reduce the number of places where you need to go to get your work done. 

Nail down your priorities 

Another big piece of managing multiple workstreams, jobs, or tasks is getting good at prioritizing

There are a few ways you can prioritize. For example, you can organize your work by deadline. What’s the most important thing to get done today? What needs to be done by the end of the week? What project do you have a month (or two) to complete? 

But often, a deadline alone isn’t a good litmus test for priority level. You also need to take into account the impact of the work. 

Let’s say you’re a working parent juggling two kids’ schedules on top of your work schedule. One child might have a school project that requires your help and assistance—they need to interview a parent and write an essay about what they’ve learned. While the project might not be due until the end of the month, you know this is an important project to your child. 

As a working parent, you might also be juggling your daily administrative tasks for work, like cleaning out your inbox and organizing files. You typically take one hour at the end of the work day to dedicate to administrative duties. While you’re helping out your child with this project, could you reduce your administrative time allotment to 30 minutes and dedicate that extra 30 minutes to helping them with their homework? 

You may need to redistribute and reallocate your time across schedules, but because this school project takes priority in your child’s life, you know you can deprioritize other things that you’re confident you can get done at a later time. 

Consider writing out your priorities on a priority pad or game plan desk pad to help you better assess what’s on your plate. 

Budget your time appropriately 

The most valuable asset we all share: time. 

While we may wish there were more hours in the day, frankly, we have to make the best with what we’ve got. So, when it comes to managing multiple jobs or workstreams or priorities, budgeting your time is critical to your success. 

One way to budget your time well is to use a calendar system. Whether it’s a work week deskpad or a monthly calendar pad, think of ways you can organize your time like you would your tasks. 

For example, at the start of every morning, try listing out what your tasks are for the day. Then, estimate how long each task will take you. If you’ve found yourself with more tasks than the day allows, it’s time to rearrange and reprioritize. 

Identify what is (and what isn’t) working for you 

Like any system, it only works if it’s working well for you. 

You might find that you set up a system of working where you’re consistently falling behind on tasks. Try to carve some time for reflection (and use this reflection pad) to figure out what isn’t working. 

For example, are you finding that you’re scrolling social media or the news when you’ve budgeted your time to reading in the morning? Do you consistently forget about tasks because you’re not writing them down? Or do you need help sticking to a daily routine—and could use some accountability to make sure you’re creating lasting habits

Make sure you’re identifying the root cause of the problem and keeping yourself honest. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to course correct and find the right solution that can work for you. 

Written by Madeline Miles

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