by Tracey Jackson


Remember when all you had to do was cook dinner?


People lately have asked me “How do you do so much at once?”  And oddly I don’t think I do enough. At the end of every day there are about ten things swimming through my brain that I know I did not address and I will have to get to in the morning. Sometimes I have the urge to pop out of bed and get a few more things done, but I have been trying to suppress this urge. And truth is so many people do so much more than I do. I think it just looks like I do a lot.

There is no question when I wrote films I had a much more nine to five job.

Anyone who works with social media will tell you it’s a hundred times more work than almost anything anyone has ever done, it’s not actually that it’s more work, it’s that it never rests.  I was talking to Joni Evans who runs WOWOWOW at Literacy Partners this week and she was saying running a site is the most work she has ever faced and she had her own imprint in publishing.  Sally Quinn said the same thing when we were talking about working online, it is the job that never lets up.

When you work in an office it eventually closes, people do go home and before we were all so hooked up and wired in and able to take everything wherever we go we go we had dinners without intrusions or notices blinking and reminding us that we had something to attend to pronto. We have become a group of non-stop worker bees.

Several friends have said this week “I need to slow down.” “We’re all dancing too fast.”  “I need to stop and just be.”

Yesterday, I actually took the day off all responsibilities and went fishing. Well, I actually didn’t go fishing, but I only did things I wanted to do and spent as little time at the computer as possible.

But that being said, Friday’s Tips got moved to Saturday.

I do have some tips for the people who ask about budgeting time and getting it all in and how does one do many things and live a life at the same time.

The first thing I will say is we are all juggling a lot and whenever you juggle anything eventually you will drop a ball, hopefully it isn’t heavy and won’t fall on your foot,  but when you do, pick it up, take a deep breath and toss it back up in the air. We are all only human.

1)   I am a list maker. I cannot live without lists. My family teases me. I write them in notebooks, on scraps of paper,anywhere I can.  But one of the best things I have found is something I was turned onto by super- do -it -all- girl extraordinaire Debbie Stier who launched her new site The Perfect Score Project this week.   Deb turned me on to TEUX DEUX.  Of all the list sites or APPS I have encountered this the best by far  It’s free, it’s sleek, and it’s simple. It works on all iPhones and iPods and computers.  Deb told me how to upload it so it’s the first thing that pops up when I log onto my browser.  It has a space for each day and the things you don’t do on Monday get automatically moved onto Tuesday. Check it out. It’s the best reminder tool I use.

2)   I try and answer every email or request as soon as it comes in.  I don’t always do it, but I try. And if I can’t get to it that second, I use Gmail’s priority mail system and I star it. I trash or file everything as it comes in accordingly so my inbox is never stuffed.  My goal is everything is answered by day’s end.  But by getting to things the second I get them I find  I never get a huge backup.

3)   MIT – LIST – I read this somewhere, but each day when you are making your TO DO LIST have the MIT section.  I think it was Leo Babutto of Zen Habits who said this.  Put those things down and do them first. Don’t get side-tracked, it’s so easy while working on the computer to wander off topic.  Don’t do anything until you have completed your MIT List, and then you have a NSI list ~ NOT SO IMPORTANT and then ICW – IT CAN WAIT. Break them down so you don’t do the stuff that isn’t pressing when you should be working on the stuff that is. For example  today I had to do a blog for another site. It was the first thing I did this morning and I made sure it was done by the time I went off to lunch. I had a much better time at lunch because I knew my big job of the day was done. I could spend time with my friend Bobby Levithan and not feel like I should be home working or I had to cut it short.

4)   On the topic of deadlines, a great secret for productivity is make your deadlines a day earlier than they are do. I learned this when I was writing films for studios. I always turned things in a few days early.   It was great as it impressed people and if by chance something comes up and you need an extra day you have it and you are never behind the 8 ball. So, even on self- imposed deadlines, I make them a day early. And when you are working for yourself which many of us are, set deadlines as if they were set for you. Write them down and meet them.  Be as tough a boss on yourself as you would be on someone else or someone would be on you. Nothing feels better than knowing you have completed a project before it’s done. The truth is the thing I did today is not due until Monday, I could have done it over the weekend, but I wanted it off the list so I could enjoy more down time on the weekend and I would not feel the pressure of it’s due and I haven’t done it yet.  I made it MIT and  the goal was  GIFYD. GET IT OFF YOUR DESK. The more you get done on time the more you get done period.

5)   Only let paper touch your hands twice. I read this somewhere and I try and follow it. It applies to mail and bills, When you open your bills depending on how and when you pay them, open them and either file them for when you will pay it, or pay it on the spot and if you don’t want to mail it right then, file it under mail in however many weeks you will. The point is to not have paper floating all around, and either losing it or not getting to it and bills piling up around you. I have one of those cheapy accordion files that holds checks or envelopes and I divide them up that way. So the paper only goes through your hands twice when you open it and when you deal with it.

6)   Buy in bulk ~ If you live in the country and not NYC where we have no room to store things and we don’t have COSTCO or Sam’s Club or anything near by it’s a bit harder. But if you do have room, buy 30 rolls of paper towels, have multiples of staples at all times, is saves money too. When you buy cold medicine or toothpaste, buy two. Try and never be in the position where you are at home and it’s midnight and you have no scotch tape or your Sudafed is either gone or ten years old. Having what you need on hand and knowing where it is is a giant time saver.

7)   Try and get certain things you know you always need from one vendor online who know and set it up so it’s shipped to you at the same time each month. I have a standing order with PetDirect and they ship the same three items to me on the first of every month.   I also get all our supplements from Matt Mosby at goaskmatt.com. All I have to do is email Matt and he knows everything we use and it’s here in 48 hours or you can have him just send it on a schedule I do the same thing with Shaklee for household cleaning products. I cannot tell you how much time and ultimately money this saves. I don’t buy things I don’t need but am lured into and I don’t waste time going to stores to buy things that  I always use.

8)   I was reluctant to do it, but paying your bills online is a big time saver. I don’t do many, but my guess is we will all do a lot more in the future. It does save time and money on stamps and the rain forests. It’s really good all around.

9)   Standing appointments.  Make them and keep them if you can. When you leave the beauty shop and you know you will need a trim in three months, make the appt then. Even if you cancel it, chances are you won’t you have it. It’s amazing how much time is saved by not having to call and make appointments for things.  The gym, nails, hair, doctors, teeth cleaning. I try and book as I leave or have standing appointments for almost everything I do on a consistent basis. If it’s in the book you tend to book around it.

10)    Have a few gifts on hand at all times. I always have a few things in the closet I can take if we are going somewhere to dinner, and at the beginning of the year I buy at least three boy birthday gifts and four girl ones so if Lucy has a  birthday party to go to we are not scrambling for gifts at the last minute. I also try and have a few baby gifts on hand at all times. OneKingsLane is a great site, with amazing prices and I find I can pick up scented candles, and nice house items and even baby gifts for half of what they are in the stores.  You never want to feel like you’re scrambling or have to run out at the last minute. Be prepared. The more that is already done, the more time you have to get stuff done.

11)    Finally breathe. Lori Deshene of Tiny Buddha told me this, she said take three deep breaths before you do anything, you will do it better and with more purpose and enjoy it more.

P.S. Every now and then don’t do anything, just be and restore your energy, nobody can do everything all the time.




Screenwriter/Director/and Author Tracey Jackson's new book:

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HOT PLACE-Why Fifty Is Not The New Thirty

is available now:http://tinyurl.com/42swzgu

Join me at: www.traceyjacksononline.com

Twitter: @TraceyJackson4

Facebook: Facebook.com/TraceyDJackson





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