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Sticking to Schedule

I’m a fairly deadline driven guy. I work as a creative director 40-60 hours a week, and for the rest of my hours, I split time between being a dad, a husband, an illustrator and a dude. All of which come with their own set of responsibilities and requests for time. Folks ask how I do it.

I don’t.

I’m just living day-by-day and trying not to get too wrapped up in the stress of managing so many things at one time. Women absolutely hate the shedding of responsibility by us men when it comes to internal time management. The problem is, we’re oblivious to the consequences and don’t think of the long-term ramifications of things because they’re not a priority. And it makes things difficult on our wives and significant others. They hate us for it and react in a manner we think is unjust. Really, its the worry mixed with frustration.

I learned the hard way. And I still get schooled on a regular basis. The point is, to be mindful of deadlines and upcoming things. Or at the very least, appear conscious of these things in the presence of our organized halves.

My wife is type-A, very organized, very driven, but a very tightly wound and stressed out individual. She’s always operated under some form of stress – physical or mental, and most of the time it could be avoided by taking on less responsibility. But that’s not how my wife operates, and God bless her, it’s what makes things work in our household. The trains ALWAYS run on time over here. And it’s a good thing. Because without that level of organization, we’d never be able to accomplish half of what we have done in our lives.

I do feel bad – I’m not organized by nature. These things don’t come natural to me, and they take me twice as long to accomplish than my wife – so in her frustration, she’ll go and do it instead in order to save time and do it in the name of efficiency. Thing is, she bears the burden of a lot of “emotional labour,” a term that is becoming more and more popular by women who feel trapped in this endless cycle of constantly having to look after and deal with the day-to-day minutiae that sucks valuable time and energy.

Telling me to pick up after myself.
Unravel items to be laundered.
Emptying the dishwasher.
Putting items away after use.
Turning off lights after exiting a room, etc.

This constant reminder and followup is exhausting – and I get it. And I feel bad my wiring and my training hasn’t successfully stuck. I’m not predisposed to worry about these things – actually, they rate very low on my priority list. Which is why they occur on a regular basis.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those guys who gets home from work, cracks open a beer and waits for dinner to be served to him. I hustle too. I just have my own priority list though – and it differs greatly from my wife’s.But not only do I have my list of dailies to do, there are things my wife should be doing as well that I have to remind her of.

Empty the recycling bin when it’s too full and don’t continue to cram items in it.
Stop leaving items on the stairs for the next person to take with them (safety hazard!)
Put the water jug back in the fridge after refilling it.
Wipe down the tile in the shower.

etc etc.

 

My point is, this emotional labour thing does work both ways – at least in our household. Putting the blame on one individual for not pulling weight, when they’re already doing just as much is idiotic. Communication fixes that – but its hard to do with little ones…!

So how do I manage with so many things on the go at any given time?

I made a schedule – mainly for organizing my social media and releasing my illustration stuff for public viewing. I dedicate blocks of time in a routine, and plan out what I’m going to do in these blocks. I also have created a system where I can easily create a buffer of content.

By having a schedule and a deadline, things can get done and be released without any interruptions. Making it appear that I’m grinding out new things every day (which I am – just backdated).

Perfect example – my posts on Twitter/Instagram and Facebook all feature the same content – because they hit three completely different fanbases. A very LOW percentage of these people are followers on all three, so content saturation is minimal, but reach is high – especially now in this all important growth phase.

So, if you’re struggling with time management and you just can’t seem to crack out content like you want to, start a release schedule. Once a week, make it a plan to dedicate time to working on stuff and another day for releasing it. Don’t try to do everything in one day – it’s too much. Resist the temptation to release finished work as soon as its done. Give yourself time to organize and schedule your releases. If you have extra time, then create a bulk of content and build up a backlog of content for days where you can’t release.

Condition your audience to expect content on x-y-z days. And once you’ve reached a comfort zone where you can afford more time, then do more releases. But remember, more content = more consumption. Your audience will expect it once you give it to them frequently, so don’t over-burden yourself. You’ll flame out fast that way.

Take it from me – I blogged, then I made comics, and then I tried making YouTube/social media content. Don’t go ham – learn patience and work hard. The results will come if you do.