So much to do, so little time

tumblr_lyw3ggpYDn1qa6t0go1_1280There is just so much to do. We have 12-14 hours in a day that we can utilize and get things done. It doesn’t seem like a lot does it? I mean if you really think about it, how do people really get things done in a day? Here are my thoughts on how my day usually goes:

  • 5AM (sometimes earlier like 4AM depending on meetings) – wake up and get myself centered. It usually takes me a good 15-20 minutes to really wake up and get going
  • I usually grab something to eat. It’s usually quick, maybe some waffles, cereal or eggs (my dad gave me a nice egg steamer machine that makes hard boiled eggs quickly and without having to use a pot to boil water)
  • I have meetings all morning since I still work on EST so that takes me usually to 10-11 AM. I try to get as much as I can accomplished during that time
  • Afternoons are a bit slower work wise but I usually end my day around 1-2PM
  • Now it’s time to tackle the eBay business that we have. Krista can sometimes crank out the invoices for the orders of the day but most of the time it’s a joint effort or I have to pack the boxes in advance because she sometimes does not wake up until the afternoon
  • So until 5:30 PM I have to fill usually 15-20 orders a day and of varying degrees. What I mean by that is we have a variety of items that range from small boxes, to even smaller power discs to big phones that we sell.
  • Oh I guess I forgot to put that sometime in here I have a lunch. I don’t really have a time blocked off for it, I usually just fit it in
  • After the eBay stuff is done, that’s already 12+ hours in the day that has passed. Krista and I usually have dinner with the family or go out and hunt for some items to sell. If we’re out hunting items, it can take some time and we don’t come back until maybe 8 or 9 PM.
  • Hmm it’s already 9PM… KristaRose at this point is usually telling me that I have to go to bed. Most of the time I try to honor that request, sometimes it doesn’t end up happening. The time after eBay business tasks is usually reserved for cleaning up the house, unpacking boxes (yes we still haven’t done that and I’ve done a terrible job of that), watering the plants, playing videogames (specifically Overwatch lately), connecting with friends and really that’s it.

So as you can see, in my typical day, I just don’t have a lot of time for extra things. I try to squeeze them where I can but I have to do a lot better. Part of the reason why we have an eBay business is because we had so much medical debt when we were living in South Bend that we needed some extra income. We’ve made some investments in items and it has worked out pretty well. The bad part is that it takes a lot of time and many days it is tough for KristaRose to work on it a lot.

It’s actually been very tough ever since KristaRose had been diagnosed with autoimmune illnesses. These illnesses will be with her for the rest of her life. With the current medications and methodologies, there’s just no end in sight and no easy fix. It has been tough because there is not only medical debt but I have to be able to keep her spirits up each and every day. This is a very difficult thing to accomplish and I can probably do multiple blog posts outlining this. I’ll try to summarize it in one paragraph for this post though.

The more she is not able to do things in life, the worse her outlook on life becomes. Think about it, if you’re physically and mentally not able to do things in life that you once did with ease, it would start to take a toll. I do my best to help her out as much as I can but there is only so much I can influence myself. That’s why the eBay business is so important to us. Sure I have to devote a lot of time towards it but it’s an activity that we can do together and it’s something that we both believe in and are doing well with. Our humble little store has really helped with the bills and we’ve been able to still donate 15% of our profits to charities. We’ve focused a lot on Donors Choose which is a site that helps out teachers in areas with supplies for their kids whether it’s for the classroom or for a specific project. Anything that I can do together with KristaRose is like a win for the day to me. It can be a business thing. It can be watching a movie together. It can be playing a videogame together. Anything really helps her out and helps take away the pain for a bit.

So really, it’s difficult to find time to accomplish things. Unless I write them out and try to tackle at least a few on the list each day, I tend to get bogged down and partially distracted at times. Now I’ve tried to do lists multiple times in the past and sometimes it has worked out ok and then it kind of trails off. You go in so motivated to cross things off your list and then it ends up not happening. I think I’ve figured out a method for myself.

  • Make a list between personal tasks and work tasks
  • List down everything you need to do. Even if you’ve accomplished something for the day, put it on the list. I know what you’re thinking.. why in the world would you do that? At least for my mentality, it’s always nice to see that some things are crossed off the list. It makes me think that hey I’ve done something for the day and I can do even more!
  • Once you’ve written down everything, cross off things that you’ve done.
  • Look at the tasks once again and if something is too high level or too big of a task to tackle, break it down into pieces
  • Then try to prioritize tasks. I just use a simple High, Medium, Low.
  • Set a threshold of what you think you can accomplish. Now if you can do 100% of the items, more power to you. However, in my case, I usually think I can tackle most of the high items and some of the medium items so I’ll mark the ones I think I can do
  • This all should be done at the beginning of the day even before you look at emails. However, it shouldn’t be the last time you look at it because you should be constantly crossing things off the list during the day.
  • Be sure to look at it at least a couple times a day to re-evaluate the list. Sometimes it’s too late in the day to accomplish some of the High priority items so you can just target a few of the Low to finish off.
  • Give yourself at least 30 minutes or an hour of free time before you sleep where you’re ┬ánot thinking about the list. You can relook at it in the morning and you should transfer over things you didn’t do the previous day onto the next day’s list

With this strategy, I’ve found that I’m able to get more things accomplished than previously before. There are always chunks of time during the day that you can do something really quickly. This method has helped me take back some of my time and get things accomplished but I do need to get better.

So let me know if this is helpful and tell me if you have any other methods that I could try too! I look forward to taking more time to write on the blog and make it a regular thing. It has helped so much in the past to organize my thoughts and I think I need to make an effort to do this regularly again.

–┬áThe Lermz

The Lermz

Michael Lerma graduated the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with an Information Technology Management degree. He is currently a senior Project Manager with the Nielsen Company.

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