If It’s Friday, It Must Be Jyll-Day

Fountain pen taking notes on Jyll-Day

If it’s Friday, it must be Jyll-Day! Being an entrepreneur with 3 active business propositions (Veracity Technologies, ShockAlarm, and Barnwood Pens) and many percolating ideas, it’s tough to carve out time for me. So, mid-May I started an experiment. I blocked out my Friday’s just for me and it’s turned out great! An added benefit is that my husband currently has a 4-day work week and he’s off on Friday too!

What’s Jyll-Day Like?

We’re usually up around 7:30 AM or so and one of us will get the coffee going. Today, we brewed our special blend from Top Pot! Most other days we brew Joe Knows Coffee – Tall, Dark, and Handsome.

While the coffee is brewing, I attend to my morning reading:

  • Daily Devotional and Bible study via Bible Gateway
  • Read my Morning Brew (FYI, if you subscribe through this link I may get cool stuff)
  • Scan the top stories at Medium
  • Pop through the social media sites of my companies to see if there is anything I need to address

After breakfast, I’ll handle any emails that need to be dealt with and then close email down for the day. (Ok, maybe I’ll peek a few times!) I have a standing project meeting on Friday afternoons, but that runs so smoothly we’re on and updated in 15 minutes!

Creativity Expansion

I will work on a couple of online classes in either writing, painting, or drawing. I love being able to pause the video, try out the technique, and then continue on with the rest of the class. Colored pencils currently hold my attention and I love experimenting with different blending techniques and mediums.

Technical Expansion

Technology is changing by the minute, or at least it is to me. I will take a technology-related class and learn something new on a monthly basis. I like using edX, udemy, and SkillShare (affiliate link). I’m intrigued by single-page web applications, so that’s what I’m currently learning more about.

You Need A Personal Day

After keeping Fridays for Jyll-Days for the past 4 weeks, I am more relaxed and feel ready to conquer next week’s Monday-Thursday challenges.

I’ve been exploring this concept on and off for the past few years. As you can see in “Make Time for Writing,” it’s been a challenge for me.

I encourage you to take more time for yourself. You’ll be less-stressed, more energetic, and have a more positive outlook on life!

Time Management Tactics

Time management using Open calendar with pen and coffee

How many time management courses have you attended? How many books on this topic have you read?  What tactics or strategies do you employ to manage your time?

I still have the first time management book I read, “If You Haven’t Got the Time to Do It Right, When Will You Find the Time to Do It Over,” written by Jeffrey Mayer back in 1991. It was a bundle offer when I ordered from Day-Timer that year. You can read about my adventures with planning systems in this post.

Time Tracking is not Time Management

I can recall at least two different employer-mandated time tracking programs in my career. At one job, we had an empty pre-printed notebook that we had to fill out each day and leave on our desk for management review. The other employer had a distributed Microsoft Access application for similar purposes. Neither helped one to manage time, but it gave management a warm fuzzy.

Over the years I have found that categorizing how I spend my time is more valuable them tracking the time. I organize my time into Goals, Requests, Urgent Demands, Ideation, and Household Duties. Within each category, I keep a running list of things I need to do. Each evening I decide what I need to accomplish the next day. Throughout the day, I will capture the time spent in each category – not task by task – and cross completed items off my list. At the conclusion of the day, I review my accomplishments and plan for the next day.

Popular Time Management Systems

There are many time management systems in existence. I’m going to try and list a few of them and make a note of ones that I have tried. As of this moment, I’m not following any particular published methodology; instead, I am doing what works for me.

The one thing that I remember from the Jeffrey Mayer system was TRAF: Trash, Refer, Act, or File. That process has stuck with me throughout the years. Every piece of paper, or every email, I try to categorize it as (a) something I can Trash, (b) something I can refer to someone else to act upon, (c) act upon the item right away, or (d) file it.

I finally got around to read the “Getting Things Done” book in 2007. The initial method is to empty your brain of everything and from that list, decide what to do each day. That worked for the first few days, but the list grew to an overwhelming size.

The Franklin Covey system has its basis in Stephen Covey’s book “The Seven Habits of Effective People.” It focuses on the steps you need to accomplish your goals. You do need to focus a considerable amount of time on your mission and plans for achievement.

My Time Management System

I use a hybrid of the aforementioned methodologies in my DIY Planner. For the past couple of years, I’ve been purchasing Momentum Planners to print out from Charlie Gilkey.  Charlie is a retired Army Officer and I heard about him from another veteran friend of mine. I encourage you to follow him on LinkedIn and listen to his podcasts.

At the beginning of each month, I complete the Monthly Planner page. Then, each week I transfer items to the Weekly Planner. Finally, I run my day based on each Daily Planner page. You already know that I prefer paper, so this process shouldn’t be a surprise!

Summing It All Up

Time tracking is not time management. No matter how hard we try to bend the laws of physics, there are only 24 hours in each day. It seems that categorizing my time into big blocks works better for me. I try to allow for fire-fighting time: this could come as an unexpected call or an emergency support task that needs my attention. If you know me, you know that I don’t like to be boxed into a particular methodology, so I prefer a DIY system.

In my next article, I plan to discuss all of the time management apps I’ve tried. Please, take a moment to sign up for my newsletter (at the bottom of this page), and I promise you that you won’t be disappointed!

Going Back to Paper

Going Back to Paper

I have an iPhone and an iPad and have been using that combination for the past three years. During that time, I’ve tested many digital planner solutions. It’s not that they don’t work per se. Instead, I like the connection by brain makes by putting pen to paper. That’s why I am going back to paper for my personal and business planning.

Digital Journey Background

I bought my first DayTimer (mail order, mind you!) in 1988. I was hooked. The paper was lovely and stood up to heavy use. I stuck with DayTimer until 1999. At that time my current employer was espousing Franklin Covey and offered substantial discounts. Plus, they had a store in the mall! Both companies had their methodology for goal setting and planning. I quickly learned how valuable it was to document my goals and then go back and measure my progress.

In 2001, I got bit by the digital bug. I bought a Handspring Visor Pro with a whopping 16 Megabytes of memory! Look at me – I had a binder that held my PDA and my paper planner pages! Once upgraded to the Treo, which was my first SmartPhone, I quickly ditched the paper planner.

I migrated to a Windows Mobile device, then an Android device, and got my first iPhone in 2012. In that time span, I went through many programs to find the best solution to plan, track my goals, etc. Nothing worked for me the way I envisioned.

My Steps for Going Back to Paper

Fast forward to late 2016, I made the decision to go back to paper. I follow the blog of Charlie Gilkey “Productive Flourishing” and in January 2017 I purchased Charlie’s Momentum Planner. It’s a set of PDF files that you can fill out on your computer and print. I was hooked! To keep it all together, I use the Arc customizable notebooks from Staples. I splurged on buying the punch so I could easily insert my printed planner pages.

Wrapping It Up

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer paper or a digital solution for planning? Let me know in the comments and be sure to sign up for my email list and follow me on social media for other great tips and solutions!

Image credit: Marten Bjork