Episode 39: How to plan your time and to do list with no stress

by | Jul 27, 2022


Have you ever had the thought, how do they do it all? I know I have. And I can tell you it’s not because they have a time machine to help them go back every day and add a few extra hours in. Welcome to the Samantha Leith show with me, Samantha leaf. This month, we’re going to look at the tips, tricks, and tools they use to make magic happen with their time. Let’s go.

No, this is the last episode of the month, I could cry. Honestly, but my makeup would run. I get so emotional about being able to make the most of our time. And I’m again, not talking about making space to become a workaholic. It’s about making space, full stop for you to do with what you want, what you want, not what someone else wants. To stop feeling like you’re drowning, to stop feeling so overwhelmed that you’re at a complete standstill, to stop feeling guilty about time, to stop hoping that someone will come up and give you that sash declaring you’re superwoman for all that you do. It’s not going to happen, trust me. Forget the super cape desires and live your life. You have nothing to prove to anyone, my friends. There’s not a list being drafted of everything you’ve ever done that’ll be read off to you when you get to the pearly gates. Crazy importance I had on all of that when I don’t actually believe in the pearly gates.

When we live a life on this wheel of doing more, yes, we don’t have time to literally stop and smell the roses. But more importantly, we’re probably not able to discover what we’re really meant for or able to fill our hearts with what’s important to us. You might have heard this saying, nobody gets to their deathbed and wishes they worked more. It’s true. In the top five regrets of the dying by Bronnie Ware, great book by the way, she lists these five.

Number one, I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. Two, I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Three, I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Four, I wish I’d stayed in touch with my friends. And five, I wish that I’d let myself be happier.

You got to fix it. It’s totally up to you. And it is never too late. Hopefully now you’ve worked out some things that you can ditch it, delegate it and leverage. If you haven’t, take some time to go back, watch the last three episodes and just do the work, all right.

Now that you have some space, what happens with that space? Well, nine times out of 10, we just fill it. Your brain is coming up with a million things that you could be doing with all that glorious time. It’s a jumble up there because your brain is not a filing cabinet. So we’ve got to get all of that out. That’s where the brain dump comes in. I keep colored paper handy for this very purpose. Different colors for different buckets of my life, personal, family, house, clients, business. Maybe I add a different one sometimes. Some days when I’m feeling really overwhelmed and everything’s being thrown at me, I’ll lay those pages out on the table and madly jot things down. Then I’ll leave the papers there for about 24 hours. I grimace about the mess on the table, but it’s worth it. And you go back and note something as it pops into my mind. Once it’s out of your brain, more needs to happen. These things won’t miraculously get done by themselves, believe me, I’ve been stuck in that dream before.

I work with a project management system called Trello, but there are many, many, many, many, many ways to do this. Remember the milk is an oldie, but a really goodie and a paper diary, journal, whatever works for you. Take all that brain dump and work out where it needs to go, what needs to happen or who needs to do it, add it all to Trello or whatever method you prefer, then prioritize them. As you do this, you may realize that it doesn’t actually need to happen, so get that in the ditch it pile and off it goes. Where you can, delegate to someone on your team, family, anyone. Personal stuff, work stuff, whatever, we all know how much time we can lose doing something. Maybe your cleaner could do an extra hour and do all that pantry labeling you want done, but you don’t seem to find the time for. Maybe someone in your family could step up and do something. And then off it goes from your list and onto their list.

Now how the… Do you do all the stuff you’ve left yourself with when you already have so much? Oh, don’t panic. Breathe. You got this. Maybe use a paper diary, maybe an online one, the important thing is that you do. Well, for me anyway. My neuro divergent brain needs the structure, for others it actually makes them feel quite ill, but for the purposes of this, it is my show after all, I’m going to share my way. My calendar is split into buckets, personal, life admin, business admin, clients, content, education, Elity, finance, marketing, projects, social media, speaking, singing, friends, family, social. That’s a lot of buckets. And yes, it’s all color coded. And because I’m me, I did add the hex codes for my branding into my Google calendar. I know I sound like a complete lunatic, but it means I like to look at it. Okay?

If you are doing this for the first time, you must mark out personal time first. It’s so important. I’ll say it again, so important. For me, that’s my morning Ms, meditation, masturbation, Macchiato, motivation and movement, exercise, not the other kind. Then it’s the magical afternoons and evenings that I have with Elity, where we chat about life and school and so much more. Then my heading to snooze land routine, anything social I have on, and chill and do nothing time. And now yet we get to start scheduling holidays again. That’s so exciting. Then it’s any regular appointments, these brows do not do themselves, people. Then I fill in client appointments and anything else already scheduled. And we have like these days, for example, planned months in advance. Where you can feed in other calendars, do.

I know all my daughter’s school tasks because they go straight into my calendar from her school. “Honey, how’s your blah, blah going?” Might be a bit freaky, but it does work. Lastly, I add time slots for other categories. For you this may be every Thursday you need to write a project update for all your clients. So put that in. My slots are 45 minutes long and I do 15 minute slots for social media. It’s what works for me. You may like bigger chunks or work with something like the Pomodoro technique. You do you. Again, this stuff is not magic, just because you’ve got a time slot for life admin doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen. So what do you actually need to do in that time that you’ve just allotted?

That’s where the beginning hours of your week are so very important. For some of you it may be something you want to do daily or on a Sunday. Me, I’m a Monday morning girl. Go back to that big list and take something that needs to get done and add it into a time slot created for that category. Say you have a study category. What are you going to really do in that time? Randomly read a book? No, you will know that you’re going to complete the exercises from this week’s episode. See what I did there? Some people like having a whole day for a theme, like finance. I tried that, didn’t work for me, but if that’s you, go for it, I’ll be cheering you on. But still actually list the things that need to get done in that time, not just marketing day.

If you’ve been watching for a while, I also schedule my daily do goals and the steps I need to take towards any goal I’m working on. Remember, no more than five at a time, people. For more on that, go back to the freebie section or go back and watch November 21 or January 22 episodes. Don’t panic, people. It’s your life and your calendar, so you get to change it. There’ll be no judgment by the productivity fairies.

I know this has been a lot so I’ve done a screen recording of how I do this step by step and yep, you can grab it in the freebie section. You may also be thinking, this sounds like structured hell, and for some of you, it might not actually work, but it’s okay, there will be a method that works for you and I’ll try and learn some more techniques or get someone in to join me and help share what works for them. Trust me though, the structure actually gives you more freedom. It does. It allows you more space to live it. It helps to give you the capacity to be extraordinary. And fingers crossed, may mean you don’t have any more manic Mondays.

Thank you so very much for spending your very precious time watching this week’s episode of the Samantha Leith show. Now don’t forget to head on over to the interwebs, samanthaleith.com/freebies to get any of the worksheets that I mentioned. Now, you probably know many people that could do with a little extra help with their time. So do them a favor and share this episode. And if you tag me, I’m going to encourage you on the journey. Till next time, remember you have exactly what it takes to be extraordinary.


Produced by Rebecca Saunders and Pyrmont Studios

Manic Monday
Songwriters: Prince Rogers Nelson
© Npg Publishing

Produced by Samantha Leith / Michael Tan
Vocals by Samantha Leith


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