How to: Not Overwhelm Yourself

5 tips to leading a balanced and productive life

Happy Monday!

Balancing work, life, and downtime is no simple task and it is easy to completely overwhelm yourself. That is why I am here to share 5 tips and steps I take to take control of my time and find the perfect balance.

This is geared towards those of us working at home, or just anyone who enjoys taking on multiple projects at a time while juggling everything else life has to offer. This would still be helpful to anyone who is busy and looking for some tips to avoid overwhelming yourself.

As a creative who enjoys working on multiple projects at once, I will be the first to admit that I often overwhelm myself. I am trying to get better at it which is why I wanted to make this post. It forced me to sit down and think about the things I wanted to change in my life to make it more balanced. Sometimes…well, often times, I take on too much and I am sure any other creative can agree. Since the things I work on (for the most part, give or take a few projects) are projects I genuinely enjoy like writing and social media, a lot of times I forget that it is still “work” and time-consuming. However, even if we enjoy our work, we need to take breaks and not let it consume all the hours of our day.

Learn how to get your work done while still taking time for yourself and live a balanced life with these 5 tips for not overwhelming yourself

1. Take a Look at Your Projects: What Can Stay and What Can Go?

The first reason you might be feeling overwhelm is because you are working on too many things! Which is why you need to make a list of everything you are working on and figure out if anything can go, or be postponed.

For example, I post blogs 3 times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) but because I have so many exciting projects on my plate, I decided it was best to cut it down to 2 times a week for the time being (Mondays and Fridays). I love writing for my blog and posting to it, but sometimes, we have to make sacrifices for the sake of our sanity. However, I am not too sad about it because it is only temporary. Once I finish up some current projects, I am hoping to return to posting 3 times a week.

When you make your list of projects, sort them by priority. If one of the projects involves your actual paying job, whatever that is, that should be your top priority because other people are expecting it to get done and it pays your bills. Figure out where your other projects fall after that, all in order of importance and/or urgency to least important and/or least urgent. Cut the 1 or 2 at the bottom off, or move them to the “save for later” pile. Ensure that you include at least 1 passion project though! This way, you will still be doing something you love and can look forward to making time for it during the day.

2. Set Your Work Day + Break Times

It is important to know when you are working and when you are not, especially if you are working at home and/or running your own business. I know it sounds silly and obvious, but a big contributing fact to me feeling overwhelmed is because I work until I feel “done.” This knocks any source of balance out of my life because my workday can go on until the minutes before I go to sleep.

Does a 9-5 workday not work for you? That’s okay, because while I used to do that, lately it hasn’t been working for me. Whatever time you want to start working, as long as you end it 8-9 hours later, having that normal work schedule (and sticking to it) will positively impact your mental health and sanity. Remember that this work schedule is for weekdays. I highly recommend trying to avoid working on weekends. Or, at least don’t make it a habit.

It is also important to schedule in your break time. This is something I am a rookie at because I will sit at my desk for hours, only breaking when I feel hungry or need go to the bathroom. In reality, you need to take at least an hour and a half of a break each workday.

3. Use a Planner

Organizing your projects and their deadlines is the key to leading a balanced life. You can use a paper planner or digital one like Google Calendars. I alternate between both and sometimes use them at the same time. Sit down with your planner at the end of each week, or the beginning, and plan the week ahead. Include your project deadlines as well as when you want to hit certain milestones within the project. For example, say you want to write 50,000 words in a month and you include a weekly goal of 10,000 words by every Sunday. Make sure you write that down!

Some other productivity tools I like to use to manage my projects and keep myself organized (and sane) are Trello and Hootsuite. I love Trello because it allows you to make different boards and then it lays out your tasks or goals in visually appealing way. You can easily move things around and add other boards too. On the other hand, Hootsuite lets me manage my social media posts. I take advantage of the free plan and have linked my Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to it. Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts and create them on their website. I’ve only recently begun using it, but so far it has freed up so much time in my day.

4. Come Up with a List of Break Activities

When it is finally time for you to take a step back and relax during the workday, you should curate a list of activities that you can do so you don’t waste time trying to figure out what to do. Some things on my list are:

  • Read a book
  • Watch TV
  • Bullet journal
  • FaceTime a friend
  • Go on a walk

Add as many things to the list as you want, but having one ready to go will save you valuable break time. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, take a look at the photo below and try to tailor your break time activities to things that take care of your mind, body, and soul. It will ensure you get the most out of your break time!

5. Enforce an End Time

Figuring out when to end your day is crucial, otherwise you will keep working until the sun goes down and your eyelids are sagging with exhaustion. Whether that is 5 pm or 8 pm, choose a time and stick to it. Since I’ve been starting my workday later (at around 12 pm), my end time is now 8 or 9 pm. But no later than 9 pm!

Having an end time also helps to prevent burnout. If you keep chugging along into the night, there is a good chance you won’t feel as productive the next day. Slow and steady wins the race; remember that, because I know I have to remind myself of this all the time. It is better to consistently work 8 hours 5 days a week rather than 10 hours one day and only 4 hours the next. So, find an end time that works for you and stick to it.


Those are my 5 tips on how to not feel overwhelmed while keeping productive. I hope you found them helpful! If you have any other tips, don’t hesitate to leave them down below.

Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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How I Organize My Content

How I plan and organize my content to maximize my productivity and time.

Happy Monday!

To start this week off on a productive note, I wanted to share with you all how I organize my content and ensure I am creating and posting all the fun things. Planning and organizing my content is something I started doing in May and with all my projects and various platforms I post content to, I found it was essential step to keeping my sanity.

For a long time, I thought I didn’t need to write anything down because I would remember all my ideas and their due dates. However, that is not the case! The more you are doing every day, the less space you have in your head to store all your daily and weekly tasks. That is why writing everything down in a list or on a calendar is SO important and critical to your success as a content creator. Once I began writing down my content and organizing it, I became obsessed with lists and notebooks and now I cannot live without them.

There are a couple of techniques and strategies I use to organize my content each month so let’s get into them!

TIP #1: STICK TO ORGANIZING YOUR CONTENT IN ONE PLACE – MY CONTENT PLANNER

When it comes to organizing your content, keep it all in one space even if the content is not for the same platforms. That way, you will never lose where you wrote down that blog post or Instagram story idea because there is only one place it could be.

For me, this space is my content planner. This is my old planner for 2020 that I used before I started my bullet journal. I kept it because I didn’t want it to go to waste and am glad I did because it is a great place to organize my content. Each different type of content is colour coded so when I look at the week, I can easily see what I need to create. For example, blog posts that I need to write and post are written in red, social media posts are in blue, freelance writing is in orange, and so on.

It is helpful to have this separate place for content that is not your daily planner because it declutters that space. If I have a deadline for a freelance project, that will also go in my bullet journal but it will only be written in on the date it is due. In my content planner, I can breakdown the steps to create the content as well as when it is going to go live.

Whether you write your content ideas down in a notebook or in a digital calendar, make sure you have a space dedicated solely to where you keep your content ideas because it will ease your stress when you sit down with it at the beginning of each week.

TIP #2: DEDICATE TIMES AND/OR DAYS TO SPECIFIC CONTENT – MY MORNING VS AFTERNOON ROUTINE

Dividing up the days so I work on different types of content at different times has been a huge reason why I am able to achieve so much within a week. I even started doing this without realizing it because dedicating my mornings to more heavily writing-related content (blog posts, creative writing, Flanelle articles, etc) and afternoons to more business-related tasks (internships, social media, editing, etc) felt natural.

Focusing on writing in the morning also helps because I am able to get in the mindset for writing and create even more because of it. Over the years, I realized I am most creative in the mornings which is why I preserve my writing time for my mornings. If you haven’t figured out what time of day is your most productive, this is something you should figure out ASAP! That way, you can schedule your most time-consuming tasks during that time.

This is another reason why having somewhere like a planner to keep your content ideas is crucial because when you are scheduling out when you will work on it, you can divide up your day where you can visually see it.

Don’t forget to include the dates and times you POST your content too! For example, I post to my blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 12 pm PST, and I try to post to social media every weekday around the same time. I make sure to always write this down in my content planner, even though I always post on these days and times.

TIP #3: ENJOY WHAT YOU ARE CREATING – WHY I ONLY POST CONTENT I LOVE

Obviously, there will be some content you don’t enjoy creating but have to, but for the most part, I make it a priority to create content that I love. This is because the content I post on my blog, Instagram, etc is for people to enjoy as well. I figure that if I don’t enjoy it myself, nobody will! That is also why I try to be active the most on platforms I genuinely like to be on (give or take a few such as Twitter). Once again, some platforms you post to might not be your favourite, but I just remember my main focus is on ensuring I like the content I am posting there.

If you are unsure what your audience wants to see from you, use polls on social media. However, ultimately, you should be in touch with your audience and have a general idea of what they like and want to see, but there is no shame in asking for some help!


These are some tips for how I organize my content to maximize my time and efficiency when creating and posting to all my various platforms. If you have a method for organizing content, let me know in the comments below because I am always looking for new techniques to use!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: June Reading + Writing Goals

See the source image  Buy Me A Coffee

 

 

@zoermathers

 

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

4 Tips for Getting Things Done

How to properly attack your to-do list and regain inspiration, motivation, and productivity.

productive

Happy Monday!

It can be hard to have the motivation to get things done, especially during quarantine when we have nothing but the TIME to get things done. I have not been the most motivated this past week but slowly, I have been getting back to my productive self. That is why I am putting together this short but effective list of four ways to re-ignite your motivation and productivity to knock off everything on your to-do list because I know it really helps me when I need a boost.

#1 Know What You Need to Get Done and How

Even if you write out your to-do list every morning, that doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to get those tasks done. Creating a to-do list and then dissecting each task can be extremely helpful if you don’t feel super motivated to get them done in the first place.

I find often that I have a may have a plan, but I don’t know how to approach it. For example, I am re-typing a novel for a client which is a time-consuming project. It is unrealistic for me to sit down and just type the  15 or so pages I need to type for that day, so instead of just writing “Re-type 15 pages” in my bullet journal, I add underneath my plan of attack like “Write 8 pages in the morning, 5 pages in the afternoon, and two pages in the evening.” This way, the task appears less daunting because you’ve broken down the steps. You now know WHAT you need to get done and HOW.

#2 Plan Out Your Break Time

Whenever I don’t feel like being productive, I find that planning my breaks really helps. It motivates me to get my tasks done because I know once I finish them, I can reap the rewards of watching an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender or reading for 20 minutes.

Figuring out how often you should break up your workday is something you will have to figure out for yourself. For me, I know I should break my day up much more than I do, but I usually work straight from 9 am – 12 pm and then break (and workout) until 2 or 3 pm. Then, I usually spend from 3 pm to 6 pm working. I definitely recommend taking a 10-15 minute break every hour or so, I just get so consumed in my work that I rarely notice the time! However, I pay for it in sore wrists, an aching back, or tension headaches. Take breaks!

#3 Change Up Your Environment

Lately, any time I feel stuck or “lazy,” it has been because I am tired of staring at my bedroom walls. My work environment now switches between my bedroom and dining room table. I am lucky to be able to move locations within my house because my parents and brother work for the majority of the day, therefore, I have a quiet house to myself.

If you cannot move your workspace, trying re-arranging the room you have. Move the desk, switch up the wall decor, or even just re-organize your desk. These seemingly small things make such a huge difference and I cannot recommend taking actions like these enough. I plan on switching up my room sometime in June. Not only do I want to move my desk, but I am adding a second bookshelf in which is very exciting because it helps to make it feel like a brand new area.

#4 Time Batching

If you haven’t heard of the term “time batching,” then it means you haven’t tried it and it might just be your saving grace. I am a loose time batcher, but it really does help me get all the things done. Time batching is when you group tasks that are similar and do them all at once, and then move onto a completely different category of tasks.

An example of this is my mornings because from 9 am – 12 pm, I work on anything writing-related such as blog posts, creative writing, etc. I also do anything that has an upcoming deadline in this time block as well, but it is always solely reserved for writing. This helps me get into the right headspace and groove, and ultimately, it allows me to work through tasks faster. I then go onto reserve my afternoons for school-related or work-related tasks such as my internship and Coursera courses.


Those are all of my tips to get things done, especially during a pandemic when we suddenly have the time to work on these things. I hope they were helpful, and if you have any more tips make sure you comment them down below!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Writing Update!

See the source image  Buy Me A Coffee

 

 

@zoermathers

 

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting