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Let’s face it, life seems to get busier with every passing day and setting priorities can seem like an impossible task. Time management and the phrase work-life balance doesn’t have to be this elusive thing that you only read about online.

Just like you, I have friends, family, a 9-5 job, and then add my side hustle to the mix…Sara Nagy Design. Before implementing these time management tools I felt like I was always overwhelmed by my to-do list and letting things slip through the cracks, but now my life runs as a super busy, well-oiled machine. Here are a few time management tips and tools that helped me learn how to prioritize and establish a work-life balance.

Setting Priorities

When you feel like so much is resting on your shoulders, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose sight of what needs to get done. And when I talk about setting priorities, I don’t just mean work. Each day, I like to set 3 different priorities. One work-related. One pertaining to the maintenance of my home which could be as simple as unloading the dishwasher. Lastly, I set one priority related to self-care like taking a bath or watching my favourite show with a glass of wine in hand. These top three priorities are absolutely non-negotiable and must be completed that day. I also like to consider my priorities in advance. I focus on what I need to accomplish today, what I want to accomplish today, and what I will aim to accomplish tomorrow.

To jump-start your daily goal setting, I’ve included a free printable that you can use.

I use this printable each morning when I first get up. By setting priorities and intentions first thing, it helps me start the day with a clear mind so I’m ready to take on the day ahead!

Schedule Time For Self-Care & Fun

This is probably one of the most important time management tips that I can give you. Yes, work priorities are important, especially if you are a non-salaried, freelance professional (if you don’t work, you don’t get paid), but you NEED to make time for you. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to have drive, hunger and the desire to be successful. Those things are all admirable qualities. But if you don’t prioritize personal relationships and self-care you will absolutely burn out and have no one to share those successes with. Set time aside, each day, week, month, etc. for things fun. Grab dinner with your girlfriends, shut your phone off and disconnect, take that trip of a lifetime! Life is too short to not enjoy all that life has to offer.

Time Management Tools Are Your Friend

I often get asked ‘Sara, how do you manage to remember everything you need to do?’ and the answer is simple…I don’t. That would be impossible and take up so much space in my brain. Instead, I embrace all wonderful time management tools right at my fingertips. Personally, I LOVE Trello! No ad here, just a personal testimonial.

I’ve been using Trello for a while now and can honestly say it’s foolproof and so easy to use. Plus, being a very visual person (hello, I’m a graphic designer) I love that I can see all of my priorities in a visual board and tile format. You can have different boards for every project. One for your personal life, professional life, etc. Then, within each board, you can create a different tile for each task, set due dates, include task descriptions, include to-do lists, delegate to others. You can even colour code the tiles based on a legend that you’ve created – the possibilities are endless. What I love even more is that it has a phone app so regardless of whether I’m on my laptop or on the go, I can always have visibility of exactly what’s on my plate. Did I mention that there are also a TON of plug-ins to help you maximize your time management toolkit?

You can thank me later!