Recently, on my friend Jaima’s website, I kicked off a series on my TOP FOUR, MOST IMPORTANT AREAS OF ORGANIZATION. I started by focusing on how to organize your mind. Today, in the spirit of the new year, I want to share my strategies on how to ORGANIZE YOUR SCHEDULE.
I once attended a seminar where the speaker said, “There is no such thing as time management … we all have the same number of minutes in a day; we cannot add more or change how fast or slow they go. We can only manage ourselves so we use these minutes to their fullest potential …”
After years (OK, decades) of mismanaging my own time, swinging between bouts of frenzied work and excuse-laden procrastination, I finally came to the realization that the only way I could experience a more enjoyable and lower-stress life was to exercise some “self management” regarding my daily schedule.
So I implemented the following measures …
1. I faithfully use a planner to record important dates, events and projects. I prefer to use a planner that offers an entire “month at a glance,” but I have also used the “week at a glance” ones too. My planner helps me remember birthdays, appointments, etc. and also keeps me from committing to too much.
2. I create a daily to-do list and number my tasks, forcing myself to accomplish the most important ones first. This helps me with my tendency to procrastinate on undesirable projects. I love Brian Tracy’s bestselling book “Eat that Frog.” Tracy’s book title is based on Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The idea is that, each morning, we should first complete the task that we are most likely to procrastinate on – often the most difficult, time-consuming and most important one on our to-do list. As a result of forcing ourselves to “eat that frog” right away, the rest of our day goes much more smoothly.
3. I have some tricks up my sleeve.
- I try to get up before my kids each morning. I admit this through gritted teeth because I have always believed that getting up early was a form of torture. But there is just no way around this. When I start my day the BK (before kids) way, I have time to ease into the morning, often crossing off my most important task(s) before the insanity has a chance to strike.
- I am realistic about what I can accomplish. I am human and I get tired. I can only do so much. So if I overload my schedule (usually because I’ve procrastinated the day before), I’m left feeling defeated, overwhelmed and weary by the end of the day.
- I schedule appointments for early in the day. This is a tried-and-true trick for avoiding delays that often happen at doctor’s offices, etc.
- I schedule errands based on geographical location so I save time and gas money by avoiding extra trips to town.
- I keep a blank grocery list on the fridge and jot down needs as they arise. This helps me avoid too many trips to the supermarket. (For a free copy of my list, click here.)
I hope you can implement a few of these strategies for managing your schedule. Be sure to keep an eye out for the next post in this organizing series … HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR FOOD. Happy New Year!