It might seem counterintuitive but, in my experience, one of the main reasons most people struggle with disorganization is that they have trouble managing time. Here’s the thing. You can’t really manage time; you can only use it wisely to accomplish the most important things that you need to and want to do. And if having an organized home and a less stressful life is one of the important things, please read on.
Remember, you can’t do everything all at the same time! So, how do you decide what to do and when? By thoughtfully managing time, of course. Here are six of my top time management tips.
Choose the Right Tool
Before you start planning, please make sure you have the right tools in place to capture that plan. You will need some type of list-making tool whether it’s a trusty notebook [only one notebook, not several] or an electronic system. You will also need a reliable calendar system, preferably electronic but paper-based will also work [as long as you write in pencil so you can change things]. Then, take each project on your list and schedule time in your calendar to get it done. In a sense, you’re making an appointment with yourself. It’s always best to work on one project at a time from beginning to end. Many clients I work with take their projects to about seventy-five percent completion and then start another one, ending up in a vast sea of chaos!
Complete Your #1 Priority First
One of the most important techniques I have learned and shared with many of my clients is to complete your #1 Priority Item first thing in the morning before you check e-mail or pick up your smartphone to look at social media or check for messages. As soon as you open any of these time suckers, you’re bound to be distracted and falsely lead into thinking that answering these messages is more important than anything else and there goes your day.
Stop 15 to 30 Minutes Before Your Day Ends and Put Things Away
The next most important habit you can develop for successfully using your time to stay organized is to stop what you’re doing 15 to 30 minutes before you have to be somewhere or before your day ends and spend that last block of time organizing your home for the next day. This means returning everything back to where it belongs, and I mean everything! Better yet, put things away during the day instead of leaving little messes everywhere.
Learn to Manage Yourself
This can be the most difficult part of improving your productivity. Spending your time working on tasks and projects that help you meet deadlines with clients, co-workers, or at home is crucial. There are a lot of distractions and interruptions as well as poor habits that can derail you during the day. The most important thing you can do is to set aside time at the end of each day to create a plan for what you need to accomplish the following day. This will help you focus and allow you to say no to further requests for your time. Knowing exactly what you have to do is a very powerful way to manage your time.
Spend Time at the End of Every Week Planning
Set aside one or two hours every Friday or Sunday to work on your plan for the next week. Ask yourself whether your schedule is realistic. In general, you need to keep twenty to fifty percent of your week open for unexpected requests and projects. Speaking of building extra time into your week, it is an absolute necessity to have time buffers built into your schedule because you never know what might throw your careful plans off the rails. Like getting sick, for example, or an emergency with a loved one, or a crisis at the office. Learn more by clicking on this link about the steps involved in weekly planning.
Take Time to Relax and Recharge
Another important part of managing your time is to take time off to relax and recharge your batteries. I’m not sure about you, but I struggle with taking time for myself to enjoy life. I love my work. And because there is always a list of things I need to accomplish, I could work seven days a week. However, I am reminded after a few days off, that doing that isn’t healthy nor will it affect my work in a positive way.
Why is it that we put off managing time and organizing ourselves even though we know that the most successful businesses and individuals dedicate time to planning without fail? I think it may be because planning doesn’t feel like we are getting anything done. However, many studies have shown that the time you dedicate to planning will benefit you tenfold. For every minute you spend planning you will save ten minutes in execution. That’s huge!
If you know others who want to learn how to manage time to get more done, please share this post on your favourite social media channel or have them contact me for help.