A Balanced Schedule Takes 5 Easy Steps! What does having a balanced schedule mean to you? Does it mean that at the end of the day you feel productive because you crossed everything off of your to-do list? Does it mean that you were able to manage your time to fit in work and exercise? Does it include time to prepare healthy, home-made meals for you and your family? As your Time Management and Productivity Coach I can tell you that your schedule doesn’t know the difference between your personal and professional time and activities. If you want balance you need to create that in your weekly schedule and build in flexibility (unscheduled) time. You need to be able to prioritize, make choices, and set healthy boundaries. Here are 5 Easy Steps for creating a more balanced schedule: 1. Sleep – Set up a regular wake up and go to sleep at night time. Stick to it! An adequate amount of sleep every night is key to good health, mood stability, and productivity. Use your waking hours to create blocks of time for the core areas of your life. 2. Stop it! – Stop doing the things that you don’t need to do, have to do, or want to do. This is a key time saver. When you realize that you are doing something that isn’t necessary, out of habit, and that you and no one else appreciates it’s easy to let it go. 3. Delegate, hire, share – Have someone else do the things that you don’t need to do but have to be done. They might do it better, faster, and with more enjoyment. Again, this is an important time saver because now you can focus on the things that only you can do. 4. It’s all good… read more →
Productivity Coach Tip: Use Deadlines As a Productivity and Time Management Coach I can assure you that using deadlines will help you improve your productivity and overall time management. Some tasks and projects have deadlines, for instance, there is a deadline for enrollment and registration for school, for purchasing holiday gifts, and for filing taxes. Deadlines can work for you if: You believe that you work better under pressure. If you are rule-driven. If you are a people pleaser. But what if something doesn’t have a deadline and you are still having difficulty getting to it? Productivity Tip: If you believe that you work better under pressure create a deadline for any project that doesn’t have one. Your brain will believe that you have to meet the deadline. If you believe that you have to meet this deadline it will prompt you to get started and get it done. Using deadlines can reinforce time management skills such as planning, time estimation. These skills are critical to your personal and professional success and not only your productivity, but your credibility.
Does your limited thinking create clutter? Limited thinking about your ability to get organized and stay organized will prevent you from taking action, including getting help from a Professional Organizer. If you don’t believe that you can be an organized person it will likely create negative emotions. Clutter in your environment and your schedule has a negative impact on your confidence, productivity, and health. In the book, “Clutter Busting”, author Brooks Palmer describes how clutter can keep some people from feeling their emotions: “It acts as an emotional insulator in the same way that drugs and booze do. Like a drink, it wears off, and then you have to acquire more to be numb. Clutter buries you alive.” Clutter may keep you from feeling your emotions temporarily, but it is akin to putting a Band-Aid on a large open wound. It’s an ineffective and superficial way to mask something deeper. Trust me, the feelings which will eventually seep to the surface. See if any of this limited thinking and negative emotions sounds familiar. Ask yourself questions such as: • Guilt – Were you taught to believe that letting go of things is wrong or wasteful? • Lack of confidence – Did you think that by acquiring things you would feel more admired and less inadequate? • Low self-esteem – Did you learn that doing everything yourself rather than asking for assistance was a sign of dependence? • Failure – Do you feel like a failure and that you should be able to be organized without assistance? • Shame – Do you avoid inviting people into your space and worry about their judgment? • Attention issues – Are often exhausted and lack mental energy and focus? • All or none thinking – Do you believe that if you can’t organize it… read more →
Do you know that clutter can be caused by habits that keep you disorganized? Behaviors can either facilitate or impede your ability to get organized and stay organized. Behaviors and habits that do not facilitate organization not only cause physical clutter, they can also cause lack of productivity and mental clutter. This isn’t necessarily intentional, in fact, sometimes it is the mindless aspect of what you do that stops you from putting things back where they belong or taking a few minutes to file, fold, or hang something up instead of leaving it in a heap of other stuff. Do you any of these behaviors or habits keep you from being more organized? Compulsive shopping – repeatedly buying things that you don’t need. Buying in bulk – purchasing more than you will use in a reasonable amount of time. Storing outdated or useless paperwork – piles and files of reference items that you rarely if ever go back to use. Saving large quantities of unread material – newspapers, magazines, and recipes. Lack of planning – scheduling a regular block of time to organize your space. Difficulty making decisions – over-thinking whether or not to keep or let go of items. Unopened mail – delaying action on what to do with incoming mail rather than implementing a daily system. Take on one habit at a time with the understanding that any change in behavior takes practice over time. You CAN do it!
Feeling Organized What does feeling organized mean to you? Think about how you feel when your space is organized and clutter-free. Imagine what an organized day feels like. I love to write about the benefits of organizing to motivate and inspire you towards that clutter-free lifestyle most of us crave. An organized life feels… Calm Productive Energizing Healthy, and Spacious. The disorganized life in contrast feels stressful, overwhelming and chaotic. The worst part of long-standing disorganization is that for some people it becomes the norm. I was just talking about this with a friend and describing how some people become accustomed to living in chaos and clutter and that making change is too scary for them to seek help. There are so many resources out there for you if you want to take the first step and make a change. NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organizers) is our professional organization. As a NAPO Personal and Professional Organizer and Time Management Coach I encourage you to explore their national website, and your local chapter’s website. Ask yourself if you are ready to start feeling organized and get out of chaos. Take baby steps so that you don’t get overwhelmed. If you want to try it yourself, read an article or book that describes the organizing process.
The 50 benefits of organized people enjoy The 50 benefits of living your most organized life that I write about are only just the beginning! Organizing is a process of eliminating the things and the time wasters in your life. Clutter isn’t just too much stuff in your space, it’s also too much to do, and even too much to think about. The benefits of organizing result in eliminating the these things because they can cause stress and cost you your health and even your finances. Speaking as your Personal and Professional Organizer here are 5 more positive outcomes of organizing and productivity: Save time for important relationships and connections. Time saving strategies leave room in your weekly schedule for meaningful and self nurturing activities, especially your relationships at home and work. Boost your productivity in an energy efficient manner. Organizing and time management doesn’t mean working harder and longer. It means planning, streamlining, and producing excellent results by being efficient. Enhance your self esteem and sense of control. Wouldn’t you feel better by being more organized? Confidence comes from the inside out, and organizing from the outside in supports that confidence! Impact your credibility with others personally and professionally. Whether you are managing a family or an office staff, people are more inclined to respect and want to work with an organized person. Monitor spending, expenses, and income on a daily basis. One of the benefits of organizing is that you can see everything that you have, how you are spending, and then eliminate wasting money. Creating spending habits that align with your income is an empowering habit that will create a more organized life! To your success!
Personal Organizing Tips My personal organizing tips this month will guide you towards how to organize and use your time. I want to inspire you to be more present, in the moment and less self critical. Rather than set your sights on what you think that you should do, what’s on your to-do list, summer plans, and organizing for the 2015 tax season, you can take a moment to pause. Try to breathe, and to simply notice what stillness feels like before you decide to begin anything. This is the distinction between doing and being. I like the word “may”, it is gentle and encouraging. It is different than “should”. “May” feels like it allows for possibility rather than demanding something. So often I hear someone say, “I should (fill in the blank).” Or, “You should (fill in the blank).” It’s a habit that I grew up hearing and saying and am still practicing changing it. It feels different when we tell ourselves that we may want to use an hour to clean out a file or a closet. When I look at how to manage my time to schedule things I see it as an opportunity to consider what I may be able to do. Organizing tips – questions to consider about your time management and productivity: Do I need to do it now or at another time? Would I feel better if I at least did part of this now, and the rest, at a later time? When it is actually due? Am I the only one who can do this? What would really happen if it never got done? Organizing tips – questions about decluttering and organizing space: Do I need to keep this? If so, for how long? How and where does it need to be… read more →
Which is it, are you the disorganized boss, or is it the employee who is disorganized? One sure sign of disorganization is poor time management, and the result is diminished productivity. It doesn’t matter if it is the boss or the employee who is disorganized since both of your styles affect one another and your work. If you are the disorganized boss (late for meetings, unprepared, difficulty prioritizing) with the organized employee here are some strategies to put into place: Ask the employee to work out a system to signal you 10-15 minutes before your next appointment, task, or when you need to leave the office to commute. Have a brief daily planning session to review what got done that day, what needs additional time (schedule it), and what is coming up for the next 2-3 days. Schedule blocks of time for your open door hour(s). Let your employees know when those times are. Ask your administrative assistant to schedule time for employees that need to meet with you at other times. But wait, what if you are the organized boss with a disorganized employee (can’t find what you need when you need it, poor scheduling skills, multi-tasker)? The most effective strategies to use in this scenario include: Clear, documented communication about expectations, including timelines. Ongoing reviews of the employees progress and opportunities for him/her to ask for help. Measurable goals with expected outcomes. Implement the necessary strategies today and whenever possible, be proactive. It’s not really the employee’s responsibility to take the leadership role in getting things organized.
Here is an important tip for the boss who feels disorganized: Get to the point! Your team members will perceive you as more organized if your communication is straightforward and succinct. However, if your thoughts and communication are disorganized it will impact your team members and employees in various ways: Ability to follow directions Understanding expectations Capacity to help the organization’s goals Identify your strengths – are you stronger verbally or in writing? If your strength is in verbally articulating your goals, expectations, and standards ask someone to record what you say in writing. Have them say it back to you to check for accuracy before it is distributed to other team members. If your ability to convey information in writing is stronger, highlight the key points verbally from your notes, then distribute the written version. Now for the critical measure of functioning as an organized boss… Identify the key 2-3 points you need to communicate. Tell your team what you are going to talk to them about and then tell them. Summarize what you told them. Then, ask them if there is anything that they need clarified. By modeling this type of communication, one that builds from your strengths, you can expect others to do the same. Try it, role play it, get feedback. I promise that your organization ranking will increase! As a Time Management Coach and Professional Organizer my mantra is schedule time to plan this. Don’t try to wing it!
Are you a disorganized boss? If so, it will often become apparent in your daily and weekly schedule. Does this sound familiar? Unprepared for meetings Working on things at the last minute No time scheduled for planning If that sounds like you then there are 2 ways to address these issues. First, if you have an organized administrative assistant, have him or her create a weekly template with blocks of time dedicated to specific activities. If you do not have someone to delegate this task to it is helpful to work with a Time Management Coach/Professional Organizer who can help you set up this type of system. Keep it simple and use one type of calendar, if possible. Whether it is a paper planner or online calendar it is important to be able to view the entire week. Secondly, make sure that your weekly schedule includes time to plan ahead each day as well as at the end of each week. You will feel, think and behave in more organized and productive ways when you create these 2 time management habits!