As a Professional Organizer I get calls for help about tackling hard projects…piles of paper, objects, photos, and even items cluttering the email inbox. It’s not a question of whether or not it needs to be organized. It’s a matter of how and when. With help from a professional and time dedicated to the project, it becomes manageable. Make any organizing project manageable by breaking it down into smaller mini-projects. Then tackle it every Tuesday, for instance! TIP: Organizing and maintaining on a regular basis is worth the time.
There are so many ways to keep your calendar…paper, digital devices, your computer. What’s most important is not what you use, but that you have a system and use it consistently. Let’s get real… Are you skilled in prioritizing? Do you over-schedule yourself? Do things take longer than you anticipate? Time management know-how includes: Scheduling everything that requires your time. Tip: avoid lengthy to-do lists that have no assigned day/time for items. Setting boundaries and doing what is important. Tip: notice when you procrastinate and do less important things. Time estimation skills. Tip: use a timer to learn how long it takes you to do routine tasks. You don’t need to struggle or be self critical. Empower yourself and get help from a specialist, a trained professional Time Management Coach/Professional Organizer. Establish a system, use it, evaluate it, and just like space organizing, review and revise! Manage Your Time
It’s not uncommon when someone calls me and says that they spent a lot of time organizing and clearing out their space and within a short amount of time, the sense of being disorganized returns. I call that “yo-yo organizing”! How frustrating when you set aside time, sort things, purge items, buy bins and containers, and then wonder what did you do wrong? Okay, take a deep breath and realize that you probably didn’t do anything wrong. Maybe it’s time to put away the yo-yo, and try something different. Here are 3 strategies to consider today: Create a systems approach – a regular schedule of organizing tasks to keep you maintained. This is more realistic than binge organizing! Hire a Professional Organizer, and Time Management Coach to be your Accountability Partner. Reward yourself for a task well done!
Get rid of my to-do list?? That’s crazy! Not really, if you think about an actual to-do list it means that each item requires your action and your time. This does not include a shopping list with items to purchase, or ideas for your next book. Typically, the items on a to-do list start with a verb: write call email visit Look at your current list(s) and notes. Decide which items meet the criteria for a to-do list. The Outside In approach is to create your “optimal habit” and begin to schedule every item on your to-do list into your weekly planner. Be realistic about when it is due and how much time it will take. Once you get into this habit you will see your planner as your to-do list and be able to check each item off with ease.
1. Transition time between activities and meetings. 2. Adequate time to commute to and from meetings. 3. Specific time to review your schedule, upcoming meetings, deadlines, etc. 4. Uninterrupted time to create, write, read, plan. 5. Flexible time for unanticipated situations. 6. Boundaries in your schedule that are obvious to those you live and work with. If you are not comfortable organizing your time, I can help you do this. The consequences of not organizing your time are too great to accept.
Listen carefully, do you find yourself saying, “I never have enough time to (fill in the blank)”. Do you look at your schedule on a daily basis to plan and prioritize, or do you simply hope to get things done when you have time? Are you waking up in the middle of night worrying about things that you need or forgot to do? These are familiar to people who simply need a better system that they can consistently use, maintain, and adapt as needed. Here’s how you can get started: Identify exactly how you are using your time every day, in 30 minute increments for 2 weeks. Sounds tedious but you will establish a realistic baseline that you can use to assess your time management. Someone said that information is power. Try not to judge the information and instead, inform yourself for the next step.
We all want to feel a sense of accomplishment. Here are 3 things to guarantee your success: Be realistic Prioritize Recruit help BE REALISTIC: That means that you want to consider balancing your list with other aspects of your life (family, work, vacation); you don’t want to spend all weekend working on these projects, or do you? Be realistic about your time as well as your energy. Break larger tasks up into manageable shorter projects rather than try to get everything done at once. PRIORITIZE: 1 strategy is to do the things that you like the least and get them off your list! Another factor is that there may be time sensitive projects such as getting the guest room ready for visitors. Be aware of your deadlines and start early enough. RECRUIT HELP: Seriously, teamwork is more fun and you don’t need to do everything yourself. Maybe you have a neighbor that has similar projects and you can help one another. Of course, you can always hire a Professional Organizer to help you.
Do you get those inserts with your statements encouraging you to go paperless? Outside In Approach TIP #1 – Implement the “1-at-a-Time Rule”. Get into the habit of going paperless, 1 account at a time. It only takes a couple of minutes. Outside In Approach TIP #2 – Create & practice your “Optimal Habits”. Every 6 mos. to a year, change your password. Outside In Approach TIP #3 – Here’s another “Optimal Habit” to practice…Every 6 months, purge the unnecessary inserts in your account files and shred them.
It doesn’t matter if you use paper or digital formats to create and update your To-do list. The Outside In Approach recommends that you commit to the following time management principles: First – Use your calendar to schedule items on your To-do list.You will get your projects done if they’re on your schedule. Second – Be clear about projects versus tasks. Projects are things that you work on to help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Tasks are routine appointments and errands that are necessary for you, your family, your household. Third – Establish boundaries for the number of projects you schedule each day; no less than 3, no more than 5! Create an Optimal Habit which means commitment to following this “rule” with consistency. You can find more ideas on www.outsideinorganizer.com on the Time Management page!
I am always interested in what other professionals are saying about how to get organized. There is so much out there and in truth, a lot of great ideas that are said different ways. For instance, here’s a link to an article I read today: http://www.wikihow.com/Organize-Your-Life However, I want you to think about organizing in a slightly different way, not just about getting rid of clutter and shortening your to-do list. Think about creating space in your life. Organizing your life so that you enjoy these benefits: * greater flow of energy internally and externally * creating a space in your day to do the things that feed your soul * opening your mind to thinking about yourself in positive ways Can you think of 1 way to achieve one of these benefits today? Need help? Contact Denise 760-809-8851 for ideas!