Happy Monday, y'all! I hope your weekend has been wonderful! Hopefully you didn't have to go to work today (I've been told it's a holiday), but if you did- you have my sincerest sympathy and understanding!)
Well last week, I wrote this post about the more "bigger picture" aspects of time management. Today, I'm breaking down a few organizational aspects of time management. Some of these ideas are super simple, some are common sense and others are maybe not fun, but they pay off. Here we go!
#1. Write it all down & Utilize a calendar.
Contrary to popular belief (particularly in the world of "time management" research), one does not need anything fancy or expensive to do this (even that stuff seen above). It's fine if that's what helps you feel more productive, but it doesn't work for me and in reality is so completely unnecessary. To me, it is a way to distract from the real tasks at hand by occupying my mind with the project that has to occur before being able to do the real work of organizing.
To rephrase: I can't organize my time better because I don't have a $300 Filofax organizational system. I'll spend two weeks compiling everything I need to be organized then I'll really get started."
Ugh. Just write it down. Write down all the things you need to do. Write down your daily stuff, write down your short term goals, write down your long term goals. Write down important bill dates etc. project/event/appointment dates too. Stop avoiding it. Get out a calendar and a steno pad and just do it. After you get it all down, you can organize it however you want. First things first, though.
Also, you must remember that to manage your time better, you have to tend to it regularly. You have to sit down five minutes a day or a half hour a week (whatever works with your headspace) and update, change, move around, rearrange and re-prioritize your goals and tasks etc. Which brings me to the next point.
#2. Determine what is urgent (versus personal priority).
Determining what is urgent (sitting down and doing your taxes, making sure your car is cared for before a road trip, getting the week's groceries purchased and prepped for that long week ahead, getting your kid's school play costume started (instead of binge-watching House), getting a just rough draft of your Great American Novel completed etc.
Those are bigger picture items that get you to a better place so that you have the time to work on other things like: making your bathroom cabinets look Pinterest-worthy, learning how to do a perfect fishtail braid, watching the latest episode of Downton, or spending a few hours delving into the backstory of a character you're workshopping for that Great American Novel. You get my point? No? Let me put it another way:
Party on, Wayne!
#3. Get the no-fun stuff out of the way first and earliest in the day.
Otherwise said by no lesser a sage than Wayne Campbell from Wayne's World (paraphrased of course): "It's like rushing home on Friday after school and getting all your homework done early so the rest of the weekend, you're free to party."
Simply stated: You'll feel buttloads better getting the no-fun stuff done early which makes the rest of your day feel so conquerable! It is a positivity snowball that gives you piles and piles of more time at the end of the day for the things you want to do; the things that make you happiest and bring you the most satisfaction and joy!
#4. Plan. Plan for tomorrow, then have a contingency plan (or two).
I can tell you hardly no other thing about time management that helps more than this simple idea. And yes, I'm familiar with the colloquial saying "the surest way to make God laugh is to tell Him your plans".
However, planning has gotten a bad rep. It seems to be associated with mouse-eyed Type-A's that can't seem to remove the stick from their ass no matter how badly they need to. Real life planning isn't like that.
This is what planning is:
*Making a meal plan for your week, allowing for wiggle room in case a last-minute celebratory outing with friends, family or kids pops up. This kind of planning frees up major money so more fun life stuff is possible.
*Planning is keeping a bag in the trunk of the car that has bottles of water, granola bars and a change of clothes in case there is an emergency or your car breaks down in July and AAA is delayed due to a bizarro pickle truck flipping over on the opposite side of the interstate.
*Planning is keeping a spare box of pasta noodles and spaghetti sauce in the pantry in case one week you have an unexpected bill and can't afford your typical fare. Or a friend is sick and you want to do something for her family while she's stuck in bed. Boom. No extra money needed and you've done a nice deed for someone you love.
Planning isn't filling every single moment of every day and evening with some task, project, event, sport, hobby, etc. The goal of planning is to simplify- to quiet. Not to occupy or busy oneself.
And that's another thing! Planning is just taking the time to anticipate what can't be anticipated so when life happens (AND IT ALWAYS DOES, Y'ALL!), you aren't derailed. You aren't standing on the side of the interstate waiting for AAA in 100 degree weather, ready to pass out from dehydration (I use this example because I've had that happen and thank goodness I had water in the car)!
If you plan properly, you can be super flexible and enjoy all (or at least more) of life's little curveballs. Sometimes curveballs are the best thing ever, but only if you can manage your stuff enough to be able to glean the positive from each situation!
Alright, okay. That's enough of a lesson for today. I do have a lot left to say on the topic though, so stay tuned for Wednesday's update. Time management doesn't have to be daunting if you approach it with good headspace. Seriously. A little goes a long way toward having the life you want. I know because I'm doing it myself after years and years of struggling.
Check ya later, pals! I hope you have a truly wonderful day!