Do you ever feel overwhelmed, like you’re always trying to catch up or like you’re doing your best and it’s just not enough? According to Environics Canada (2012) 63% of individuals said they are not organized with time management.
We understand that this ‘getting organized’ stuff isn’t as easy as articles make it out to be. If it were really as simple as “three steps” we’d all be perfect by now. More realistically the opposite is true – we feel disappointed that we can’t keep up, we wonder why and how we’ve ended up in this place.
Imagine a time when you were juggling multiple things at once that were all very important (for some of you it could have been yesterday). You may have been juggling a mixture of a difficult personal situation, an aging parent, a very sick friend or relative, a failed project at work, a death, a demanding boss, a birth, a divorce, a change of job or even a promotion at work. Each of these has the potential to be a stressor. As humans, our initial response to stress is heightened senses and, from there, we move into fight or flight. Our bodies ever so beautifully go into protective mode. Unfortunately, this mode doesn’t help us with the little things like our need for day-to-day organization. So what you might begin to notice are little things going wrong – missing appointments, constantly running late, feeling overwhelmed, not being able to focus, losing notes, paying bills late and a general sense of falling behind.
If you continue to juggle, because this is just the reality of our lives sometimes, without processes in place to support you (like calendars, a place for your bills, effective task lists, and files for your paperwork) then the negative feelings will continue until you choose to make a change or until your life calms and the mind begins to think more clearly. This is usually when individuals decide they’d like systems that work in their lives.
Here are five time strategies that you can try together or individually:
- Use One Calendar – schedule everything into your calendar. Use a type of calendar that you are most comfortable with (paper or digital) and allocate accurate timing to each activity.
- Use One Task List – write all of your tasks, and to-do’s and reminders in one booklet. Group like items together – shopping, errands, and phone calls – and schedule them into your calendar. Cross off what you finish because you need to see what you are accomplishing.
- Complete the Tasks – it can be very difficult to see a task through to completion when you’ve got a lot on your plate but there is nothing worse than the nagging feeling of not finishing something. Big check marks or crossing it off your list are a great feeling.
- Review Your Day – review what needs to be done. If you are always avoiding the task then ask yourself if you can delay it until next month or next year (then schedule it into your calendar for that time) or simply ‘delete’ it from your list completely.
- Break it down – where the task is more like a little project, break it down, identify what you will do and when, keep track of whom you’ve asked to help you and tackle it bit-by-bit.