As you may have noticed, I have not been very good at blogging each and every day. Sometimes I don’t even blog once a week.
I’ve talked about my problem with time clutter here many times before. It continues to be a challenge for me since my desire to help others is so strong, I forget to think about myself, and my own needs, when I accept commitments. Back in May, I cleared my schedule completely for 2 weeks while I took the time to map out the vision, or direction, for my life, family and business. After mapping out the vision, I had to remove things from my schedule that didn’t fit into that vision.
- Use only one calendar. If I were only allowed to offer one time management tip, this would rank high on the list. It is imperative that you combine all of the sports schedules, school schedules, social schedules, daycare schedules, etc onto one calendar. This way you can readily see well in advance any scheduling conflicts that you may have and you can address those immediately AND it allows you to discard that big pile of paper schedules that you normally have to shuffle through.
- Plan and lay outfits out the night before. This also helps to cut the anxiety level down in the morning for everyone! I know with two daughters, we had several outfit changes before they were happy each evening. Imagine if all of that took place in the morning!
- Go through book bags the night before. Set up a time each evening to go through bookbags, review and sign everything and then place them by the door. We usually did this after dinner & washing dishes each evening. Be sure to merge any new or changed activities to your calendar immediately.
- If you have a few extra minutes, leave early. One of the biggest mistakes people make is they have a few minutes left before they have to leave and so they decide to do one more thing before they go. Avoid this trap if at all possible. One more thing NEVER gets done in those few minutes and almost always results in you rushing out the door late.
Routines and habits can help us live a more ordered, effortless life which ultimately cuts down on our stress level too. Your children will learn these valuable habits from watching you and will ultimately be able to carry these same habits through life with them as well. As a single parent for most of my children’s school years, I can attest to the value of these much needed time management tips.
- Plan for the unexpected. As a rule, have your children arise 15 minutes earlier than normal every day. This extra time allows the children to wake up and prepare for school in a more relaxed way which ultimately will send them out of the door more prepared to learn & face the day. This also is an added cushion in case little Suzie spills koolaid on her school outfit and you need to quickly change her or Billy suddenly remembers there is one more paper he needs help with.
- Prepare the night before. One of the most valuable tools I taught my children was to always put their bookbags and other school items by the front door the night before. This way we were never running around frantically in the morning trying to collect not only their book bags, but everything that goes in them. We just casually grabbed their bags as we walked out the door.
- Plan and pack your lunch the night before. If you plan and pack your lunches the night before you can just grab those as well on your way out. The other big reward of doing it this way is that it adds a nice and relaxed time for the family to “hang out” together and have fun preparing the lunches together. As your children are eating their lunch at school, they’ll be reminded of the time you spent together preparing them.
If you are a small business owner like me, chances are that you wear many different hats. You are the sales person, the marketing person, the administrative person, the research person and the person that goes out on the job. With so many tasks to manage, it is very important to plan your week, to allow time for you to work in the various roles. It is equally important to come up with systems and procedures of how and when you will execute each task.
There’s no denying it, every school year starts off the same; an overwhelming amount of paperwork is brought into your home from school within the first few days. If you make plans now for how you are going to deal with it, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is.
- Leave your schedule open. Don’t make any plans for the first week. You can count on making a trip to get school supplies you didn’t know they would need. You’ll need time to deal with the paperwork and to discuss school rules, etc with your children.
- Use one central calendar for everything. Take time within the first week to merge the various school schedules onto the central calendar, and then toss or recycle the individual schedules. These schedules might include sports, lunch, days off, picture days, etc.
- Prepare for the paperwork. Gather insurance cards, immunization records and emergency contact information before school begins. This way you’ll be prepared to complete the paperwork when it arrives and get it back to school.
- Designate a place for school papers to land. It’s important to have a central location where all of the paperwork that needs your attention will land each day. Make sure your children are aware of the plan and that they know what they need to do.
As I’ve mentioned before, getting organized and dieting, or eating healthy, have alot in common. A big part of being successful in both areas is taking the time to make a plan. Once you take the time to make the plan, the execution is much simpler. Here are some healthy back to school tips from Dr Matt Wheeler with Corrections Chiropractics (You can sign up for their e-newsletter which always features lots of simple healthy tips.):
Being more productive at home just takes planning. If you take the time to map out your day in advance, you will get so much more accomplished, and you will have more time to spend doing the things you love to do.
If you don’t believe that you can be taught organizing skills, think again. My oldest daughter (23) was recently preparing for a trip out of town. She began planning (organizing) for the trip about 2 weeks ahead of time by starting a list of things she needed to bring or do before the trip. She had learned these organizing skills by living with me. Some of the skills were taught and some of them she just observed me doing. As a professional organizer, I got such a kick out of her list that I just had to share her outline.
- Things I need to do before I go. This included such things as laundry, buy film, get passport.
- Things I need to pack. This included clothes, jewelry, make-up, etc.
- Things I shouldn’t pack. These were the items that she would be wearing or needed to use the day of her flight. She would pack them after she got ready in the morning.
The Motive-aider is a programmable behavior modification conditioning device for making new habits and breaking old ones. It is worn on a belt or in a pocket. Periodically, at preset intervals, it emits a silent pulsing signal. Since you only feel the signal and no one can hear it, you can think of it as your personal, private reminder.
Though I struggle with time clutter, I seem to excel with time management. What I mean by that is that I am able to complete tasks in a more efficient way and so my time spent is very productive. A big part of the organizing services we offer is helping people set up systems that allow them to be more productive.
A bad habit that I have is that when a client or anyone else wants to schedule some of my time, I simply look to the next blank date in my calendar and pencil them in. From there, I begin to pencil in things around those initial appointments until my entire day, then entire week and eventually entire month is completely booked. At that point it is too late to take time out for myself and I end up exhausted.
Have you ever ended your day by thinking “Did I accomplish anything?” or maybe you wonder where all of the time went. If you don’t master your schedule, it will master you!
We normally think of clutter as physical objects, but there are many types of clutter that aren’t. Cluttering our mind with too much information, cluttering our body with too much junk food and cluttering our schedule with too many commitments are examples of other types of clutter.