Reader-Submitted Time Organization Tips
- I used to get myself into these messes where I couldn’t get things done because of a “ack of time.” I finally figured out the reason. I kept underestimating the time I thought I needed to get things done. So, come the end of the day, I was so far behind that I was missing appointments and having to put things off. Nowadays, whenever I estimate the time to do something, I always double it. I might even triple it if I suspect I could run into some problems. Now I’m not falling behind any more. (And my estimates come closer to the actual time things take to do!)
- Ever since she was a kid, my little sister had the problem of sleeping right though the morning alarm clock. Then she would have to rush around to get to school on time (later, it was a problem getting to work).
Knowing she had this problem, she got as much of her morning “work” done the night before as she could. She would have her morning breakfast set out and ready to eat (cold cereal). She bought one of those coffee pots you could program to make coffee at a certain hour, and she set it for breakfast time. She had all the clothing she would wear the next day ironed and set out on a single hangar, the shoes she would wear beside them. She had all her jewelry, her watch, and her glasses in a single basket on a table near the clothes.
Before she changed her schedule, she would pack her lunch in the morning, but that was taking up so much time. she began buying her lunch. That had the added benefit of getting her out of the office for a while, too.
She kept oversleeping, though, and she finally solved the problem once and for all by setting up a business she could run at home and that didn’t depend on her getting up early every day.
- I used to have to carry around one of those big, fat “day timer” books, I wrote in it everything I was going to do that day, that week, that month, that year, and that century. I think I spent more time organizing tasks than actually doing them.
I got rid of that thing when those little hand-held personal assistants came out – PDA’s or whatever they call those little computers with the tiny keys. Mine is great, but I suspect I could easily get by with one of those “Things To Do” lists. You don’t have to worry about a battery going dead on one of those. Besides, crossing items off a list as you complete them gives you a big sense of satisfaction. I’m not kidding!
- It’s easy to procrastinate and get behind schedule when you’ve got a bunch of things to do that are tedious or downright unpleasant. That’s the way I feel about housework. (Doesn’t everybody?) But that stuff has got to be done.
I set an egg timer so that I work for 30 minutes. It’s easier when you know you’ll only be spending 30 minutes working. Then I’ll reward myself with a 15 minute break doing something fun, like reading a book. The timer keeps me from making the breaks too long. I get all the chores done quickly, I haven’t wasted any time, and I manage to schedule in some leisure time.
- I took some index cards and labeled them Job, House, School, Trips, Scouts, Church, Purchases, Events, Bills, and [!!!]. That last one is for things that need to be done ASAP. I taped the cards along the top of a big whiteboard set up in the kitchen where everyone can see it. Along the left side, I wrote the days of the week. Under each heading, any of us can place Post-It notes, each one having a task that needs to be done by a particular day. Whoever takes on a chore can carry the note with him and toss it when the task is done. My husband accused me of being obsessive-compulsive about this, but since I began using this method, we get so much more done and end up having more time to have fun.
- If you’re not good at organizing, hand off that task to someone who is while you concentrate your efforts within your strong areas. As things go along, be prepared to change and revise duties so that people in your group don’t burn out by giving more than they can comfortably handle.