Archive for the ‘daily list’ Category

Do You Ever Feel Like A Hamster?

September 28, 2016

Business loop

I’ve been talking about moving and changing routines the past few blogposts. I was going to say weeks but I know I haven’t been posting every week – life has been getting in the way.  That leads me to the title of my blogpost this week.

Do you ever feel like a hamster? I’m not talking about a hamster who is idly nibbling on a carrot or a piece of apple. I’m talking about a hamster who is stuck in a wheel. No matter how fast or how long the hamster runs he never gets out of the wheel – until he steps jumps off.

Well, that’s how I’m feeling these days. No matter how much I do or what I change I can’t seem to catch up to the point that I feel in control. This might (you know it does) have something to do with the fact that I sometimes (often) take on many challenges at once.

Have you ever felt this way? Like there’s simply too much on your plate?

I want to tell you how I plan to get on top of all that I have going on. Maybe you can apply some of these strategies to your sense of overwhelm.

1.      Make a comprehensive list of all I have going on

a.      Chores

b.      Volunteer responsibilities

c.      Home improvement wants and needs

d.      Business responsibilities

e.      Hobbies

2.      Under each category make notes about the next steps to take – for example

a.      Errands to run

b.      Tasks to complete before the end of the year

3.      Get out my calendar

a.      Prioritize the tasks

b.      Schedule time in my calendar to complete the tasks

4.      Make a daily list of the things I want to accomplish

a.      Refer to may calendar

b.      Take into account appointments

c.      Remember to schedule time to exercise

d.      Also take time to relax

I know I will be able to jump off this hamster wheel I’m on when I take control of all these things that I have going on.

How about you? How will you regain control and jump off the hamster wheel?

Do You Have Time?

February 25, 2015

Do you wonder how some people seem to have more time in their day? You know, these are the people who accomplish many of their tasks during the day. They plow through their ‘to-do’ lists and still have time to exercise or relax over lunch with a friend.

Other people struggle to get even two items crossed off their ‘to-do’ list. Why is this? We all have the same number of hours in each day to use so why is it that some people accomplish more in the same amount of time?

I think we’re all so busy – our days are jam packed full – that we forget to stop and ask ourselves is this the best use of my time right now. When you ask yourself that question you might be surprised at the answer you give yourself.

Perhaps, instead of spending your time running a quick errand now you can combine that errand later in the day with picking the children up from school. Then, you’ll have time now to work on the project at home that you’d like to complete by the end of the month.

Maybe, you’re hosting the book club at your house later this week. What do you need to do to get ready for this event? Take a few minutes to write down all the small steps to take to make your home ready to welcome your friends. Then, schedule in your calendar to take care of these small steps. You’ll be much more relaxed and ready to talk about the book if you take the time to prepare yourself in advance.

Doing small tasks because you think you should be doing something is not always the best use of time. Take time to think about the things that matter most to you. What is really important to accomplish? Write it down. What are the small tasks that you can do – a little here and there? Write them down. Now get out your calendar and plan your time accordingly.

Before you know it you’ll be one of those people who get all the ‘to-dos’ on their ‘to-do’ list done!

For more tips on managing your time check out my book: Now What? A Simple Organizing Guide

Daily Routines?

January 27, 2015

Do you have routines that you follow day in and day out? Did you know that having a routine can save you time?

Routines save you time because the tasks that  make up the routine are simple and easy to complete in one or two steps. When you do these simple short tasks one followed by the other chores get done quickly!

What sorts of tasks do you think I’m talking about?

Which tasks will help you start your day?

My daily routines involve tasks that help me feel settled as I head out the door.

I make the bed, walk my dogs (by the way, walking the dogs first thing in the morning allows me peaceful time to think about the direction of my day and I get exercise – a double benefit!), get some breakfast and then check my indoor plants to see if they need water.

My evening routine involves making a to-do list for the next day. I tidy my desk and evaluate where I am in the work that I’m doing, think about my appointments for the next day, and gather all the items I need to take with me.

These routines don’t take long – maybe 15 minutes in the evening and about an hour in the morning. This is because my dogs and I usually walk for about 30 minutes. I have more information about daily routines in my book: Now What? A Simple Organizing Guide.

What daily routines can you create for yourself to make your days run more smoothly? Write me back, I’d love to know!

Resolutions

December 30, 2014

Do you make a New Year’s Resolution? I used to. It generally involved promising myself to exercise more and eat healthier meals – snack less.

I just read a post on Facebook from a life coach about her top 10 New Year’s resolutions. I loved reading them because they were all about doing small things for yourself. They were something like: rest more, let myself off the hook, schedule fun everyday…. these are wonderful to remember and not to hard to keep.

The resolutions that I used to make – promises to myself – were never kept. Well, maybe they were for about a month and then I forgot all about them. This New Year’s Eve I suggest that we follow this life coach’s example and write down a few (not more than 10) things that are easy to complete almost daily or at least weekly. Then post these resolutions somewhere you’ll see them daily. This way they will stay in your mind and hopefully on your calendar. Remember if you don’t schedule the time for yourself it probably won’t happen.

Another activity to engage in over the next few days is to write down your accomplishments from 2014. What are the projects that you completed – write them down. Did you take any trips, go to any conferences, have any adventures? Write them down and celebrate these marvelous accomplishments. I think it’s awesome to plan your next goals but I also think it’s great to remember and celebrate that which has already been tackled and successfully completed!

Here’s to remembering what was in 2014 and looking forward to what will be in 2015!

Happy New Year!

Tomorrow?

April 9, 2014

Do you like to put things (tasks) off to do tomorrow? If you do, I bet if you think about it you’ll admit that the things you put off until tomorrow continue to be put off again and again. The other expression of this action is procrastination. Sometimes I find that another more time sensitive task has appeared on my ‘to-do’ list and because my time is finite – I have only the time I have in which to take care of tasks – something gets bumped off my today list and rescheduled.

That word – rescheduled – is key here. I find nothing happens unless it is given a specific day and time.

Another key component to getting things done is to take care of the things you least want to do first. Perhaps you think it will take too much time and so you decide to put off this task that you don’t want to do until you have enough time to complete it all at once. In my experience, you never have enough time and if you just go ahead and start this dreaded task you may find it doesn’t take nearly as long as you anticipated that it would. Also, starting this dreaded task allows you to more clearly break it down into manageable smaller steps. So, start and do as much as you can in the time you have allotted to the task and then move on to other tasks that are scheduled for that day.

Something else to consider is that we’re all very busy. We have lots and lots to think about and to remember. Generally, it’s easier to remember things that we want to do. Sometimes, if we don’t particularly want to do something it’s easier to put it on the back burner and forget about it. I find that having a master list is a good way to stay on top of the tasks that are important to take care of. I make a daily list from that master list. If something is time sensitive I put the date (due date) beside the task. For instance, taxes must be mailed by April 15th. I must have them done by April 14th – sooner, if possible.

Making a list is a sure fire way to keep track of all tasks – especially the ones you dread. Putting things off until tomorrow will not make them go away. It just means that the task stays on your mind – even if it is in the back of your mind – for a longer period of time. Why not just dive in and get it done so that you can enjoy the rest of your day?

Are there certain tasks that you continually put off until tomorrow?

 

Wins!

August 20, 2013

Once a month I attend a meeting with several other women. Some of the women have known each other for years and years. They started out decades ago as colleagues and have maintained their friendships. They have a beautiful history together. I joined this group about a year ago. I’m just getting to know most of these women. However, two of the women in the group are colleagues of mine, fellow professional organizers. We three have known each other for about seven years. So, as you might imagine, it’s a very friendly group. This is my goals group. I am so thankful to be a part of this group!

As I said, we meet once a month. The meetings are generally in one of the member’s home and always are timed around a meal. Everyone brings something to contribute to the meal. It’s interesting that no one organizes the meal and it just works out. For instance for this month’s meeting 1 person brought a quiche, 1 brought veggies and dip, 1 brought fruit, and 1 brought chips. There was plenty for everyone and no duplications!

The meeting starts with a thought provoking inspirational quote. The member hosting the meeting finds and reads this to us. Then we start by going around the group and each person states what her ‘wins’ are for that month. Then we go around again and each person talks about what her goals are for the coming month.

I’m talking about this because this month was particularly meaningful to me and I wanted to share my thoughts about it with you. One of the members of our group said ‘I don’t have any wins this month’. The woman sitting next to her said ‘yes, you do!’ and she went on to elicit the wins from her friend.

We all do things that we must celebrate as wins. They may not appear on the surface to be things we feel we have accomplished but think about them again and we might say something like ‘I’m happy I did that’ or ‘ wow! that worked out well!’

Do you make a daily ‘to-do’ list? If you do, then you know the things you have done. Maybe some are routine tasks. Maybe you are working on a project and have broken that project down into smaller portions (measurable, achievable goals) and have completed a portion. Perhaps just getting through the day is an accomplishment.

Celebrate your wins. Remember them. Write them down and tell your friends. So often we talk about the things we haven’t done, want to do, or didn’t do well. I love being a part of a support group, my goals group. We celebrate each others wins and encourage each other.

Are you a member of a group such as the one I belong to?

If you aren’t, maybe you’d like to start one?

Summertime Scheduling

June 5, 2013

Summer ….don’t you just love summer? It’s a great time to relax, kick back and enjoy all the fun things we can do outside with friends and family; walks in the park, going canoeing, tubing sailing, swimming, attending parades and more.

How do you schedule those fun activities and take care of your household chores and garden?

Make your calendar your best friend. Schedule your daily tasks and make a weekly or bi-weekly household chores list so that you regularly hit all the chores you need to do to keep your home organized. Have the chores be a family affair so that you are not the only one taking care of everything. Share the wealth! Rotate the chores so that each person living in the home has a chance to tackle almost every chore. Having said that, if you have small children you will want to make the chores you assign to them age appropriate. The sooner your children learn to help out around the house the better it will be for you and for them. You are teaching them skills they will have for the rest of their lives!

Scheduling and prioritizing your chores will allow you to have some flex time for all the fun summer time activities in which we all like to participate! One of my favorite summer activities is gardening!

I love to be out in my garden. I have a large flower garden and really enjoy the weeding, clipping, and other chores that go hand in hand with having a lovely garden. I schedule a little gardening time into my day everyday that it’s not pouring rain. I do that so that I continue to enjoy the process and so that I don’t become overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.

If I did not work in my garden consistently I would have more weeds than flowers. The result would be a garden that is not particularly lovely and it would be a monumental chore to get the garden back in shape. Doing a little bit everyday allows me to keep the weeds to a bare minimum, even if I miss a day here or there it’s O.K.

For more information on scheduling household chores you can download The Sample Weekly Cleaning Routine for a small fee from my website.

Take Time to Save Time

May 21, 2013

Quite often I hear things like this from my clients: I don’t know where to start; I have so much to do, I don’t know what to do first; I sit around and think of all the things I have to take care of and by the time I’ve decided what to do I don’t have time to do it.

Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you? Do you ever find yourself wondering what task to begin first or having so much to do that you spend all of your time trying to remember all those things and doing none of them. Then, perhaps, you feel a little guilty or unhappy with yourself because so much time has gone by and nothing has been accomplished.

I suggest that you take the time to make a list. Taking the time to write everything down (either on paper or electronically) will free your mind of having to remember all the tasks you want to complete. Then you can take a look at your calendar, review your schedule, and decide which tasks you have enough time to either complete or, at least, start.

When should you make this list? That’s up to you. What day and time makes the most sense to you? I make my master list on Sunday afternoons. I take a look at what I’ve accomplished during the preceding week and think about what I’d like to get done this week. Then I write everything down, recognizing that not everything will get done but if it’s on my list, I know I won’t forget! Every evening, after work, I make a short list for the next day. I first review my master list that I made Sunday afternoon, I look at my calendar see what time I have available to use and schedule my tasks accordingly.

I created the daily habit of doing this every evening because then I don’t worry during the night about what I have to do the next day. Taking the time in the evening saves me time in the morning – I know what I’m doing. I’ve already reviewed my tasks and prioritized them. This is not to say that I can always, everyday stick to my list and complete it – I can not. However, because I have this method and it works for me, when other unexpected things have to be taken care of first I am confident that I can juggle my schedule and manage the top priority tasks.

What do I do first?

May 1, 2012

I am often asked this question by some clients with lengthy ‘to-do’ lists and by other clients with multiple large scale projects to complete. I do not answer this question directly rather ask my clients to think through the process of prioritizing. They define for me (and in that process clarify to themselves) the importance of the project. Is it time sensitive? What is the ripple effect of this project? Does a colleague’s project hinge on the completion of this project?  What will happen if this project is delayed in order to finish another project? Is this project something the client wants to do for himself or is someone else asking this project be done?

Once these questions are answered I ask my client to look at his calendar. I am a firm believer that nothing happens unless it is scheduled. The trick is to be careful not to schedule so many things into a time slot (or into a day) that you become overwhelmed just looking at your daily calendar. Another trick is to group like things. In other words, if my client has several phone calls to make on his ‘to-do’list I suggest he set aside a block of time and make all those calls. Next, look at the errands that are on a ‘to-do’ list. Are there any errands in the same vicinity? Which ones can be easily done one after the other? It saves my clients time to organize their calls and errands this way.

Something else to consider, when my client has a large scale project that is overwhelming the best tip I can give is to break the project down into manageable parts. Look at the pieces of the project separately and decide when to start. Assign a little time each day until that portion of the project is finished. Set a timer for 20 minutes when the timer rings come to a logical stopping point and walk away from the project. Maybe take care of one or two small tasks. Then begin the next part of the project. Do this until the entire project is finished. Believe me, you’ll be finished before you know it because it’s not overwhelming when broken apart into manageable pieces.

If you are asking “What do I do first?” see if answering the questions I pose my clients help you arrive at a starting point.

Be Realistic

February 13, 2012

Are you realistic in what you expect to accomplish each day? How do you decide what to do and what can wait for another day? I make a daily list of the tasks I want to do and the errands I need to run every night before I leave my office. I spend some time thinking it through, deciding what is realistic and what is not. Then I look at my calendar and schedule my tasks into my day. There are a few important things to consider. Ask yourself if the task is time sensitive. Does the task have a dealine? For instance, is it a bill that must be paid by a certain date or an invitation that requires a response? Are you trying to cram too many things into a short amount of time? Can something wait for another day? I believe it is important to be realistic. When a list becomes too lengthy it is almost self-defeating. Looking at a lengthy list makes you think there’s sooo much to do, not enough time, so why bother starting because it will be impossible to finish. When you keep your list short and manageable it is easy to tackle the tasks one by one. It becomes even easier when you assign a specific time to each task. Then you know exactly when you are doing what. When you are realistic you are in control so, be realistic!