Posts Tagged ‘control’

Can You Ever Really Be Done?

June 15, 2016

 

Close-up embroidery

I want to continue a discussion about getting to the bottom of your ‘to-do’ list. I talked last week about finishing the tasks on your ‘to-do’ list and a strategy I have been using with great success! The strategy is to assign a group of tasks related to a specific topic to a day.

Now, I’m wondering if any of you reading this have ever felt the way I do on occasion. Sometimes I find myself thinking ‘when I get this, this, and this done then I will have time to relax and take care of something I really WANT to do’.

The truth is that there will always be things to do. That’s what life is all about. Some things are chores, some things are fun, some things are hard and some are easy. But there are always, always things to be done whether or not you chose to put them on a list.

How do you fit in the little (or big) things that you want to do that you (I) keep putting off until I get all these other things done? I have decided to schedule time into my weekly plan for the projects that are near and dear to my heart. For me, it’s needlepoint. I have a beautiful needlepoint canvas that I’ve been slowly working on. Actually, I had been thinking about working on it but had been neglecting it as I was so focused on getting other things done!  I had hope to have it finished by the summer. That’s not happening. I had been letting other things take priority over my needlepoint.

Since I started last week grouping my tasks and getting to the bottom of my daily ‘to-do’ list I’ve been able to plan time into my day – every day – for a little needlepoint. I talking about a ½ hour or so. This small change in my routine has made an incredible difference in my ability to feel more in control of all the things (tasks) on my mind.

Is there a small change that you want to make in your routine that will help you feel more in control? Do you have things that you’ve been putting off until everything else is done?

 

 

 

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Going from ‘To-Do’ to Done

June 8, 2016

How long is your ‘to-do’ list? Do you have some things that never seem to leave it? I think you know what I’m talking about. These are the things that you just don’t really want to do so you leave them to the end of the day when you realize that you simply don’t have time to do them. Then you transfer those things to the list for the next day. I wonder if any of you reading this have ever done that? Actually, I’m sure you have but the question is really will you admit to doing it?

I freely admit that I have done this in the past and probably will do so again in the future. But I tried a different technique today. One that I want to share with you. I’m very proud to day that everything on today’s list will be done as soon as I finish this blog.

What did I do differently?

To Do List So Many Things

Over the weekend I looked at my calendar. Then I grouped my ‘to-dos’ by category. I assigned each category a block of time during the week. Today, for instance, I’m taking care of all things related to volunteer committee I’m working on. I made some phone calls, wrote some e-mails, and did some filing all related to this volunteer committee. It feels so wonderful to be completely caught up with those tasks.

Once I had finished that work I went on to respond to a few lingering messages that I knew I could handle in five minutes or less. What a relief! I won’t be transferring any of these things to tomorrow’s list.

I like managing my time this way. Grouping the tasks related to one topic has allowed me to think clearly about this subject alone. I’ve made more progress today than I ever thought possible in a few hours. Things that I had put off are done and I have a good sense of what I will work on next.

If you’re having trouble going from ‘to-do’ to done why don’t you try this method. I learned this from Mike Vardy at the NAPO2016 conference here in Atlanta. He talks about task management rather than time management because in all honesty we can never take control of time. Time will always march on. We can control the tasks we do in the amount of time we have.

Will you give this a try? Let me know!

 

 

 

Feeling Overwhelmed?

February 18, 2014

What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Do you walk away from whatever it is that is overwhelming you? Many of my clients are challenged by that feeling of overwhelm. It doesn’t matter if it is piles of paper, too much to do and too little time, too many emails to respond to or deal with or too many household chores when you’re feeling overwhelmed you don’t know where to start.

My advice is to pick a place and start small. If we’re talking about household chores, look at your calendar, figure out how much time you can give to this task, turn on some music that you love – it should probably be upbeat – something you can (and want to) move to, set your timer for the allotted amount of time, and start. You don’t have to finish. When the timer goes off you’re done! Do the same thing again everyday for a week tackling a different spot each day. Before you know it those household chores won’t be so monumental.

Use the same technique to conquer your piles of paper. Start with one pile and for a specific amount of time. Label each piece of paper with its next action. File it appropriately. I’ll talk more about filing paper next week. The point is if you start tackling the paper a little bit at a time you will get control of it.

If your to do list has too much on it and that is overwhelming you try to delegate some items. Then, look at the tasks you can’t delegate and prioritize the list. Now, pull out your calendar and schedule a few of the tasks each day. Taking action on these items will reduce your feeling of overwhelm. Try to only have two or three of your ‘to-dos’ scheduled on any one day. It’s less imposing when you have only a few things to take care of.

Small steps can have a big result as long as you keep taking those small steps forward! Give yourself permission to only do a little bit at a time. Don’t think about ALL you have to do – that is overwhelming. Focus on the small tasks you’ve set aside to tackle today. Do them, reward yourself and be done.

Let me know if this helps reduce your feeling of overwhelm!

Paper piles?

January 28, 2014

Paper is everywhere. As much as we want to be paperless it still comes in our homes. What do you do with it? How do you keep from having paper avalanches? How do you stay on top of the things you have to know and do?

These are all questions that have come my way from time to time during the course of a home-office organizing session.

Paper can be managed but you must get in the habit of dealing with it everyday.

Here are a few quick tips:

1. Sort the paper as it comes in your house into the following categories: File, Shred, Recycle, Toss

2. Have a desk top action file holder. Create action files. These could be something like: Bills to pay, Articles to read, Pending or Things to think about, Follow up …

3. Sort the papers to file into your action files

4. Schedule a day every week to go through and work on your action files.

This system works and will help you gain control over the incoming paper. The next step is to have a main filing system that resonates with you. It is critical that you know where to put the documents you need to file and even more critical that you can find them when you need them. For this to happen, your filing system must make sense to you. It can be alphabetical, categorical or a mix. Whatever works for you is how it should be set up.

Once it’s set up – use it. File those papers, don’t pile them!

Are You Organized?

January 17, 2013

What does organized look like? I believe that being organized feels and looks different for everyone. Some people like having a little bit of clutter or disarray around. They are really O.K. with that. They know they are organized because they can find what they are looking for, the amount of clutter they allow to accumulate does not stress them out, and they feel in control of their environment. Other people get stressed when there are a few items lurking around without homes. These people like to have everything put away and do not allow any clutter to accumulate.

Part of my job as a professional organizer is to find out what organized looks like for each of my clients. Everyone of my clients has a unique definition. Helping each of my clients define organized and then working with them to achieve that sense and feeling of being organized is my passion.

This is not to say that you can work to become organized, achieve that feeling of being organized and then stop. Being organized is a constant work in progress. This is because life is constantly evolving. What works for you this month may not work for you next month.

Once you have your definition of being organized and you get organized then you have to have a strategy or system to maintain the organization. When your circumstances change or when life tosses you a challenge take a step back, reassess your defintion of organized and then work to achieve it again.

Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:
1. create a daily routine
2. Put things away when you are finished with them (later rarely happens)
3. Only have things in your home that you either love, use or both
4. If you don’t love an item or you don’t use it then let someone else have it!
5. Jump start your organizing process by hiring a professional organizer

The Benefits of Being Prepared

April 24, 2012

I read an interesting comment from a friend and colleague, Geralin Thomas, last week. She said (and I’m paraphrasing) ‘I’m the person you want to sit next to on an airplane. I always carry extra magazines, snacks, a nail file and …’ She is prepared to wait. There is a huge benefit in this. Geralin won’t be bored and neither will the person sitting next to her.  When I leave my house for the day I always bring extra bottles of water in a small cooler – just in case. Generally I also have a stash of snacks in that cooler in case I don’t have time to stop for lunch. I also have garbage bags – clear, white, and black – for easy identification. Sometimes I need to see, at a glance, which bag holds recycling, which one is for shredding, and which is for donations. The milk crate in the trunk of my car holds the collection of garbage bags and paper towels, wet wipes and an assortment of other items I use for work. I have extra blank files and a labeler in my tote bag in case I need to sort papers and organize files.  Often, when I go out at night I take a sweater – even in the summer! Some people, and I am one, get really chilled in cold restaurants or movie theatres. So, rather than complain, I bring a sweater. I find many benefits to being prepared. Before I leave my house I think through my day trying to anticipate the sorts of things I will need for my work and my personal use. I have a basic check list to ensure I don’t forget any usual items. This helps me feel really in control and organized when I leave the house. So, how do you prepare yourself for the day ahead? Do you make a list of activities and then gather the items you need to bring along? Do you prepare the night before or do you rush around in the early morning?

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!