Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Procrastinating is a habit!

August 28, 2017

I’ve been talking about habits and routines recently – although I took a break from this topic a couple of weeks ago to get on my soap box and talk about trash! Anyway, procrastination is one of the worst habits to adopt.

do it - procrastination concept

Think about it. Procrastinating is a habit. If you have a list of things you want to do and you have nothing in particular going on and nothing on your list is accomplished what happened? You found other things to do that were not on your list. You procrastinated, put off getting things done that you indicated on your list you wanted to do.

Let’s talk about this habit.

First of all, admit that procrastinating is a choice. Just like everything you do is a choice. You can choose to browse through your Facebook feed, watch television, read a book, play in the garden, needlepoint, watch a movie, putter about or whatever and be totally entertained for hours or you can choose to do a task from your list.

Next, go through your to-do list and estimate how long it will take you to complete each task. Write down the estimated length of time next to each item.

Now think about your available time.

Then rank your to-do list. Is there any task that is absolutely important to do today?

O.k. now, think about fun things.

Reward yourself for completing most – let’s say 80% – of your to-do list with a fun activity. What will you choose to do?

You can avoid procrastination by talking yourself out of it – if that’s what you want to do. It’s your choice.

Do you want to accomplish something that’s on your list today?

Decide what time will work with your schedule to tackle that task and, at the appointed time, go ahead and do it!

Remember procrastinating is a choice. Just like taking action is a choice. It’s up to you!

Write me back and let me know what you decided and how you’ll reward yourself!

Advertisements

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!

 

 

 

Now What? The Perfect Time?

November 18, 2015
if not now,when?

if not now when concept on blackboard

Is there such a thing as “the perfect time”? Sometimes we look for the perfect time to do .. you can fill in the blank with whatever project is looming on your horizon. Often we think something like this project will take a long time. Then we go on to say to ourselves ‘there’s no point in starting it now because I don’t have enough time’.
I tell clients to take just five minutes to get that project underway. My clients are always amazed by how much they can get done in the five to ten minutes that they have available. This jump starts the project and gets it off the ground.
I was looking for ‘the perfect time’ to make a phone call to a friend. For several months (that’s right, I said months!) I put on my calendar that I wanted to call my friend Jeanne. It never happened – there was never the perfect time to make that call. I should have picked up the phone even if just to say ‘I’m thinking about you’
Last week, sadly, I lost her to cancer. Jeanne and I became friends from the moment we met. We met at the pool at our apartment complex in Singapore. She was there with her 2 children and I was there with mine. I remember it was an overcast day and we were the only two families out by the pool. So, naturally, we started talking. Jeanne and her children had only arrived in Singapore a few weeks earlier. I had been there a few months so I could share some tips about the American School. It turned out that her son, Matt, and my son, Alex, shared the exact same birthday! They were not going to be in the same class but they would see each other at school. Jeanne’s daughter, Meghan, and my other son, Andy, would be in the same class. Another coincidence was that Jeanne and Andy shared the same birthday. Needless to say, she and I were inseparable. We played tennis, went exploring, and participated in volunteer activities together.
Since we moved back from Singapore we were in sporadic touch. Jeanne lived in the Midwest and I was in the Northeast and then in Atlanta. I didn’t plan visits to see my friend. We phoned and then were in touch on Facebook. I loved seeing her ‘likes’ on my DNQ Solutions Facebook page.
I knew Jeanne had been diagnosed with cancer but she made light of it. This was typical of Jeanne – always looking at the positive and talking of things other than herself. As I said before,I made a note to call her in my planner once a week for several months. Sadly, that phone call never happened. I thought to myself that I wanted to be able to sit down and have one of our long heart-to-heart talks for at least 30 minutes. I never set aside that time. I was looking for that ‘perfect time’.
I have learned a painful lesson. I recall the saying ‘there’s no time like the present’. I will now reach out to my friends even if only to leave a message saying I’m thinking about you when the spirit moves me. I want my friends to know that I value their friendship.
If you have a friend that you haven’t been in touch with for a while take a few minutes and reach out to them with a text, a phone call, or a letter – even if it’s not ‘the perfect time’!

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

The Holidays are Coming!

October 15, 2013

Have you noticed that advertising and talking about the holidays has started already? In the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens there was a short paragraph about grocery shopping for the holidays. It mentioned that you can save money by buying some non-perishable ingredients in bulk now before the holiday rush begins in earnest.

The cover of the November issue of Real Simple magazine talks about holiday entertaining made easy. Real Simple magazine is referring specifically to Thanksgiving but really you can apply the tips to other holiday gatherings.

I was shopping at a mall in Atlanta over the weekend and saw many holiday displays. One store had Christmas bears for sale another was selling Christmas tree ornaments and even had several decorated trees on display already! I was really flabbergasted! Christmas on display before Halloween.

Does all the advanced warning of the holidays’ arrival put you into panic mode or does it make you want to organize yourself early?

There is something to be said for making your list in preparation for the holidays. When you start preparing in advance you allow plenty of time to get things done without stress and you give yourself time to do things at a reasonable pace rather than rushing through. Another benefit to preparing in advance is that you save money. If you’re buying gifts for family and friends you can save money when you take advantage of seasonal sales. When you wait to the last minute you may indulge in impulse buying – just to get it done.

If we’re talking about Halloween make list of the candy you’ll buy, the costume you’ll rent (if you dress up), and the decorations for your front door (if you decorate). Make a note on your calendar to buy your pumpkin and set aside time to carve it. Thinking about these chores or tasks allows you to mentally prepare to actually follow through and accomplish them.

What about your list for Thanksgiving, Channukah or Christmas? Thanksgiving could be really easy if you’re not hosting a dinner! My recommendation is to think about your plan for each of these holidays

. What is your vision for each of the holidays?
* Will you be hosting an event?
* Do you like to attend certain plays or programs (like the holiday lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens)?
* Do you like to decorate your house – inside and out?
* Do you like to give homemade baked goods as gifts?
* Do you want to send out holiday cards?

All these wonderful traditions take time. It’s possible to do them all but take a look at your calendar, factor in your daily routine and then schedule time to dedicate to the traditions that will bring your vision for the holidays to life. Only schedule those things that honestly fit your vision and your schedule. Be sure to allow time to simply relax and enjoy!

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.

Overcoming Obstacles

September 19, 2012

I’m going to a conference in Chicago this week sponsored by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. The title of the conference is: Overcoming Obstacles. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the ICD and I am on the conference planning committee. My job as a member of the conference planning committee was to proof read the conference program book. So, I have read all the handouts from the various speakers! I am really looking forward to attending the presentations. The speakers are covering a fairly wide range of topics but each topic relates to an obstacle that many of us encounter daily. Here’s the presentation line up (courtesy of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization)

1. End Procrastination Now: Pause Ponder, Plan , Produce

2. Brain Injury and ADHD

3. Baby Steps – Radically Reducing Your Clients’ Time Clutter

4. Forgive For Good

5. Don’t Call Me Nuts! Beating the Stigma of Mental Illness

6. Walk in Their Shoes! (an experiential workshop that will give you new tools and a new appreciation of your elderly clients)

7. ADHD: What the Science Says

As a certified professional organizer specializing in chronic disorganization I am positive that each one of these presentations will provide me with new ways of approaching my work with clients. Are you wondering about the presentation on forgiveness? Well, think about this… many people blame themselves for the state of clutter or disorganization in their home and have a hard time moving past the blame. I am not a therapist but if I can have a few tips to present a client – different ways to look at the issue, perhaps I can refocus the client on the items to be organized.

Another huge benefit in attending this conference is networking with other professional organizers from around the world! Yes, I did say ‘around the world’. Last year, we had organizers from Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the United States. It’s fascinating to hear (and learn) what obstacles organizers in different parts of the US encounter as organizing challenges as well as those from other countries.

Flying Solo – Are You Moving into Your First Home?

June 19, 2012

Are you about to move into your first home away from your parents’? Are you a parent concerned about your child successfully living on his own?

At this time of year many young adults are moving into new situations. They could be moving into a dorm for the first time, moving into a house with friends and starting college or a new job, or perhaps they are newly married and setting up a first home. Whatever the situation there is so much to keep in mind.

Jonda Beattie and I are presenting a workshop in July in Metro-Atlanta which will cover topics like: setting up a budget, keeping up wiith paperwork, stocking a kitchen, and managing time. If you live in the Metro-Atlanta area come to the workshop – Flying Solo, July 20 from 10:00 – 11:00. The workshop will be at Spacemakers of America (11415 Old Roswell Road, Ste. 300, Alpharetta, GA) The $25 investment will allow you and a parent to attend.

If you are not able to come to the workshop but would like information on these topics, purchase my book, Flying Solo: A GUide to Organizing Your Home When You Leave Your Parents’ Nest. My book can be purchased through my website www.dnqsolutions.com or through Amazon.

I hope to see many of you at our workshop!

Do you really want to change?

October 22, 2011

Have you ever decided that you want to change something in your life? Maybe you have said to yourself that you want to exercise more or that you want to spend more time working on a hobby. Maybe you have told yourself that this year you only want to have clothes in your closet that you really wear or that this year you want to be more organized, have less clutter in your home, and be on time for all your appointments. You may have guessed that these are things I sometimes hear people say!   

The owner of the fitness studio I attend often posts thought provoking statements on the chalkboard outside the front door of the studio. This week the chalkboard reads “if nothing changes, nothing changes”. Dan frequently tells us if you don’t add more to your workout you won’t see the changes you are hoping for as a result working out.

If you really want to change then you have to make changes in your habits and routines. That is really hard to do and it takes time, perseverance, and patience. Small changes are the easiest to make. So, start with baby steps. Let’s say you have decided to only have clothes in your closet that you really wear. When you go to put an outfit together and you decide, after trying on a combination of clothes, that this particular combination doesn’t look right. Something just doesn’t make you feel like you want to walk out the door dressed this way. Don’t put those items back in your closet! Take a moment. Figure out which item (or items) is simply wrong. Put those things into a shopping bag. When the bag is full take it to a donation center, like Goodwill. Someone else will make great use of your clothes. If you follow this routine you will have only those clothes that you want to wear in your closet.

What is it in your life that you want to change? Are you just making noise or are you ready to do something differently in order to make that change you have been talking about happen?

My Journey

September 15, 2011

The journey I am going to tell you about is my experience in the Level III program to earn the designation CPO-CD with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. You see, for the past year and a half I have been reading books, writing papers and studying to enhance my understanding of chronic disorganization. This knowldege serves to improve my ability to provide great organizational assistance to my clients challenged by chronic disorganization. Today my journey ended with a final exam. It was an oral exam. The people administering the exam were wonderful – friendly and encouraging. However; I am not at my best in situations like this. I’ll find out later if I passed the exam.

As I left the conference room and had a chance to think about it I realized that, no matter what the result, the past 18 months have provided me with an invaluable experience. The homework combined with work, family, and my volunteer activities taught me even better time management and prioritizing skills. The vast amount of learning which took place during the sessions with my program coach is priceless.

Many people  have written that often it is not as much about the result as the journey and what you learn during the process. Whether or not I receive that passing grade this journey is one I am so thankful to have taken.