Mondays are great for starting new things: diets, books, exercise programs, etc.
Is there a task that’s been on your mind, but you just haven’t gotten around to it?
For me, it’s a never-ending list. I’m the typical Liberal Arts major with a variety of interests:
- Continuing Ed
I’m trying to experiment with a (mostly) vegetarian diet, so that means exploring various cooking blogs. Gone are the days when we had a couple of recipe books to consult. Now the Internet offers too many resources and I find myself scrolling endlessly.
The list of books I want to read is fairly extensive, as well. Classics, nonfiction, memoirs…they’re all fair game.
Regardless of my location or activity, I’m always looking for the next great photo. I’ve accumulated so many there’s now a backlog to edit and categorize.
I also enjoy taking online courses and my desire “to get crafty” goes back to kindergarten.
However, the first order of business is completing the unfinished items on the “to do” list.
I have a habit of starting new projects before finishing current ones. Ultimately, I find myself feeling overwhelmed.
There’s a wealth of articles about how to get organized both mentally and physically. In addition, there are also many tools available, both digital and physical to help us accomplish this.
While the particular methods may vary from one individual to the next, the following three suggestions are a good place to get started:
- Brainstorm a Blueprint
Remember that there’s only so much time in a day (or a week, month, etc.) Creating a list that’s realistic will increase our chances for success. We can always update as we go along. Keep the list to a sensible size: fifteen items are intimidating, while five seems doable. Feeling like we can accomplish our goals makes it more likely to occur.
Some tasks are time-sensitive. Prioritizing our list according to impending deadlines is important. If we have overnight company coming it’s best to finish painting the guest room before cleaning the garage.
We should also prioritize based on other criteria: how long will the job take? Is it an inside or outside job? Is weather an issue? What other obligations are coming up on our calendars?
Taking these things into consideration will result in a more practical blueprint.
- Choose and Use
It’s easy to plan out things in our heads because that can be done anywhere, simultaneously with other tasks. I’ll go over what I need to do while driving, eating, working, doing laundry, exercising, etc. Sometimes I even do this while sleeping!
However, until I get it out of my brain very little actually gets done. There are so many things and people competing for our time that it’s easy to get distracted.
My personal favorite is a spreadsheet. It can be modified, stored digitally, and printed out as needed.
Choose your favorite method and use it consistently.
- Less is More
They say that a messy desk is the sign of genius and that may be true. But, I’m a less is more kind of girl.
It’s easier to focus when the workspace contains only what’s needed for the current project. Extra items can distract us from our work. A pile of mail may remind us of a bill that needs to be paid or an RSVP that must be mailed.
In some cases, we stop what we’re doing altogether and switch to something else. At the very least we lose time thinking about other things and then trying to get back on track. This is disastrous in terms of time management.
Remember: Distractions = wasted time
There are many more suggestions to becoming better organized and to accomplish that we must adapt our needs to our personal style. Doing it in a way that’s enjoyable will boost our chances of achieving our goals.
I’m going to take my own advice and start with a short, doable list like the one above. Then I’m going to arrange it in a spreadsheet and make sure my workspace includes only what I need.
Of course, I’m always open to new ideas…
What tips have helped you become more productive?