Harold Taylor, the Canadian time management expert touts that you can’t manage time. The best you can do is to make sure you spend the limited time you have (the same amount of time we all have) with the people and things that mean the most to you.
Hmmm… I guess you’d have to know exactly who and what are at the top of your priorities. So, when was the last time you sat down and contemplated what belongs on that exclusive list?
Hint: now’s a good time!
Rock ‘n Roll!
Stephen Covey of Franklin Covey and all the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” books says we have to fill our container with the ‘big rocks’ first. Those being the most important things in our lives: our family and closest friends, our ‘life’s work’, the things that feed our body and soul. Only after we attend to them do we add the ‘little rocks’ (some may be important, but not necessarily the most vital things).
While it takes a certain degree of discipline to keep us from wasting our precious time, if those big things we initially identified really are big things, it’s worth it. My advice: schedule important people, places and things into your day way ahead of time. And don’t forget to schedule time with yourself to exercise, rejuvenate and have fun. (That’s what’s often referred to as ‘sharpening the saw’.)
Don’t let another week go by where you said something was important to you but you didn’t actually spend time with it. Utilize your most energetic time of the day for your most important tasks (and people). Conversely, use your least peak times for more mundane tasks (did someone mention filing?). Julie Morgenstern, the world-renowned professional organizer wrote a book to help you with all that: “Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work”.
But what about all those other things that take up so much time? When are you going to find the time to do them? Establishing mini-routines at the beginning and end of each day can serve several purposes. It has a centering effect, it gets you on somewhat of a predictable schedule, and it insures that you attend to them on a regular basis.
My morning mini routine involves things like quickly posting to social media, following up with contacts from the day before and loading supplies into my car from my garage inventory. My evening routine includes making a note of the commitments I’ve made that day, prepping my receipts/deposit slips for my bookkeeper and putting away things to prevent a clutter buildup by week’s end. And I’m not talking about hours each day, just minutes. But that’s the beauty of mini routines. Work at things a little bit each day and you keep up with them. If you put it off and wait until the end of the week, you’re likely to be overwhelmed with all you have to do.
Another tool to help you keep up is to have standard checklists for daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly tasks. I’ll cover checklists in another newsletter soon.
One last thing… after you’ve identified the most important things in your life, take a good look at the ‘time wasters’ that might be lurking around every corner. Here’s where you need to get ruthless! Mindless TV shows wouldn’t be a big or even a little rock. Or shopping for the heck of it. Or leafing through junk mail. Stop wasting your time on things that don’t serve you. Your time is worth more than that. You’re worth more than that!
Take time to think about the life you want to create for yourself. What’s important, vital, essential, valuable, critical, necessary, useful, precious, loved or cherished? That’s what (and who!) you want to fill your life with! Take a discerning look at the ‘things’ in your world. If they don’t fall into these categories, maybe it’s time to be ruthless. Have the courage to let go of things that don’t serve you, that don’t bring value to your life. It may not be easy, especially at first. But it is worth the time and effort. You are worth the time and effort!
And make a point not to bring in new possessions unless they meet that criteria as well. A side benefit of that whole process is that you will have less ‘stuff’ to deal with overall. And it’ll certainly be easier to ‘keep up’ with it all when it has demonstrated value to you.
If you need a little help determining the mini routines or checklists that would really serve you the best, consider contacting me. I can help you with ‘values clarification’ and making the most out of the 24 hours you have each day. It’s not rocket science but it often requires a thoughtful process with someone who does it all the time.
And remember, being organized is just another way of being prepared. With simple and sustainable systems in place, you can prepare your home for guests, prepare your office for productivity, prepare your life for fun and relaxation! But don’t forget to…
Send In Maureen, LLC
Are you familiar with The Blue Sky Guide? That great coupon book that lists savings for everything from yard and garden to dining and entertainment? Well it’s now called The Chinook Book and for the first time, Send In Maureen has a coupon in it! (I also have a limited supply of the Chinook Books available for purchase. Just let me know if you want one.)