I e-mailed my networking group colleagues and asked them to reply with their biggest organizing challenge. These people are millennials through Baby Boomers in age. Many of them have children living in their homes. All are active in their communities in addition to working full-time in their businesses.
A whopping 80% of the group independently replied that time organization was their biggest organizing challenge.I believe them. Although each of us has the same 168 hours to work, sleep, eat, and play every week, some of us have more to show for those 168 hours than others. In fact, I would go so far as to say that our other organizing challenges, such as having paper clutter and too much stuff, have their roots in ineffective use of our time.
My colleagues described their time challenges in three main problem areas: finding the time to do what they want to do, taking the time to follow-up, and dealing with distractions. This week, I’ll talk about the first area:
There is some truth to the saying, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.” We have many, possibly too many, things we need or want to do.
The first secret to time organization must be to identify your priorities for how you wish to spend your time. Your priorities reflect the things that are most valuable to you. They include your roles in life (ex: spouse, parent, worker, volunteer, etc.) and the things you do to take care of yourself, such as exercise and recreational activities. The people we admire for “getting things done” have identified their priorities-where they choose to spend their time.
Those people also know the second secret to time organization: They schedule (yes, in their calendar) specific buckets of time to do the things they want to do. They block out buckets of time for date night with their spouse, family time, personal time, and work before the week begins. They fill up their calendar with their priorities BEFORE it can get filled up with anything else.
People who organize their time successfully also take a third step: They show up! They stick to the plan they made. When a conflict in priorities arises, they consciously re-evaluate and switch their time buckets around on their calendar, if needed.
What about all those other things that look so interesting? You say you want to take up scrapbooking, photography, bird watching, and be president of the PTA. When will you do those things? When they become priorities-when doing those things becomes more important to you than other things you’re doing right now. You will need to make some choices about how you want to spend your time.
Whether you are organizing your time or purging your clothes closet, you are making choices about what is most important to you. That’s why it can be difficult! We like everything we have and we want to do everything that crosses our paths. But when everything is equally important, nothing is important. So we have to make some hard choices. All the clothes you’ve had since high school won’t fit in your closet. Everything you want to do for the rest of your life won’t fit into your 168 hours this week. Look at your calendar. Does it reflect who you are and who you want to become?
Join the discussion! How do you schedule time for your priorities? What challenges are you having? Click the review link below to get started.
Certified Professional Organizer
Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization
President, Absolutely Organized, LLC (located in Baltimore and Atlanta)
Past President, Institute for Challenging Disorganization