Posted by on 1/11/2020 to Let's Talk: Relax, Soak and Unwind after Work
Reducing Stress the Old Fashion Way - Part 11: How to Organize your Time & Day
So you are having trouble organizing your day, and the time you have to complete tasks just doesn't seem to be enough, right? Let's face it, the world as we know it requires commitment, passion, drive and just plain hard work to try and stay ahead, and for that matter just staying caught up. Trust me, I get it; kids, work, family time, self-time, traveling, sleep, eating healthy, all while trying to maintain a level head about yourself. It's extremely hard, it can ware you down.
We have discussed over the past several weeks on many of our blog posts about being organized, and how becoming a more organized person can hopefully lead to a less stressful approach to life. In this post, we'd like to bring all of this together to help you get through your days easier. Follow these tips on how to better organize your day and the limited time you have within it!
It is so cliche, but you have to attempt to find time for yourself. Whether that be a quick meditation session, a daily exercise, yoga, maintaining a healthy eating pattern, etc. Without this concept, things will catch up to you at some point, maybe not in the short term, but eventually you are going to ware down. So when strategizing on ways to better organize your day, this concept has to be included in there somewhere, so make it a priority now, get consistent with it now, and don't try to fill in the gaps later.
Sure, there are days in which you're going to get more sleep then others, it happens to us all. But, getting a proper nights rest or catching up on missed sleep time is a must to keep going at a consistent pace. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute have some great resources on the benefits of sleep in your life. Again, this is not something you worry about later, it's something you need to prioritize now in your life for the long haul.
So before you start planning your days and figuring out how you are actually going to spend your time completing tasks, look at how you have done things in the past. What seems to be working, and whats not anymore? Things change, priorities change, and you need to adapt to the change. I for one was someone for a long time who just went about my day(s) without structure, even though I thought I was doing or completing tasks the best way I could, when I actually sat down and thought about how I was structuring my days, I realized I wasted a lot of time.
Like anything else in your life, take time to reflect. Make a list of ways in which you could or should have been more efficient on a particular day and incorporate that into future planning.
Have a consistent base. What do I mean? Let's say you're having trouble with meal prep. An idea for consistency is to go to the grocery store the same day every week, and meal prep the same 2 days every week. For instance, meal prep on Sunday, and Wednesdays. There are certain tasks that you do every week. Sure, certain details will change day-to-day with work or your home life, but there is a lot that stays the same, right? Think about tasks that your can schedule so that way every week it becomes consistent, and becomes the norm in your mind.
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it will always work, and many people ignore it. I can't tell you how many times I have walked around the day with a small planner, constantly referring to it as the day goes on, of my "To Do's". Without it I probably would be lost. I work with a lot of people who have planners and schedulers and those people are almost always one step ahead of the game, because there planner has almost become like a map of there day that they follow, plus it allows them to constantly be aware of things coming up. These lists help. Try it. Color code your most important tasks that have to get done at a specific time on a specific day.
Don't Take on the World by Yourself:
We all want to be superheros, right? Even superheroes need help and that's okay. Ask yourself, "Can I delegate some of my tasks for the day to a friend, or a family member?" Work smarter, not harder. Distribute certain tasks to specific members of the household.
Be open-minded with your schedule. Once you have established a good base around how your weekday(s) will run vs. your weekend(s), be open-minded with events that come up and how you can quickly re-evaluate your day and time to fit those events in. Being able to ad-lib will always be necessary at specific times. Be advised as well that you may not be able to always fit something in and that's okay. Prioritize with each incoming piece of information and remember that your prioritize will always be somewhat different then someone else.
I see this concept talked about all the time relating to how to organize your day, and it's for good reason. Be honest with yourself. Don't schedule life events right on top of one another. If you think an errand is going to take approximately 30 minutes, plan for 45. Give yourself a buffer in-between events. Usually you will find some events or errands take longer then expected, and then some are less, but its impossible to be spot on all the time.
This is one of the most crucial concepts in creating unneeded anxiety or stress. So remember, part of the planning process is to give yourself additional time for let's say; that doctors appointment., a teacher conference, or a presentation.
Let's face it, the digital world and social media has brought about a lot of change to our daily routines. Some may argue for the good, while others opinions differ. What we do know is that there are many opportunities to use apps, social media and other mediums to save yourself time. Have a quick Facetime meeting, utilize a simple email to change a time or to ask questions to someone instead of face-to-face if it's something that doesn't need a physical meeting or contact.
To many people, the concept of planning ahead, means different things. To one person this may mean a week ahead, others it means months and for some even years. Figure out what this concept means to you. For me this means I sit down with my significant other once a week and we casually brainstorm what things we have coming up in the future. That could be next week, or it could be a plan for next summer. Discuss, communicate with family and friends often, this goes a long way.
Limit Social Media/TV time.:
So in many ways using certain social media platforms to communicate are great and HUGE time savers, however if you're on them just to scroll through Facebook or Twitter posts, then you are probably not using your time wisely. With that said, you should be able to have fun with those sorts of platforms as well, just be mindful of how many things you have going on that particular day/week.
Have an "Off" Button:
Know how to turn "work mode" off when it's family time. Get more out of the time you actually have with your family and friends. Stay away from talking about work, unless you need to vent, of course. Spend that time with your loved ones to enjoy there company. Get that meeting you have tomorrow out of your head, at least for a few hours and de-stress. Plus you can spend some of this time planning out and organizing family events, kids sports events, vacations, etc.
How to Say No:
This is one of the hardest concepts I had to overcome. I always want to be available, and I always want to please people and it makes it very difficult to say no sometimes. If this is something you struggle with, know that you are not alone and it's okay. I still struggle with it and sometimes take on to much to this day, however over the years I have said no to many things I may not have prior, and it always lends itself to less stress and usually more time with my family and doing things that I actual want to do.
I hope some of these tips rejuvenate and revitalize some old, lost or maybe even sparked some new ideas for how you can better organize your day and time. We greatly appreciate you stopping by and hope you are having a great new year!
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Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency.