So much to do. So little time!

Is that how you feel, everyday, all the time? So much to do, so little time!

Me, too, especially lately. We have two options: (1) keep plugging along at the same pace (doing what we have always done–signs of insanity), or (2) we make a conscious decision to become more organized, efficient, and timely.

I learned the other day we all have the same 10,800 minutes in a week. Well, if I look at it that way, I can certainly manage those minutes better!

In recent research, I have seen a pattern in self-management articles. Following is a recap.

1. Is your current organizational space working for you? Recall a time you were under the gun, in a time crunch; were you able to find what you needed (files, materials, papers), focus on the task, research and complete the job? If yes, then your current organizational space may suit your personal needs. If no, then you may consider identifying a new strategy. Organization is a personal preference. I can remember working with a wonderfully kind, great veterinarian. I have no idea how he found anything in his work space, but he managed, somehow!

2. With that said, we can all do a quarterly decluttering of our desk. It can be psychologically stressful always looking at a messy desk, thinking, “I really need to clean my desk,” day after day. My new plan, unclutter my desk on a quarterly basis. I am placing a note that reads “tend to organizational space on my desk” in my google phone calendar (populating to my computer simultaneously–how cool is that?) right now! When I travel for work, I typically use that as an excuse to clean my desk (I prefer to come back to a tidy office). Here is a link to a video that may inspire you to reorganize your desk, http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-organize-a-desk

Quick side-note, January 14th is National Clean Off Your Desk Day! Truly, that may be the one day to really focus on the task and get ‘er done! http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/clean_living/unclutter_that_desk.aspx

3. Take a good hard, long, objective look at your filing system. Your physical filing system and the files on your computer. Seriously determine if each paper is worth keeping. Consider using a shredder to get rid of confidential papers and documents with personal information on them. Label your files and categorize in a way that makes sense to you. Do you file chronologically, alphabetically, by project name, or by project manager? Determine which works best for you. Are you obsessive compulsive, lackadaisical, clued into colors, or indifferent to certain patterns? Identifying your style and motivation may help, too.

Email is another MONSTROUS system that needs reviewing. I challenge you to go through and delete (unsubscribe) at least five unnecessary email intruders a week until you are free of these MONSTERS. Those are the emails that have no significance to anything. Maybe an ad from the Dollar Store, a coupon from the local chiropractor, a never read newsletter (relevant at one time, no longer useful), and the list goes on. You get the point: DUMP ‘EM!

4. Purchase space-savers and the appropriate office equipment. Create a list of the equipment you have and a list of what you need: a new wall organizer, book shelf, filing cabinet, in-out box, folder holder, wireless keyboard, pocket organizer, apps for your phone so it does synchronize with your desk computer…. Assess, divide, and CONQUER!

5. Now that your work space has been reorganized and fine tuned, consider how you plan your time. Remember, you have 10,800 minutes. Planning, scheduling, and focusing are the first steps to effectively organizing your time. I can tell you, I just identified my nemesis: FOCUSING!

Steven Covey has a great way of putting things into perspective. In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I believe two aspects stand out: (1) Put First things First, and (2) Begin with End in Mind. If we are able to do that, identify goals (dissect the plan from end to beginning), and appropriately prioritize the way all projects are completed, we are good to GO! We must consider timing–a REALISTIC amount of time it will take from goal/project start to finish. Evaluate the tools available to you (spreadsheets, project software, seeking guidance from mentors, charting, placing deadlines on calendars, budgeting, and scheduling routine assessments, checking in on progress, comparing to your timeline and deadlines). Consider the resources needed to accomplish the task/event/project/goal.  Resources may be team members, financial considerations, seasonal flux, and feedback.

For me, I came up with a few new strategies. I have to create more FOCUS time (I work from home, loads of distractions–Facebook chief among them). I need to take a look at all the “large, looming projects” on my list and prioritize them, REALISTICALLY putting timelines and deadlines to each project. I need to evaluate how I use my google calendar. I imagine this tool can be utilized more efficiently, especially if I create events on my computer rather than on the phone.

Thanks for working through the dilemma with me; So much to do. So little time! I feel much better!

Here’s to your organizational success! RR

Steven Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, http://store.franklinplanner.com/store/category/prod610022/US-Books-%26-Audio-All-Books/The-7-Habits-of-Highly-Effective-People—15th-Anniversary-Edition?skuId=29676

 

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