Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting Organized: Box yourself in and get the job done!

The other day, feeling overwhelmed, I sat down for a chat with my mom for some advice. Her words of wisdom? “You’re just doing too much, Maria!” Jeeze, mom, I KNOW that! Come on!

Of course my mother is right. “Your generation does too much.” Yeah, I know it, but I gotta do what I gotta do, you know? After some further debate, my mom, giving up her campaign to erase half of my schedule, told me that I have too many balls in the air at once. She reminded me to focus on one thing at a time. I am a creative at heart and LOVE to have lots of things going at once. It stimulates me. But, mom has a point.
So, I decided to get back to using a great organizational tool, one I have used when in a pinch. The box. Not a cardboard box, but a TIME box. Because most of us have so many different balls in the air, we can fall into the habit, as I most recently did, of trying to focus on too much at once. Where that left me was feeling overwhelmed, fatigued and with a feeling of not being able to finish anything.

The trick? Box your , right on your . As a creative at heart, I don’t like to be boxed in. I want the freedom to go with the flow and follow my creative juices. But the problem? Sometimes you just need a little structure. So, now I have boxed myself in. How did I do it? Simple. Take a look.

1. I made a list of all the categories I have to deal with. For example: Paperwork/ filing, my website, the college courses I teach, chores around the house, work related to my therapy and coaching practice, etc.

2. I listed the tasks I have to do for each of these. (This gave me a better idea of the time commitment I need for them).

3. I found the time in my calendar and inserted each of the categories IN A BLOCK OF TIME based on the time needed.

The end result? Pretty good. I’d rather have more freedom, but this gives me more time. By focusing on one thing at a time, I keep my focus and my momentum flowing, instead of the stop and start I had fallen into. Plus, I have less slippage. Keeping track of my schedule a little more aggressively allows me to get more done during the day. I have less “dead” time. So, I get more done in less time. And you know what? That gives me the freedom of more time, which is worth boxing things in a bit. So, here’s to the wisdom of mamma!

Another good tip: The Organizer's 30 Second Rule

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