Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Getting life organized

So ironically enough, the topic for yesterday was "time management and planning" and wouldn't you know, I missed it! However, I have a really great excuse. We had a very dear friend in town and so I purposely did not go on-line. I believe real time should take precedence over virtual time.

I am currently juggling many things in my life. I am involved in many projects that take up little bits of my time here and there. Then there is my day-to-day with the boys, household duties, relax time with my husband, and the list goes on and on. Oh, and let's not forget my own personal endeavors that I have simmering on the backburner of life.

I strive to be organized but every once and awhile it all gets derailed by something unexpected. Illness, weather, last minute things that I procrastinated on, guest in town etc. Being organized is a discipline and it takes practice and perseverance.

Here I would like to share some things that I do for my own time management and organization regimen. I will also throw in a few ideas that I am striving to implement.

1. Regular sleep schedule. This is the one I have the most difficulty with and this is the one that everything listed below hinges on. I know for myself, I need eight full hours of sleep. My problem is I am a night owl and that is when I get all my creative juices flowing. But early to bed means early to rise and early to rise means more things get done. The day just goes better and I feel better.

2. Keeping an agenda. I tried for years to keep my to-do list on my smart phone. I finally chucked that idea for myself. My alarm was going off so many times a day that I trained myself to ignore it. It just didn't work for me. I am a paper and pen can of gal. I have been using a paper agenda for three years now and it works wonders for me. I get a great sense of satisfaction in crossing things out that I have gotten done. I can also schedule things months in advance and avoid the accident of double booking.

3. Little notebooks. Ok, like I said, I have many projects going on at once. I also am more efficient when I write things down. Studies show that when you physically write things you are more likely to remember them as opposed to typing it. I have decided to use one small (pocket size) notebook for each project I have going on. For example: one for home (for all the home projects), one for the women's group I run and one for the community I am responsible for. There I am able to take notes and write down all I need to do. I only have 3-4 notebooks and use them as needed. I keep them on my desk for easy access and they are small enough to carry in my purse when I have meetings or ideas on the go.

4. Schedule. Schedule. Schedule! This is a big one. I know that I am more likely to do something if I schedule it. This ties into no. 2. I write things down for each day and schedule even cleaning tasks, appointments, phone calls, computer things etc. When my sons were much smaller I used to schedule their day: feedings, playtime etc. It just made my life more streamline. It made it more predictable. Children thrive on schedules and predictability. Studies show that those who children who are raised are on routines are less cranky and more fulfilled. I think this goes for any human being in general. I need routine in my life! I am considering scheduling out my afternoon activities at home with the kids as well.

5. Schedule downtime. It can't all be work! I once heard that rest is a part of work. So wise. It is true that if you do not rest properly, you will not be able to work efficiently. Your day should have some downtime. It's only natural that we have to stop and just rest. Take some time to read a book; sip some coffee or a quick catnap. It's ok to rest a bit.

6. Pray. Fix in some time for prayer. This is a tough one for me. I, for one, feel that one of the best times for prayer is early in the morning. As a mother of two little ones it is the quietest time and it is the best time to just sit and be with God. In silence. Yet, I am not a morning person. I struggle to wake up early enough to do this but man oh man, when I do, it changes the rest of my day. My day is set to another tune.  It's a means of allowing God to take control.

7. Be flexible. This is probably another essential. Life happens. It all cannot happen according to the way we plan it, schedule it or wish it to be. In fact, it usually doesn't. We can schedule our to-do's and make our grocery lists and get our housework done. However, at the end of the day, we have to keep in mind that the best scheduler, the organizer par excellence, is God Himself. So let's be flexible to His will as it is what is best for us.

8. Make time for what is most important. Don't forget that the most important aspect of time is to realize what is most important in our lives! "Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters!" I would say universally it can be agreed upon that one of the most important things is to spend time with our loved ones. If your life is so busy that you have to schedule this in, well just do that. But if this is a constant, then maybe you have to learn from time. Time is a great teacher. If you are not make time for what is most important, than you need to go back to the drawing board/agenda.

Now it's time to get off this computer and go play with my boys!

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