Did you know that one of the most popular new year resolutions this year was I will get organized and avoid clutter"? Very relevant when we think of the tones of clutter that pervade our houses, maybe due to lack of proper organization and time management. It is indeed a conscientious housewife who is able to set her life in order, allotting time for every chore and giving importance to de-cluttering the house. Unless we get down to organizing our time, there is very little chance of our achieving any target we set ourselves.
To begin with, we must first clear our minds of clutter.
- Begin by writing down your goals - Create a list of your professional as well as personal goals and keep it handy at all times. Review and update the list when necessary to keep it current and relevant.
- Assess how you currently use your time ` For a few days, keep a log of how you use your time. This will help you determine what activities are necessary as opposed to those that do not contribute to reaching your goals. Eliminate activities that are "time wasters" and focus your energies on those activities that will help you reach your goals.
- Take time to plan ` Take five to 10 minutes to plan your day. It can be done the evening before or early that morning. It is important that you do this during a quiet time, without interruptions, so that you can focus on what you need to accomplish.
- Learn to be flexible` Things will happen everyday that are out of your control. You can regain some control, though, by realizing delays will occur and allowing for buffer zones in your daily planning. This will help you cope when the unexpected pops up. There is always tomorrow.
- Break down big projects ` Tackle the big events and projects by breaking them down into smaller and more manageable tasks. This helps alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed and will keep you moving towards completion.
- Utilize waiting or travel time ` Use your travel time wisely. Catch up on your reading while you commute. Keep a file marked "reading materials" and insert magazine and newspaper articles that you would like to read but never seem to have time to get to. Take the folder with you when you travel.
- Be considerate of others` time ` Plan all meetings and communications carefully. Check the email distribution list before sending ` don`t clutter others` mailboxes with unnecessary mail.
And then there are the 5 Ds that will help you in your quest of being focused:
1) Define -Specify the time element and commitment level at which you are required to achieve a goal. Analyze whether you will still have time left to do something else.
2) Delegate - "Many hands make light work" is an oft-repeated quote. Break up tasks, split responsibility with somebody else. See that the weight chain does not remain on one link. Make duties a team effort in the office. This way you will achieve so much more. Do not be smugly perfectionist or critical of others` efforts. Encourage people and extract the best out of them. Expect nothing and you get nothing. Do not become a martyr.
3) Delete ` Not able to deal with something though you had committed to doing it? Do not stand on false pride ` know when you should let go and keep your dignity and worth in tact. Simply say that you will be more than happy if someone else could take care of it as you found that you were unable to do it!
4) Declare ` Declare your boundaries right in the beginning. Give people a time between say, 10AM to 12 noon when you would be available for them. This way, if the given time does not suit the person asking, he/she no longer has the power of coercing you into complying to something beyond your available time.
5) Determine ` You are what you think yourself to be. If you see yourself as efficient, kind and capable, others` perception of you will be that way too. But should you think of yourself as unfocused and lacking in purpose, you may be sure that this negative thinking will reflect on how you are perceived by others. Simply replace I can never be organised" to I`m sure I can achieve what I`ve set out to and do it well!" and you will be surprised at the outcome!
Being focused in life will make you an achiever in the true sense of the word.