How do you make time to smell the roses?

Many of us in the organizing biz don’t only help our clients manage their physical space, we also help with time management. If you struggle to be on time, anxiously race between appointments, or frequently forget to pay bills/do homework/sign school permission slips/(fill in the blank!), you may benefit from these questions and suggestions I pose to my clients to help them rethink how they “manage” time:
When do you feel most energized and awake?
That’s your best time to: pay bills, write emails, work on taxes, put appointments in your calendar … it’s the time to do the things you don’t “like” to do, but can handle when you’re rested and alert.
When do you feel least energized, sleepy?
Take a nap or go for a walk; eat some protein; give yourself a break! Don’t pay bills, etc., when you’re tired and grumpy.
Do you work well in short stints or do you like to work for however long it takes?
If the former, set a timer for whatever your “short stint” is. When the timer goes off, take a short break. Get up and stretch or meditate or give yourself a 5-minute catch-up with your Facebook connections — whatever recharges your batteries! Then reset the timer and resume the task at hand.
If the latter, make sure you take a 10-minute break every 40 – 50 minutes so that you don’t burn out or lose track of time and forget to go to the next appointment (ouch, speaking from experience).
Are you more comfortable with digital calendars or handwritten calendars?
For many people, writing things down by hand stimulates the memory in ways that typing does not. Probably a pocket calendar would be best if this is your preferred method, so you always have it with you to refer to and update when necessary.
For others, digital is the preferred method. The beauty of a digital calendar is the alerts (or reminders) that you can set. These have saved my bacon more times than I’d care to admit! Because I like to write my appts down AND have automatic reminders, I have both a handwritten desk calendar and a smart phone digital calendar, which I synch up several times a week.
Do you schedule time for doing your “To Do” lists?
Being proactive rather than reactive lets you control how you spend your time. Set calendar dates and time for your “To Do” lists. Instead of “I’ll get to it when I have time,” commit yourself to getting those tasks done during one of your most energized, awake times of day, the same day every week. Bill paying, tax prep, homework, signing permission slips … (writing your monthly blog!) will get done only if you make an appointment with yourself.
Last bit of advice: leave breathing room between appointments.
Breathing room allows you to integrate the information or experience of appointment “A” before you change gears for appointment “B.” Breathing room lets you eat or drink healthfully between appointments, rather than gulping down fast food and coffee. Breathing room allows for slow drivers, stubborn children, runaway dogs, anxious in-laws, and “smelling the roses!”

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