Organize Your Day Well
- Monday, July 06, 2009
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Sandra Felton's book, Organizing Your Day: Time Management Techniques That Will Work for You, (Revell, 2009).
When you reach each evening and reflect on your day, are you fulfilled or frustrated? Do you discover that you’ve been able to accomplish what you’d hoped, like enjoying relationships with others and working on meaningful projects? Or do you wonder where all your time went, since you haven’t done much of real significance?
If you can organize your day to help you accomplish necessary but uninspiring activities quickly and easily, you’ll have the freedom to spend more time on what matters most.
Here’s how you can organize your day well:
Control your time so your time doesn’t control you. Notice how long routine activities in your life typically take you by timing them and writing down the information to help you plan for the next time you do them. Figure out what specific time management problems you’re facing; then focus on finding solutions to them.
Plan each day at least 24 hours ahead. Group your activities together to save time. Tackle difficult tasks early so they won’t hang over your head later in the day. Discover what hours of the day are your most productive and plan to use that peak time to the fullest. Try not to act impulsively when deciding how to spend your time; think and plan first. Every day, try to do something that will save you time in the future.
Change for the better. Pause to think about the current direction of your life, evaluating how fulfilled you truly are. Then dream about what you’d like your life to be like. Plan how to make small, gradual improvements to start using your time more effectively. Focus on changing negative habits to positive ones that will make lasting improvements in your life.
Set goals clarifying specifically what you want to accomplish. For each goal: write it down, set a date by which you would like to see your dream achieved, and remind yourself of your goal regularly.
Reduce activity clutter. Don’t clutter your schedule with too many activities. Think and pray about what your priorities should be. Then focus on what’s most important to you when making decisions about how to spend your time. Be willing to let go of activities that aren’t closely connected to your priorities. Remember that time management isn’t the art of getting everything done; it’s the art of getting the most important activities done.
Keep a time log. Track how you use the minutes and hours in each day for a few days. Then study the information to see how you’ve been wasting time.
Multitask in the right way. Multitasking is actually counterproductive when you try to do two or more complex tasks at the same time, because you lose time switching your focus between tasks and end up lowering the quality of your work on all the tasks. But multitasking can help save you time if you combine a simple task that doesn’t require much concentration with a complex one, like listening to an audio book while cleaning your house or carrying on a conversation while walking.
Commit to focusing your mental energy on just one complex task at a time and savoring the present moment when you’re doing simple tasks. Also, be prepared to use the downtime you encounter by planning to do quick tasks when the extra time opens up (loading your dishwasher while on hold during phone calls, reading a book you carry with you while waiting for someone to arrive for an appointment, etc.).
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