Work Smarter, Not Harder. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Summer is right around the corner and for many of us this means that life speeds up, not slows down. With kids home from school, trips to be taken, and the sun to enjoy, often times the summer seems to be less vacation and more running around. Ah, to be a kid again and have a summer break! This is the perfect time to make sure that when it comes to time management and home organization, you’re working smarter, not harder to get everything that you want accomplished. Easier said than done? Perhaps, but check out these few times to make getting started or making improvements to your established routines a little easier.
Find a time management system that works for YOU. I’m old school, I love my paper planner. I pair it with an electronic calendar for appointments, but keep my actual tasks on paper. It works best for my brain and encourages me to think through my to-dos. When I track them electronically, they’re very easy for me to avoid. What works for you? If you’re not sure, it’s time to try out some options. Spend a few minutes in the planner section of Staples or Office Depot or head to Amazon if you’re like me and only like to shop online. Check out your app store on your device and download a free task manager that looks visually appealing to you and has the functions you think you might need. Then, commit to using one for at least a week. Build a new habit of tracking your to-dos, making note of things that worked and things that didn’t.
Be purposeful in accomplishing your tasks. It’s very easy to fall into what I call ‘productive avoidance’. This is when you’re working hard all day but then go to bed realizing that you didn’t get any of the tasks you needed to get done, done! How did that happen when you were busy all day and didn’t even get a break? It happens when people move through their to-do list without any preplanning of what the priorities of the tasks are. It also happens when we work from home and look up from our computer to see the pile of laundry that needs to be done or the dirty dishes filling up the sink. It’s so easy to get distracted by putting out fires or doing tasks that in reality should wait until a later time. When planning out your day, make sure you’re picking, and then doing, the tasks that will move you closer to your goals.
Break it down. If you have large tasks that need to be accomplished, break them down into their parts and consider each of those a separate task. Choose which needs to or you’d like to be done first and dive right in. If it’s something you’re dreading or that drains your energy, plan to only work for a set amount of time then take a 5 minute break. Set a timer for 10, 15, or 20 minutes and work until it goes off. This will give you the push you need to get started and allow you to feel less overwhelmed knowing you don’t have to keep working until the entire project is finished. Never underestimate the power of a productive and thoughtful break. Going outside, doing some stretches, or just zoning out for a few minutes will refresh you and allow you to be so much more productive during your next work session.