I had started to write this post earlier in the day and then.... the phone rang, the kids needed me, then I got pulled into a meeting, then went to an event, then got home, dinner with the family, bedtime and then I opened my computer to 'check in' and realized.... I never finished or posted my post. I'm sure you can relate.
Life happens. Interruptions happen. Things slip.
Is there a way to prevent those slips? I tend to lean towards a resounding YES! Focus and Scheduling. As school is right around the corner, many of us think of school as a 'new year... a new beginning'. It's the clean notebooks, new sneakers and fresh starts. Next week in our area life goes back to normal with kids back in school full time (YAY!!!) and we go back to routines. But are we going back to the old routines where we were overbooked but under-scheduled, too busy for ourselves, running around like chickens with heads cut off or feeling totally unproductive at the end of the day?
New Year... New You.... New Beginnings.
What can you change that wasn't working for you last year? What new habits can you implement with your kids or your spouse or your routines. Is it having kids pick out clothes the night before? Maybe it's packing healthier lunches or planning your day to be more structured so you can get more done during the hours when you have the most energy. Organization is key to success.
For me, more often than not it comes back to implementing my to-do list. This week is the time for me to get my kids organized and to get myself organized. I've got a to-do list that's a mile long. It consists of me, my kids, my spouse and my business. My brain doesn't remember like it used to so when I can put it to paper and see what needs to be done, I can categorize it and book it into a schedule so I can then knock it off the list.
For my kids/family - it's weekly meal planning, picking out clothes the night before, getting up at the same time each day and keeping a schedule of their activities on the wall. When they have structure, life is a little less stressful.
For my business - I start with my inbox and go back through my emails to see what I missed. Remember that person that emailed you two weeks ago and you just realized you never responded? If you had put them into your to-do list, you might have remembered to get back to them. (As organized as I am, I do this ALL the time). I keep the 'Notes' app open on my computer at all times. Other people like to use the 'Stickies' app - whatever floats your boat. Categorize them - To-Do, To-Call, To-Email, etc. And then mark them either Important, Urgent or Back Burner. Remember there is a HUGE difference between Important and Urgent. Important is what you do when your brain has the most energy and Urgent is what you do when you've got less brain power. (My next post will be about Energy) Urgent will get done. Important needs to get done well.
Don't over plan your day. Leave some time for calls that come in or things that come. Things always come up. Remember that there are always things you can delegate or automate - like using a social media scheduling app such as HootSuite. Below is a sample snapshot of what it looks like to block your time.
At the end of the day, before you go to bed, go back and re-write your to-do list for the next day.
If you'd like more information or a copy of my 'Fostering Your Time' guidelines, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click the sign up link above for your free copy.