The “Back to School” season is on, in most parts of the country, which translates to structure, organizing and planning your days. The long days of lazy summer is almost coming to an end.How do you organize and plan your days?
Can you believe it ? Half the year is past us & we are in August already !
How do you plan your days to stick to a schedule & find balance between work, home, diet, exercise & relaxation ? Do you have days where you feel completely overwhelmed with stretching yourself too thin ? What do you do on days like that to keep you centered and in your element ?
The Back Story on effective planning and organizing
Growing up in a small town, it was not until, I moved to the city during my graduate school days did I learn about the importance of effective planning and time management.
Needless to say, until then my life seemed to move in slow motion, come school year it was on fast forward. I was soon to realize that being organized was one thing, time management another! Being skilled at both needs practice, patience and effective planning.
How then do I plan and organize my days?
Since then life has moved in leaps & bounds,so did my planning schedule. Clutter makes me feel immobile & impairs my clear thinking.I have always been a stickler when it comes to being organized.
Habits build character! Effectively practicing your habits on a daily basis is an important part of time management and helps you plan and organize your days effectively!
Some of us might have started the year on a positive but for some reason if you have fallen off the band wagon of following through with your new habits here are some ideas to help you with your progress.
My E-Book : The 25 Habit Tracker Ideas for Your Bullet Journal will help you track your habits and make progress all through the academic year.Get yours now, by clicking the image below.
Get it now and stay organized by tracking your habits. When you stack good habits one on top of another, it becomes your lifestyle. Time management is all about finding the balance in what is important to you and what needs to be let go off. Choose wisely!
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”
Time management skills, however is a different ball game.I felt like I was on the hamster wheel of life when I became a mom. Life accelerated to a much faster pace. Twenty- four hours did not seem enough. There were a million things to get done, between home, work & time for myself.
How to plan and organize your days and time?
It was during one such days that I took a serious look at time management and its many benefits. Effectively blocking time, each day helped me immensely, in not feeling overwhelmed with responsibilities.
To plan and organize your days in bite size pieces is important. Knowing that I cannot get all done in one day & it was perfectly OK to occasionally leave the kitchen sink full overnight, helped calm my nerves.
There were weekends. I even gave myself permission slips to watch movies on Netflix , and pretended I was a guest in my own home.”Sanity comes first”, I told myself “even if the laundry & kitchen sink come a close second”. I basked in the peace of letting go.
Tips on how to plan and organize your days
Ever since the time, I was introduced to effective time blocking and the Pomodoro technic, my life has become much more manageable.
The Living Well Planner is my favorite aid when it comes to planning & organizing my schedule. It helps greatly in breaking the the whole year into small bite size portions. It breaks the year into monthly, weekly, daily planning schedules with provisions for budget and meal planning too.It even has a place to express gratitude and thanks to our blessings each day .
Once I realized there was a method to the madness, of staying on top of it all, the rest became easy .
What is the Pomodoro Technic?
Is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short 5 minute breaks. Each interval is known as a pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘tomato’ after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student.
Time Management Tricks
When we work on time focussed productivity , giving ourselves a 5 minute break after each 25 minute schedule of focussed activity, we get a lot of things done, instead of wasting time in procrastination.
Personally, I have found this method very effective.
Check for yourselves : Set your timer for 25 minutes & go get work done, you will be surprised how many things you can accomplish effectively in a short time, without day dreaming.
The back to school season is in full swing here. While our kids are busy with planning their academic calendars, it helps busy moms like us stay sane when we stick to a routine.
Planning lunch box menus, children’s activities, extracurriculars, amidst one’s own busy schedule of juggling home & work, leaves us little room for relaxation & self care.If we do not use time effectively, our productivity suffers greatly.
The Living Well Planner I use, takes the guess work out of planning, since it is so easy to follow & well organized into monthly, weekly & daily schedules.
Online planners vs Paper/book Planners
If you are someone like me you get this pretty well.Irrespective of how much the tech world has developed, I am a paper n’ pen kind of girl. I love writing on paper and highlighting important tasks in different colors .
The visual treat & the creativity that goes into writing down the list of things to get done (the night before) in the order of importance, provides enough inspiration to act upon the plan the following day.
How does a planner help ?
- When we block time each day, for particular tasks it boosts our productivity. Remember being busy does not equal productivity.
- Planning help us stay organized by dividing urgent tasks to that which can be done at a later time.
- Taking care of big things first (Eat the Frog principle) helps us deal with the smaller tasks in a much relaxed state of mind.
- Helps us spend quality time with our loved ones, instead of being scattered all over the place juggling multiple things.
- Allow us to give ourselves the much needed sacred “me time”
- Once nurtured, this can be prove to be a habit building exercise in staying organized, thus creating a record of long term success .
- Keeps track of your spending & helps manage budget effectively.
- Prevents overwhelm in meal planning & grocery shopping seasonal produce, since we become better at planning our purchases.
Breaking it into Yearly, Monthly, Weekly and Daily goals
How many of us loose sight of the big picture while we are endlessly juggling small things that need to be done? We all have done it one time or another.
This Living Well Planner helps breaks that habit & aids us in looking at the bigger picture (the yearly goals ) first .Then those yearly goals can be broken down into monthly, weekly & daily tasks respectively.
This immensely helps one in negating the feeling of overwhelm that most of us feel on busy days.
Effective Time Management Tips
- Think big, plan small! We all know that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, so it is with the planning.
- Personally, I find the early morning hours work best for me to be the most productive, think the first 2-3 hours after you wake up. I find that I can think & plan clearly in the quiet of the morn when the whole world is asleep.
- It is easier to see the big plan unfold, when you act on the plan you have put together. You will be amazed at how many things get done in such a short time, where before you thought it was practically impossible.
- Get your biggest, most important task taken care of first- “Eat the frog first” ! Your ‘frog’ is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it .
- List three things each day that you absolutely must do to meet your bigger goals towards the year, then work towards getting that done. Schedule less! Too many tasks in the ‘to do list’ just leaves one frustrated and loose focus at the end.
- Be specific about what you want to achieve in a day & go get that done.
- Establish “maintenance days” by grouping days for laundry, cleaning, running errands etc, so they don’t take too much of your attention when you have more pressing matters on hand.
- Remember to treat yourself in big or small ways each day for successfully achieving what you set forth at the start of the day.It could be something as simple as an ice cream cone or painting your nails.
Give the Living Well Planner a try and let us know how it works for you
It is never late to try it out now, since the school year is just about to begin. What I love about this Living well Planner is that it is not dated, you are provided with stickers to start from any month in the calendar year you choose.How much user friendly can it get ?
I love it for this reason, coz in January when it is the middle of winter here in the midwest, I am mostly in hibernation mode. Who then has time or the inclination to start jotting down on a planner? Summer works perfectly for me, the sunshine & LIGHT puts me in a good mood to act upon my goals & be productive in small & big ways !
The Bottom Line
Now that you have learnt more about effectively planning and organizing your days, how are you going to do it different?
What are some of the time management techniques you follow to plan your year ? How do you schedule time to get things done effectively ? Would love to hear your views on time management and productivity !