January is the National Association of Professional Organizer’s Get Organized Month! Organizing now ranks as the top new year’s resolution, more important that losing weight. Each year we are challenged to use our time most effectively and efficiently. With so much to get done, a calendar is essential. Your calendar is the visual guide for time management. Effective scheduling and productivity go hand in hand in getting accomplished what is most important.
As with all organizing products, choosing the right calendar is critical.
When you are deciding on a calendar, think of whether your view of your time is a daily, weekly or monthly time frame. Also, decide whether you are a tech person. Would you prefer a personal digital assistant (PDA)? These are especially useful to carry in a small bag, excellent to retain contact information, remind you of recurring events and synchronize with your computer. Or are you a paper person and would prefer a paper calendar? If you prefer writing in your appointments, carrying something a little larger, and enjoy writing in pencil, the paper calendar is good for you. January is the best time to make the transition!
Consistency is the key to your calendar.
Write in all you and your family’s tasks, errands, invitations, appointments as well as any other important information in your calendar or planner. Your calendar is also a way to help organize your time to reflect your priorities. Think about your true priorities and then calendar them in. Not only will you be true to yourself on what is important, your planning will make these tasks easy to accomplish. Make appointments with yourself to follow through with specific tasks by a specific time and insure your accountability to yourself. Keeping one calendar makes all the difference in clarifying your activities. Only one calendar makes reviewing, entering and keeping information easy for you!
Unexpected events always occur!
For a paper calendar, using a pencil makes your calendar and list easy to read, less messy, more complete, and easy to change. Choose a pencil you love – either mechanical or with a good thick lead. And rely on a good eraser! For those with the PDA, remember to charge the batteries consistently so it is ready to use at all times. Also, learn the graffiti component to add information readily. Again, “Life Happens!” Be prepared for changes and flex your flexibility!
Plan your time commitments to your best advantage.
Many times our stress is due to time commitments we cannot control! Be prepared by having a little extra time between tasks, appointments and meetings. Take care in scheduling appointments and luncheons, being sure that your commitments have ample time between them. And then, just in case, add 15 minutes between major activities and appointments. A philosophy of adding a few extra minutes adds to your sense of balance throughout the day! With planning, you are ready to schedule activities and events to your advantage! Schedule similar events together to use your time most effectively. Group your errands for groceries, post office, or purchases by proximity, and schedule these sequentially on the same day. Make and return phone calls at a designated time. When you consolidate these activities, you save time and you accomplish the tasks most efficiently.
Most importantly rely on your calendar by referring to it regularly!
Review your calendar the evening before and in the morning to be sure you are keeping on task. Set aside a weekly planning time at the beginning of the week for you to incorporate your “to do list” and your calendar. You can plan best by having a time to do your paper work as well as schedule errands, grocery shopping and other weekly activities this way. Set an “appointment with yourself” to plan your time wisely and schedule paperwork.
Time is our most precious commodity! Let’s honor our priorities by honoring what is most meaningful, affirming our priorities and finding balance in our life by using time wisely. Scheduling can make all the difference in our lives and our family’s lives too!