August 23, 2011

Tip of the day—Having a plan

I’ve noticed that the days that I don’t have a plan become lost days.  I sort of shift in and out of different tasks with no real purpose to the day.  Sometimes that is nice because it gives me a chance to just rest and relax.  Other times, though, I wake up the next morning and realize that my list of things to do just became even longer.  Below are a few tricks that I use for planning:

  • I really like the calendar feature in Outlook.  Now that I have a fancy phone, I can link the calendar in my phone to the one in my computer.  It reminds me of appointments and events. 
  • When I’m making my list of things to do, I like writing it on paper.  There is something really gratifying about crossing something off of a list.  On my paper list, I’ll include the following headings—calls I need to make, emails I need to write or answer, chores around the house, work tasks, and what is for breakfast/lunch/supper. 
  • I find that if I prioritize my list of tasks it is helpful, especially if the list of things to accomplish is long.
  • I balance the fun stuff with the not-so-fun stuff.  For example, if I have on my list various chores to cleaning the house, I’ll do one chore then take a break and read to our daughter or go outside to the garden. 
  • When I look at my weekly schedule, I focus on the busy days.  I try and ask myself what I can do on the less busy days to make those easier.  When I’m meal planning, I think about those as being easy supper nights, and I do what I can ahead of time to prep those meals.  I try and put out the clothes we’ll wear the night before and pack lunches or snacks early. 
  • As our daughter enters school full time, it will make it easier to have a flow to the day.  I’ll have certain things that I’ll consistently do at the same time, giving structure to the day and week.  I find this helpful because I am much more on task.  If I have 20 minutes each morning to work on the computer, I’ll stick with that time rather than bounce around from blog to blog and spending over an hour sitting at the computer.   
  • Sometimes it is helpful to review the week and reflect on the “time sucks”.  What took a lot longer than it should have?  Finding something to wear?  Looking for my keys?  Cleaning the office?  How can I do things differently in the future so that I’m not wasting time.  Would ironing all of the clothes while watching TV one night help?  Putting my keys in the same place each day when I arrive home solves the problem of searching for them.  You get the picture.

Here’s to hoping you have a wonderful and productive day!

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