When we have decluttering goals and any other goal but never seem to find the time to do the things that bring us to those goals, it can be very defeating. We begin to think something is wrong with us. The main problem is that we have not prioritized it and planned it as part of our day. Another problem is we get easily sidetracked from the task in front of us. Then before you know it, a whole year has flown by without you making a start on your important projects.
I call those things that eat up our time so easily TIME ZAPPERS. Sometimes we can get to the end of the day or the week and wonder just where all our time went. Until we learn to control what things are zapping our time, we will never get to the things that are most important to us.
Some examples of TIME ZAPPERS are scrolling on social media, watching television, talking on the phone, running errands, looking for things, waiting in line, driving to and from places, walking your dog, etc.
I have found that three things can help us manage our time better and take charge of those pesky little time zappers!
I will call them the three P’s for time management. PLAN, PRIORITIZE and be PRESENT.
NUMBER ONE: PLAN
We must learn to plan. Someone once said if you fail to plan that you will plan to fail. And you don’t want to get to the end of your day leaving out what you intended to get accomplished. Some of us are better at planning than others. But we can all improve in this area. I find long-range planning more difficult than planning out just one day. I use my magnetic day planner that I have on my refrigerator to map out my day hour by hour. I call it my ONE THING, ONE HOUR BOARD and I find it to help me stay on track with what I set out to accomplish. When we have a plan for our day, we are less likely to allow those TIME ZAPPERS to invade!
NUMBER TWO: PRIORITIZE
The second thing we need to do is prioritize the things we want to accomplish. I know I tend to put everything on one big list then feel overwhelmed. I do much better when I can figure out the top three things I have to do and then I know that a lot of the items on my list can be moved to other days. I used to try to cram in too many things into one day and end up very exhausted and frustrated as well.
NUMBER THREE: Be PRESENT
Be present at the moment and the hour. Focus on one hour at a time, one thing to do at a time, and try not to let the ideas that come into your mind distract you.
Say you are doing laundry and someone calls and it distracts you so much you leave the rest of the laundry pile unfolded and not put away.
Or you think of a bill you need to pay and you are cleaning up after dinner, but the idea of the bill you have not paid keeps you from the important task of doing the dishes. So you leave the dishes in the sink and go into your office and after paying the one bill you get distracted by other “office” tasks.
At day’s end, you may look around and see that lots of things were started but very little was finished.
When an idea comes into your mind, write that idea down, then go back to the task.
Call my dentist and make an appointment
Pick up some kleenex at the store
Organize your dresser drawers.
All those things are important, but not necessary to do right in the middle of something else you are working on. When you write down the things that are running around in your head it will help you to focus on and complete what you are working on.
That call that popped into your brain can be done on your scheduled “office” time when you make phone calls, answer emails,s and pay bills. Just write it down so you will remember to do it then.
The kleenex you are running low on can be put on your list of shopping items and wait until your scheduled shopping and errand day.
And when you go to put away your clothes and notice what a mess your underwear drawer is, instead of stopping and organizing that drawer then and maybe even deciding to do all of the drawers, write it down and do it at a time that you have scheduled to do organizing projects later on in your week.
This is enough for this week. I plan to discuss each of the three areas in more detail later, but for now, just know there is hope. Hope that you can plan, prioritize, and be present so you can accomplish your goals this year.