This is definitely the time of year many people feel there is simply too much going on. It is easy to become overwhelmed – we need to tie up our end of the year business, finish projects, visit doctors, plan parties and holidays, buy gifts, spend money…it can be maddening. Throw in the fast paced nature of our lives, with all the mobile connectedness – and it is enough to drive us crazy.
This morning my sixth grader woke up and realized she forgot to study for two tests today. This is my A student, who never has to be reminded to do her homework. Yesterday after school she did her homework and then had a few girlfriends over – a rarity, as there is usually too much homework (most kids barely have time for sports, after school activities and, hey what a concept – just being kids). She started off her day worried and stressed – not the ideal situation I want for my child.
The point is that we all need to be a little more organized, a little less anally retentive, and realize that we will get through it. I am thinking of hiring an assistant. I have finally come to admit that I cannot do it all myself. Delegation is permissible; I can still direct and approve. If we want to be the best at what we do, whether it be our job, parenting, or anything else, the key is organization. Believe it or not, the tech-savvy world is on your side on this one, and there are easy ways you can stay organized and be able to do it all.
Use your smart phone calendars. Yes, these devices are a blessing – allowing us to work from our children’s soccer games, access our desktops from out of state, or send documents in an instant. We also need to learn there is a time to turn them off. But for organizational purposes they really are beneficial. Use the calendars on your phones, set reminders for yourself. This is the best way to stay organized.
Organizational Apps. If you need extra help, there are organizational apps available on your smart phones. I do not personally use these, but for those who need extra help I have heard they are fantastic.
Make a daily schedule. Every morning I write down a list of what I need to accomplish that day. Of course, things can change in an instant, but I know that my goal is to get through that list as best I can. I number it in order of importance. If I don’t get to everything it is not the end of the world, but I know that the most important things will get accomplished. I check my phone calendar as I make my list, and make sure I am in sync with what needs to be addressed.
Schedule personal time in advance. I schedule personal time right into my calendar each weekend, for the week. I put my workout and yoga schedule into my phone, so I know that I cannot make any appointments during that time. This way I am not trying to fit exercise into my busy schedule, but instead I am building my schedule around my health. This benefits not only me, but my clients and workload, because I feel better and can be more efficient.
Use free time to stay in contact/learn/plan. If you end up having free slots during your workday, that is the best time to do several things: call or visit your clients, catch up on reading industry news and blogs, and planning for the upcoming week. Take a client or colleague to lunch or coffee. Staying in contact with your clients and colleagues is the best way to stay on top of industry information and show people how much you appreciate them. This is my favorite thing to do.
Most people who have a high degree of stress in their business lives are not well organized. We can ALL be better organized, even if we think we are already there. This is a great time of year to look at your business plan and make those necessary tweaks, to reconnect, plan ahead and focus on your goals. It may seem overwhelming, but staying organized will benefit you in the long run.