Tag Archive: getting organized

CluelessBizWomanI’m going to talk about the things that you never knew about time. The things that no one ever told you. The things that keep you stuck and unproductive. Let’s start with the fact that no one ever told you anything about getting and staying organized or managing yourself around time. We are taught many things when we’re young but these two things are just not in the mix, so unless you have a natural disposition toward these things and have these abilities, you don’t have a clue and nine times out of ten, your latter school life and professional life suffer. Right now, if you still haven’t figured it out, your business is suffering.

You learned how to tell time but didn’t learn about time, you just basically picked up what others knew via osmosis. What you came to know was that time runs the show. You learned that by watching everybody else under its rule and you did the same thing. Time is running the show and you’ve given all of your power over to it.

What people don’t realize is that time isn’t real. It doesn’t exist! The only thing that makes time real is the agreement around it among those using it that it’s real. Time is something that man created to help understand and comprehend the physical world as he sees it in his every day experience. But here you are, trying to manage it. Something that doesn’t even exist. Maybe now it’s easy to see why you wrestle so much with getting things done.

Something else that you don’t know is that productivity isn’t about anything outside of or separate from you. It doesn’t happen with that linear approach to time or the one size fits all boxed solutions or remedies. It starts with you. When it comes to getting things done, you have to be at the core of it all.

These are just a few of the things that you don’t know about time, but now you do. Now it’s time to step back and take a look at things through a different point of view to see what the landscape really looks like and create your own personalized way of dealing with time and getting things done. You can learn more by continuing to read articles here on my blog and by visiting my website. If you’re ready to take that step, book your Zen Day or Deep Dive session with me now.


The current times that we are in have individuals experiencing heavier work loads and added responsibility and more and more entrepreneurs are being created. It’s more important now than it has been in the past to manage ourselves effectively.  Given that scenario, we all have to focus on getting more done with fewer resources. It’s important to get to the top priorities, manage time and projects, empower and keep ourselves from burning out.

The challenge that we all face is that we have too much to do.  Even our children have too much to do these days.  The key to getting past having too much to do is to determine what things are worthy of your time.  Before you can decide what things are worth your time, you have to know what your values are.  Look at every area of your life and think about the things that are important to you and create a list, then use that list when you are deciding what things are worth your time.  If you choose to place things on your agenda that are in line with your values, you are more likely to accomplish goals that you set around those things than you would be if they weren’t values based.  When you base what you do upon the things that you value, you are placing the focus on what’s important to you, which has to be your first priority.

A vital factor in managing workflow effectively is having an organized environment.  Whether you work in a company office or your office at home, it must be organized.  Think about the stress involved, not to mention the extra time it takes, when you simply can’t find something.  We all know that it may take a number of hours to get an environment completely organized, but it’s time well spent and it will keep you from wasting time in the future looking for that particular file or what ever it might be.  With your environment organized, you’ll be able to access what you need in a matter of seconds.

One thing that I teach my clients to honor is their own Prime Time™.  By that I mean, the time during the day in which your energy level is the greatest.  This is the time of day when you are going to be most productive and the time of day that should be used for your most important tasks.  This would not be the time of day to check your email or return phone calls.  This is the time of day that you want to use for the things that require creativity or focus.  You also want to protect this time of day so that it doesn’t become the space for tasks with lower priorities.  You want to use this time of day for your top priority tasks.  Take a look at your natural energy rhythms; what time of day does your energy seem at its peak?  If you need to, look at your patterns over a few days and see what time of day works best for you. Once you determine that, be sure to block out a couple of hours during that time to get your top priority tasks done.

In addition to your values, getting organized and honoring your natural energy rhythms be sure to set time to schedule and plan your week and your day.  At the end of one week, sit down and plan for the next and do the same thing each day.  At the end of your day take a few minutes to look at what you have set for the next day.  There may be some adjustments that you have to make to your schedule because something was canceled or perhaps there is something that needs to be added.  If a task is going to take longer than 15 minutes to complete, it should go into your calendar and not just on your to-do list.  If it doesn’t go into your calendar, you take the risk of something not getting done that day and the added stress that comes with the day being upset.

When you’re planning and scheduling your to-dos, be sure to include their priorities so that at a glance you know what items are your top priorities for each day.  Not everything has the same level of importance, so you want to be sure that you’re focusing on your crucial items before you get to those that aren’t so important.

Next, find a way to minimize interruptions.  Constant interruptions will keep you from getting anything done.  Turn off the email notification, or better yet, close your email while you’re working on other things.  For those hours during your prime time™ that you’re working on top priorities, turn off the ringer on the phone or place it on do not disturb.  If someone transfers calls to you, ask for your calls to be transferred into your voice mail and check them later in the day.  If necessary, close your office door for a while so that you can focus on what you’re doing.  Constant interruptions can destroy your concentration and cause added stress.

Finally, you have to keep your well being a priority.  During the course of your day, no matter how busy you are, you have to take breaks to stretch, take a short walk and make time to eat right.  Nothing that you have to do can be more important than your well being.  Even if you implemented each of the aforementioned in managing your workflow, things won’t flow smoothly if you don’t incorporate your well being.  It is a key factor in making it all flow.

Getting to the point of having successfully organized your time or your space is only half of the effort.  It’s a great start, but if you want to stay that way, you have to have a few things in place.

Getting organized causes you to shift your thinking.  You might have heard me say before that being organized is a state of mind.  It calls for a shift in behavior; for you to develop new habits around how how you work; how you manage yourself.  When you organize your time, you have to have not only a system in place, but new habits that support you in maintaining that system and staying effective when it comes to managing tasks and your calendar.  This means that you have to plan on a regular basis, prioritize what you’re doing, be in the habit of delegating and saying “no”.  That system has to run like a well-oiled machine if you’re going to manage your time and your business effectively.

When it comes to your organized space, systems have to be in place too.  If you’re going to maintain an organized space, you need systems to keep it that way.  A filing system to contain your paper and rules for maintaining it, a way to manage paper and it flows to you, as well as a way to handle email and phone calls.  You also to develop new habits like clearing your desk and returning things to their designated home at the end of the day.  Building the muscle to develop those new habits to maintain what you establish will help you stay organized  for a long time to come.

If you’re someone who’s always late and are looking to break the habit, the very first thing that you have to do is to acknowledge that there is a problem.  This means getting real with yourself and wrapping your head around the fact that beneath the problem there are other things lurking.  You might have the attitude that there’s nothing wrong with being a few minutes late (forget the fact that you’re late for everything and impacting others in the process) or you might always rationalize your tardiness.  If you really want to make this change, the first step is changing your attitude about your chronic lateness.

If you find that you are late because you’re one of those people who likes the excitement of the last minute rush, it’s time to stop that madness.  Let go of the last minute rush and find something else that will stimulate or motivate you.  More importantly, look at why you create situations that give you that rush that you seem to be craving.

If you’re forgetting or missing appointments, forget details and you jump from one task before it’s complete to another, you’re easily sidetracked.  Start by getting focused.  for instance, instead of jumping into another task before you’ve finished the initial one, make it a point to focus on only the initial task until it’s done, then move on to the next.  Continue to practice maintaining your focus on one thing at a time.

Additionally, get organized!  Get those appointments and meetings that you’re late for or missing into a calendar that’s part of a time management system that fits your personality.  Add to your calendar the things that you do on a regular basis and group like activities into one block of time.  Plan what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it and prioritize your daily lists.

None of these solutions is a quick fix, they each take commitment and time.  You have to remember that it takes time and effort to get into new habits, not to mention patience and perseverance.  Determine what the best course of action is and get to work, allowing yourself the time it’s going to take to shift gears.

January is Get Organized month, or GO month.  If you plan on getting it together this year, now is the time to do it.  Along with creating your goals and the plan to accomplish them, include your plans for getting organized.  For some, the hardest thing about getting organized is getting started.  So where do you begin?  What area is troubling or hindering you the most? Is it you home?  Is it your office?  Maybe it’s just part of a room, or perhaps the entire house.  Maybe it’s your office.  What ever it is, put that space at the top of your list then add any other areas that you want to organize to your list then create your plan.  After the area at the top of your list, what’s next?  Then set a date to get started and keep it moving by setting dates for the other areas on your list.  When I say “set a date” I mean schedule the time in your calendar.  Don’t just say, “I’m starting on Saturday.”  Commit to the time.

Once you have your plan mapped out, start working it.  Go into the project prepared to get rid of things.  Be willing to part with things that you don’t use any longer as well as things that no longer serve you.  If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it-give, sell or throw it away.    If you have a difficult time getting rid of things, get a third party to help you.  Be sure it’s someone who’s going to remain objective and be honest with you instead of encouraging you to keep things you need to let go of.

When you start with your first area or room, begin with a small area of the room-it can be the closet, a drawer, a particular corner or maybe it’s the desk or bookshelf.  Start with something manageable and continue working with that area until it’s complete.  Then move on to the next spot in the room and work in the room until it’s done.  Then move to the next room or area on your list.

Continue with your plan one step at a time.  Depending upon the area, you may have to schedule a few different times for that particular area.  If you find that you’re going to need more time for a room, adjust your plan accordingly.  The important thing is that you keep working your plan.  If you find that you are losing momentum or can’t stay motivated, partner with a friend or family member or hire a professional organizer to help you.  If you loose steam and stop moving, your project becomes stagnant and much harder to get the ball rolling again; more difficult to get organized.  Are you ready?  Let’s GO!

©2011 Sheila Hawkins

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