How many times have you started your work day thinking you had everything in place, schedule organized, allotted time for each task written down? And how many times did that same day slowly start to unravel, leaving you feeling frustrated and that you somehow failed yourself?
You look around and see others who have neat and organized home offices, their work areas holding just the things that are needed at that time, everything in its place. Their computers are not holding hundreds of difficult to locate files and their email has not run away with itself after declaring mutiny on its owner. Yet these apparent super humans still find time to eat relatively healthy meals, indulge in their interests and spend time with their families. What’s their secret?
There are three basic steps you can take to get your work/home life back in balance and by doing that, accomplish more in one day than you used to accomplish in a week.
Organize by using available tools.
This is a step-by-step process starting (preferably) with a pen and paper where you first list the things that absolutely have to be done, both in your work area and your home life. Make it a long list because when you’re finished, you’ll find that a lot of these items can be grouped into one category. This list can also include anything else in your life that needs organizing, especially if you work from home. Spreadsheets are perfect for this. External hard drives and flash drives are a good option for keeping things separate, such as work files, finance, household items, appointments, etc. Take one whole weekend and divide up the areas that need work. Keep a folder for each area and separate spreadsheets within the folder. Once you have everything listed, you will just need to update it every week. It may look time consuming to set up but it will be a huge time saver once you have your processes in place.
Work selectively and utilize your peak periods.
This means if you have several tasks to do, it’s sometimes best to break them up into bite size chunks and do a bit of each one, alternating them. This gives you a break from monotonous work and sometimes gives you a fresh outlook on something when you get back to it later in the day. Always try to complete the most mentally tasking items earlier in the day or whenever you are at your freshest. Leaving them until late afternoon may mean that you complete them in a hurry and don’t do your best job.
Make healthier food choices.
Eat more frequently and eat less at once. Large meals can make you sluggish and feel lazy. Make your favourite fast foods things such as yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit, nuts and dates or something similar. They don’t have to be boring and by choosing these, you’ll have increased energy. For larger meals, take time on the weekend to make up one large batch of a staple for the week…soup, chili, pasta sauce…there are lots of options out there, depending on your preferences and the size of your family. Divided up and frozen, this gives you something available when there isn’t enough time for cooking a larger meal.
Following these three steps will help you along the way to greater energy and more time to enjoy the things you love. There are other things you can do to save time e.g. grouping errands together and if you live in a multiple floor home, having baskets at the bottom of each flight so you can bring things up together (or down) instead of making several trips. Saving your energy for the more fun things in life is worth the time it takes to get it organized.
© Chris Draper, 2016
image courtesy of thenextweb