How to Organize Your Day 2023

It is hard to stay motivated as life continues to interrupt us. Years ago the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) released a study listing the top three reasons people felt they could not get organized.  Number 1 on the list was that they needed more time in the day.  Since we cannot create more time, the second best choice is to be more efficient with the time we have. If you feel like time is slipping away from you, then you may not be managing your time as effectively as you can.  We don’t necessarily need more time in the day; we need to have better control of our time.  

Plan Your Day Proactively 

The best way to maximize your time is to plan your day proactively.  Some of the simplest ways that you can accomplish this is by setting goals every morning on a “To Do” list.  By taking the time to outline the top five things you must accomplish by the end of the day you will help your mind keep focused and you will be setting realistic goals.  The items that never make it to the short list are probably not that urgent or important if you can easily keep putting them off in favor other items.  If you find you never get to them because you are procrastinating, try to find a way to delegate them to someone else.  Try not to let your incoming emails, phone calls or last minute requests dictate your days work. 

Use Time Blocking for Projects 

Schedule out time blocks to accomplish those tasks.  For instance if you know one of your projects will take two hours and a lot of focus, pick a time in your day that you can work on that project in a two hour block when you will be the most alert.  For smaller tasks schedule 15 minute blocks to knock them off the list when you have shorter moments of availability.  Also be sure to schedule in times for a break, walking around, getting a snack or travel time to get to appointments.  When we are realistic about what we can do in the time we have, we can better focus our tasks to fit our schedule efficiently. 

Choose Priority Tasks You Can Accomplish 

It is also important not to be too ambitious in what your goals are for a planned day.  Choose a small list that is accomplishable. You are always going to get a last minute interruption.  Whether it is a phone call, an unexpected urgent project or a surprise scenario, like picking up a sick kid at school.  Giving yourself some flexibility when you can in your day will help these “emergencies” seem less disruptive to your overall goals. 

Maximize Surprise Free Time 

When I have surprise blocks of time, because I finished a project faster than I anticipated, I like to knock off items on my longer to do list that might be quick to accomplish. Think about how much mindless time you can spend “taking a break” on Social Media.  Use that time to your advantage instead of wasting it. Whittling away at the non-urgent tasks helps you keep moving forward so those items do not become goals you can never quite get too.  Just fifteen minutes on a long-term project can help move it forward so much more than just sitting there indefinitely. 

Plan Your Week In Advance 

Another way take control of your time is to plan out your week in advance.  When you have a larger picture of where you are going to be, and when, it is much easier to relax knowing that you do not have to accomplish your entire list all at once.  By pre-planning when you are going to do certain tasks you will also know which ones you won’t be able to accomplish by the deadline, and you can give yourself enough lead time to find someone else to help you. Each day you will have established target projects with room for new ones as the emerge. 

Task Management Tools 

There are so many ways to track tasks.  Most email platforms such as Microsoft or Google have excellent task management tools.  If you are a paper person use a notebook or a pre-printed task management system to organize your thoughts and priorities.

Happy Organizing! 

Kristin Vander Wiede is a Professional Organizer and owner of Livable Solutions Professional Organizing and Life’s Lists printable organizing labels, systems and activities. 

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