A recurring question I have been getting lately is "I am so overwhelmed. Where do I start?" This is an excellent question. Often times, when we have a lot going on, our brains can spin and we can avoid working on the things that need to get done because we just plain don't know where to begin. So we get "busy" doing other things, that don't truly accomplish anything.
Today, I will be discussing how to organize your schedule. Check back tomorrow for Tidy Tuesday to see how I organize an overwhelming room in the house (This may apply to your entire house. It happens).
As for my daily schedule, I like to use pen and paper. Some prefer electronic lists, and as a techie nerd, I am all for that if it works for you. What I am about to explain will easily translate for you, just think of a piece of paper as one of your "Notes" pages, or whatever To Do List app you use.
You can use a planner, a notebook, beautiful stationery, or plain binder paper. I use my planner to organize my personal schedule, which includes hubby's shift and kid's activities. At work, I use a notebook with tabs.
Here are the steps to organizing your schedule:
1. Take a piece of paper for each category in your life. For some this might be each of your kids, yourself, vehicles, home repairs. It could be work, personal, kids, finances, meal planning. Maybe you have a different page for each room in your house. At work I manage properties, so I have a different paper for each property. Whatever you have going on, grab a piece of paper for it and label each paper as such.
2. Brain dump everything you need to do for each area. Just write until you can't come up with anything else. Don't worry about order or priority. Just get it all down on paper.
3. Get a new sheet of paper for each category and label again. Itemize each task from the previous paper in order of importance, or put like items together (like all phone calls together, all errands together). Cross off the items on the first sheet of paper as you write down. Once everything is crossed off, you can discard that first set of lists.
4. You can use a binder, or even just a paperclip, but keep the lists together, and carry them with you. Place a piece of paper in front to brain dump. As you remember more items, or new tasks come up, write them down on this brain dump page.
Brain dump page:
Each different category (for work, this means each property):
5. At the end of each day (or beginning, whichever works best for you), add the tasks to the appropriate list.
6. On the very top of your collection of papers, add one paper. This paper will change daily. For now, choose the Top Three Most Important To Do Today. Any more than three and you will begin to feel overwhelmed and lose motivation. You can always do more, but for sure you will do these Top Three. Choose the most important tasks from any of your lists and make three check boxes with those tasks listed. Once you have completed the tasks, check them off, both on your Top Three, and in your list. If you still have time, or the desire, you can go into your lists and choose three more items.
This is my Top Three Most Important To Do Today. I have the Top Three from several of my lists, which is why there are Ten Items. Read #7 as to why I do this...
7. As you start to get things under control, you can do a Top Three for each category.
Some people like to "Eat the Frog", meaning do the tasks you dislike first as motivation to get to the stuff you enjoy. That may or may not work for you, but wanted to suggest it in case you like the idea.
I would also strongly suggest doing a list of things you want to do. Like yoga, coffee with a friend, date night, writing, drawing, etc. Keep this list in the back of your packet and refer to it when you are organizing your day. It is important to take care of yourself, even more so when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
I hope these things helps. Let me know if you have any questions, or if something doesn't work for you and we can try to tweak or come up with another idea.