Each month I will be bringing you a post dedicated to Getting Organized. This month I focus on how one technique, time management, can help you find the free time you need to fit your New Year’s resolutions into your already busy schedule.
Along with being an interior designer, I’m also a professional organizer. Most of the time, this means helping clients clear the clutter in their homes, but sometimes my client needs help managing their time. Time management is a great tool for staying focused at work, getting your email down to the elusive “inbox 0”, or keeping the family on track with all of their activities. And believe it or not, managing your time is key to achieving your New Year’s resolutions!
Time management is the first place I start with my most severely disorganized clients – regardless of what it is they need help with and what the client’s goals may be. You can’t expect to get your home clean if you can’t ever find the time to do the cleaning! Organizing and managing your time will give you the best shot at sticking to, and achieving, your goals.
Step 1. Write Down Your Goals Do you make resolutions every year, only to break them one month in? There’s a reason for that. You are most likely making too big of a life change too quickly. Changing your lifestyle takes time and trying to do too much will overwhelm you, derailing you before you truly get started.
The first step to managing your time and achieving your goals is to write them down. Saying your goal to yourself in your head isn’t enough. Really think about what it is you want to achieve, be as detailed as possible, and make your list. Seeing your goals written out and looking at them every day helps you organize your thoughts and stay focused.
Step 2. Track Your Day Starting a new habit means adding something into your already hectic schedule. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you have to start planning meals, reading labels on food, going to the gym. If you already have less hours in the day than you need, how are you possibly going to cram in these extra things? The key is finding your free time. Take one week to track everything you do, all day, every day. This sounds like work but it’s actually as simple as keeping a small notebook with you and quickly jotting things down such as “6am, wake up and get ready”. And remember, you are only doing this for one week!
Step 3. Create Your Time Calendar After you’ve tracked your daily activities for one week, make a time calendar with all of the activities you did each day, times of each activity, and how long each activity took. You can even color code this to make it easier to read. For example work is red, chores and errands are blue, cooking is green, etc. Time calendars look like this:
Step 4. Find Your Free Time Once you can see all of your weekly activities and just how much time they take up, you will easily be able to spot your free moments. This is where achieving your resolutions truly starts. Think again about your goals. If you want to organize your craft room, you could do that in as little as 10 minutes a day!
Seeing your time calendar will show you where those 10 free minutes are and you can “schedule” your organizing time just like that! Once you have added your resolutions onto you time calendar, put it in a place where you will be forced to look at it every day. My time calendar is on top of my laptop. Every day, before I can even open my laptop to start working, I have to pick up and look at my time calendar reminding myself of my goals.
Step 5. Reach Your Goals! Now that you’ve worked your goals into you schedule, you can’t use “no time” as an excuse. By eliminating excuses, you will be more likely to stick to your resolutions and actually accomplish them! Remember to start small. If your goal is to lose weight, don’t try to do an hour at the gym your first day. Start with 10 minutes then build up to longer and longer workouts each time you go.
Resolutions are just another way of saying you want to change your lifestyle. A change in lifestyle means forming new habits and a new habit can take up to 90 days to stick. Be patient! Don’t give up, stay focused, and work to reach that 90 day mark. If you can make it 3 months, you have a great chance of success.
One last thing to keep in mind, time management is just one of the many organizational tools available and it doesn’t work for everyone. If you try this technique and you’re still struggling, don’t worry! There are many other options you can try. Each month I’ll be bringing you new tips for getting your home and your life organized.
Do you have specific questions about your resolution? Let me know and I’ll give you some tips on how to achieve it!