Work, family, cleaning the house, preparing for the holidays…who has the time to do it all? Last week, Sharon Lowenheim shared her tips for cleaning up clutter, and now the “Organizing Goddess” is back to share her best strategies for effectively managing your time and staying on top of all of your commitments.
During her 25 years in corporate America, Sharon saw firsthand how a lack of direction often leads employees astray. Here she shares how to manage your “To-Do” list effectively with time to spare.
Break down projects. The key to a successful to-do list is to differentiate between a task and a project. If you put a big thing on your list that has too many tasks, you’ll feel defeated and overwhelmed and not get anywhere. So if you need to do laundry tomorrow, add it to the list. But don’t put “lose weight” on there; instead, break it down into tasks, such as getting a gym membership, buying a low calorie cookbook, etc.
Keep it small. Keep your to-do list to a reasonable length. If you put 30 things on your list, you’ll go mad. But if you put 10 tasks, with a few that are high priority, that’s manageable. Reprioritize your list daily, crossing off the things you completed yesterday and adding new things you want to get done today.
Make it fun. When you have a day off, you always think you’re going to accomplish more than you can. To make your weekends productive but still relaxing, make a list of the things you want to get done, and then cut it in half. Do the boring tasks – filing taxes, sorting through insurance forms – first thing in the morning. How do you make them enjoyable? Be creative. Put on a fancy outfit you don’t get to wear often or sing along to your favorite album as you are doing it – whatever strikes your fancy.
Find time for you. Don’t think just because a commitment is personal that it doesn’t deserve to go on your calendar. You shouldn’t always get just the leftover time. Block out time to go to yoga or get a massage, and make it non-negotiable. If your boss needs you for work, say you have a prior commitment – just don’t tell him it’s with your masseuse.