Winter is fast approaching, and now that your fall routines have been established (I hope), you may have had some successes and possibly, some glitches.  Here are some time-saving tips that should help create a better sense of organization (and maybe even a sense of peace) in the coming months:

Communicate and Delegate

Instead of “doing it all, all the time,” make a list of the things that only you can do, but also make a list of the things that a family member can do to help you. Older children can be a big help when it comes to running errands, shopping, and deeper cleaning around the house. Younger children can help sort clothes and toys, tidy, and prepare easy meals. This just doesn’t apply to family life. If you are on a volunteer committee, can you enlist more members to divide and conquer the work?

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

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Time Management

Are you a list-maker? How many calendars do you have? Try to get your calendars down to one. It is hard to manage too may people, tasks and time if they are spread out between a family calendar, for example, and a personal calendar. Decide if you will use a computer calendar (like Google Calendar) where multiple people can add and revise their appointments (soccer games, date night plans, work commitments), or if there will be a paper calendar located in one central location in the house. When planning appointments and projects, take into consideration what else might be happening around the same time. Will it impact your plans? Also, consider distance, cost (this includes hours – not just money), and the value that that activity will bring to you and to your family. I hear, often too late, many regrets about commitments such as travel soccer AND dance lessons took a huge toll on the family’s ability to enjoy their time together. I put my daily tasks in my calendar as appointments. I never miss appointments, even with myself! Taking time to really plan – even months ahead – can save so much aggravation and stress. It can also help you align your activities with your priorities.

 

Carve Out Time for the Unexpected

We usually set out at the beginning of our day with great intentions. Then, the phone rings, and something needs to be handled now. A piece of mail comes and we wish we hadn’t opened it, because we have to call about it now. When our day turns upside down with new priorities, we feel washed out and truly unproductive. So many times, we don’t make room for the unexpected. Planning for 2 hours of interruptions really helps to manage our expectations better, and to leave us feeling more in control of our day.

Finish What You Start

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Finish What You Start

So many of us heard this from teachers, parents, and grandparents growing up. It is the habit that kept the kitchen clean, the homework done, and got us through our chores. It is what kept us from quitting that sports team that we didn’t like when we were kids, and made us see an end in sight for the unpleasant work ahead (whatever it was). An example of this would be that if you begin to open your mail, don’t walk away from a half-processed pile of paper. Instead, treat it like a meal (no, don’t eat it!). If food was on the table, you would sit down, dig in, digest, and clean your dishes when you are done. So, when it’s time to “eat,” you would open your non-junk mail, read what’s inside, put the bills in your “to pay” folder, and file the reference papers in that cabinet upstairs/downstairs. Then you would recycle the paper trash, and shred the sensitive info.

Choose One New Routine That Will Make a Big Difference

Try to pick a new routine or strategy that will help you feel better about your time or your environment. My clients that choose one (and only one!) thing and make it a habit can usually
make it stick for years. I have a former client that recently told me that she still sorts her mail the way I taught her. Another one told me that shefile-box blocks her time in her day so that she always has enough time to get her three planned tasks done, and the three that come up during that time.
Winter can be a great season to really make some lasting changes.  Keep it simple, and create the kind of life you want to live!

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