Welcome to 'My Organised Life Series', a feature where we will be looking at various ways to organise yourself and streamline your life. By the time January 1st rolls around, you will be ready and raring to take on the New Year.
Week 2: Time Management
(You can read the first article HERE – Creating a Home Workspace)
One of the topics I cover in my Motivate Me workshops is ‘Time Management’. We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day, but it’s what we do with them that matter. I often refer to Stephen Covey’s approach, using the Time Matrix. This is the process of putting your tasks or to-do list into one of four boxes.
- Important and urgent
- Important and not urgent
- Not important and urgent
- Not important and not urgent
Writing my newsletter is important because it keeps the line of communication open between my readers and me, however, it’s not an urgent task as I have three weeks until my scheduled publication date – important but not urgent.
As much as I would enjoy seeing an empty inbox, I know that organising my emails isn’t vital to my day or week – not important and not urgent.
As my daughter sprinted out of the door this morning she shouted over her shoulder, ‘I’ve just finished the toothpaste!’ buy toothpaste suddenly became - important and urgent.
My incredible proofreader and editor works hard to ensure that my books and projects are the best they can be before I publish. Having to work with my grammar blunders she deserves a medal, but for today, I will be paying the invoice she sent me – important and urgent.
At this time of year the hairdressing salon is a bustling place to be, and appointments are scarce. So when I realised I wouldn’t be able to make my next appointment I added a quick call to cancel on my to-do list. The salon I visit has a 24-hour cancellation policy, so if I forget to cancel or don’t turn up, then I get charged – important and urgent.
I like using this process when I have a to-do list longer than my arm. It helps me to streamline what I need to do and push those urgent and important tasks to the top. At Christmas time, our to-do list may be crammed with a variety of work, family and social tasks. There is more to do at this time of year, and taking a minute to write out a time matrix plan may just tip you over the edge. Don’t panic! I have a simpler process for you that will keep you organised and calm.
The three D’s!
- Do It
- Delegate It
- Defer It
Run out of toilet paper and your mother-in-law is due in an hour? That’s in the ‘do it’ category.
Forgotten to buy five selection boxes for little Katie’s school friends? Delegate that to your partner, he/she can grab them from the Shop & Save on the way home from work.
Need to book your six months check up with the dentist? Defer it until the New Year and jot a note to yourself in your diary to make the call when everyone returns to work.
The three D approach allows you to plough through your to-do list quickly and efficiently. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’m a single mum and therefore don’t have a partner to call on or delegate to – but I do have family and friends. If my mum is heading to Tesco I could ask her to pick up a forgotten item, or if a friend is taking their children to an event I could ask them to take my children too so I’m free to do another task on my to-do list.
How do you organise your time during the festive holidays? Share your tips in the comments below, or join the conversation on my Facebook page.