One would think that such an enormous task like organizing a life would take days, weeks, even months. But 30 minutes! What’s the catch?
So often we allow our minds to over-complicate things. It really is a very simple process to organize your days in a few short steps. Once you’ve read and applied the steps below, you’ll be amazed at how much more you’re able to accomplish and–you may want to sit down for this one–you’ll have more free time to spend doing the things you enjoy. Yes, it’s true.
It’s literally as easy as 1, 2, 3… So, why waste any more time. Let’s get started.
1. Make a master list of everything you want and need to do. This can span anywhere from transforming your body to doing the dishes. Throw it all into the same list without any priority given. I suggest you create your master list in a word document. If you’re more comfortable with a notebook, get uncomfortable. Why? Because, when you muddy up a notebook by making changes, or crossing off items, you may have the urge to re-write the entire list in order to keep it neat. This puts you in danger of becoming a chronic and compulsive list maker which, in turn, means you’re unlikely to accomplish much more than re-writing lists. Trust me, been there done that. Type the list and avoid the mess. Keep it clean and simple. Do not use calendaring programs just yet. We’ll get to that in a few moments.
2. Now that you have your list, detail it. For instance, if you want to lose weight, add how much and by when. If you want to start a home based business, fill in the details and deadlines. If you want to be at the gym by 6 a.m. every morning, write it down.
3. Break the goals into tasks. If your goal is to lose 20 lbs. by June 1st, break it down into tasks such as go to the gym; buy healthy foods, etc. If your goal is to start a home based business, break it down into tasks such as get business license; research online marketing, etc.
4. Use Google, Yahoo, Outlook or some other calendaring program to create a weekly planner to fill in all of your goals, appointments, obligations and tasks. Do not fill in more than one week at a time. Simply use your master list to select tasks, staying within the one week perimeter. The logic for one week at a time is simple. First, we never know what may arise during a week that will provoke a change in plans, most likely causing other tasks or to dos that follow to also be amended. Imagine having to change three or four weeks out. Ouch. Secondly, this is the point where most people become overwhelmed. Don’t worry, you won’t forget anything; it’s all on the master list.
5. Now that you have your week tasks at hand, break it down into days, one day at a time. Each night before going to bed, take an inventory of what was accomplished in that day and then plan the next day accordingly, selecting from your weekly list. Do this every night in preparation for the next day. Only plan one day at a time in the week. This will eliminate an enormous amount of stress that last minute changes and other amendments sometimes cause. Attempt to accomplish everything on your daily list, but if something has to be changed, roll what wasn’t completed into the following day.
At the end of the week, start this process over by making your weekly list, selecting from the master list. What normally causes us to abandon our lists and schedules are the ongoing changes that occur in life which throw off the “plan”. If you’ve scheduled your entire week in advance, it may be too overwhelming to go back and re-write it every time a wrench gets tossed in to the mix. However, re-writing one day is manageable. By creating a schedule for each day, the night before, you remain in control of your schedule, thus keeping stress at bay and optimizing your productivity. Additionally, you will find that you are now incredibly organized.
Let’s recap. There are really only three actual steps. Create a master list (which you can add and subtract from to your heart’s content). Use the master list to create a weekly list, one week at a time. Use your weekly list to schedule each day, the evening before.
After you’ve created the master list, you won’t have to repeat that process, other than adding and removing things as you go along. The master list is random. There is no particular order to it, so you can add and subtract things with little effort. This is simply a list to choose tasks from when organizing. Another benefit to the master list is finding comfort in knowing that all of your ideas, plans, goals, tasks, to dos and obligations are documented so you won’t forget anything.
Once you’re organized, there’s no turning back. It’s all about breathing room and maintenance from here on out. Woohoo!