Time Management 101
With the "go, go, go" attitude many have these days, it's difficult for some of us to pause and reflect on how much time and energy each day is spent on day-to-day tasks.
Learning Time Management skills is sometimes necessary for certain professions, but that does not mean that everyone is not capable of learning & applying these skills in their own lives.
Before I became a Professional Organizer, I was a Project Coordinator for the Government. Being immersed in the Project Management world for almost eight years allowed me the opportunity to refine my time management skills and learn the importance of them in both my Professional and personal life.
As a Professional Organizer, time management is crucial to the day-to-day run of my business. It is even more crucial since I am a one-woman show, meaning all internal and external business-related duties fall to me. These skills I've spent years crafting help;
Keep my business goals (daily, weekly, monthly etc.) in check
Allows me to provide equal time and dedication to clients and business tasks, and
Make time for my creative outlets and days off without feeling guilty or stressed.
The number one reason clients reach out to me is that they are feeling overwhelmed and don't have the time to address their space on their own. This could be because they have demanding jobs or family responsibilities, or they don't know where to start and are looking for guidance.
I'm here to tell you that everyone can learn how to manage their time effectively.
To help get you thinking, this article will touch on four (4) key elements to implementing time management skills in your daily routines so you can start seeing results fast!
1. Track Time to Complete Tasks
When someone asks you "how long does it take to fold your laundry?" you likely give an approximated answer such as "oh about 15 minutes".
It's likely at that moment you are either under or overestimating the amount of time.
Placing these false timeframes to these tasks will either prevent you from completing the task or completing the tasks incorrectly, allowing stress and procrastination to take hold and for clutter to rise once more in your space.
Recommendation: Track the amount of time it takes to complete a task. This will provide you with an accurate timeframe and a sense of reality for the daily tasks you wish to complete. Now that you have this information, you can plan out your daily routines to ensure all tasks are accounted for and completed stress-free and fully. This strategy is great for homeowners with a busy lifestyle or a typical 9-5 career.
2. Create a To-Do List
Creating a list of all the tasks that need to be completed on a daily, weekly, monthly etc. basis is a great way to not only keep yourself organized but also manage your time perfectly.
The number one thing to keep me find with To-Do Lists is to have realistic goals.
There is no happier feeling than checking items off a list, so the more obtainable you make it, the more likely you are complete the tasks without feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
To-Do lists are also great for freeing up precious brain space. Feeling the tasks you need to complete bouncing around your head can be exhausting and stressful, leading to unproductive work days, restless nights, and increasing the likelihood that something will be forgotten.
Recommendation: Create multiple to-do lists. These could be structured as daily, weekly, monthly, personal v professional, by family members, by category etc. everyone is different, so it may take some trial and error to find the structure that works best for you. Keep track of these lists either in a notebook, on sticky notes, calendar, or, if you are a fan of digital tracking, using an app such as Microsoft To Do , Calendly or Habitica.
3. Wardrobe Management
Now that more and more people and beginning to return to the office for work and kids are back to school, the decisions on what to wear are encroaching on morning routines once more.
For some people. deciding what to wear does not take up much time, but if your closet is packed with options, or you have other tasks you need to do, or maybe you are just not that much of a morning person, making this decision takes longer than you think.
When I was young, my mom would have me pick out my outfit the night before. I kept this up in high school, university, and even when I was working a traditional office job prior to the pandemic. It was a relief to know that it was one less thing I needed to do in the morning (and the little extra sleep didn't hurt either!). It helped me feel less stressed and more prepared for the next day.
Recommendation: If you have a very full closet, looking to declutter is a great first step. The fewer options, the quicker and easier it is to make decisions. Alternatives can be planning your outfits for the entire week, creating a capsule wardrobe (check out my blog article on that here!), or organizing the closet so coordinating items are together and can be combined quickly and easily.
4. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!
Sometimes we feel that we have too many tasks to complete because we feel we need to complete them all by ourselves.
No matter how organized or prepared you are, there will always be items that can be passed off for others to handle.
By enlisting the help of others to complete tasks, more can be accomplished in a smaller amount of time, and prevent burnout from taking place. Many people, especially mothers and sometimes women in general, feel they need to do everything. That type of thinking does more harm than good, and everyone, not just the task keeper is feeling the negative effects.
Recommendation: When creating your task lists, only assign those tasks you can feasibly complete to yourself and delegate the rest to others. If you live alone, triage your tasks by order of importance, focusing only on those you can complete now, leaving the rest for another time. Completing this exercise, either internally or with family members/social circles allow you to accurately assess the work that needs to be done, hold proactive and productive discussions, and focus on the tasks at hand.
Now that I have shared with you a few strategies for time management, I encourage you to try implementing these in your daily routine and see the results!
🤞🏻 Just like with organizing, learning and incorporating these skills takes time. Learning new routines and strategies takes time, however, the more you repeat those processes the more likely it is that you will see long-lasting results!
Keep in mind, Professional Organizers, such as myself, are always available to help and support you in any way they can. We don't just work on reclaiming physical space, but also in implementing strategies and workflows that are sustainable and allow you to focus your time and energy on what matters most.
Ready to get started?
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About the Author: Brittany Smith lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and feline furbaby Zoey. She is a Certified Professional Organizer, Owner, and Founder of Control the Chaos, a Professional Organizing business that provides personalized in-home, virtual and digital organizing services aimed at transforming anyone's chaos into calm.