Handling a busy schedule can be difficult. Handling a busy schedule as a working professional can be even harder. It’s time to organize your life and find the right tools for the job. We discuss 8 tips to help get and stay organized if you are a busy professional.
What we cover in this episode:
- 02:04 – Establishing a morning routine
- 08:51 – To-do lists
- 11:51 – Use a calendar
- 16:37 – Project management tools
- 17:32 – Order, pick up, drive off
- 20:28 – Don’t forget margin time
- 22:09 – Openness, honesty and delegation
#1: Gratitude & morning routine
Establishing a consistent morning routine is essential for the success of your day.Waking up in the morning and giving yourself time to reflect, relax, and assess your day will help you be more aware and present. Establishing this routine, of course, prior to waking up is a key factor to the success of your morning routine. Knowing what you’re going to do when you wake up and how you are going to do it, relieves the stress of implementing this routine since it is not a natural process.
Moment of Gratitude
One of the tools to help you stay organized is Rachel Hollis’ Five to Thrive checklist. The main point on this checklist that we have used and found valuable is starting your day off with practicing gratitude. Host Megan Spicer talks about how she writes down five things she is thankful for. Doing this gives you more appreciation throughout the day.
She also talks about writing down ways to achieve these. For instance, if you are grateful for your children. How are you going to show this today? How are you going to make sure you experience the gratitude of your children today instead of just going through the motions and not being present?
#2: To-do lists
To-do lists may seem cliche, but they are core to actually getting things done. Having something that you can refer to and see to keep you on track and organized will make you more productive. You may be able to keep a day’s worth or even a week’s worth of things you need to do in your head, but it will catch up to you.
One of the best apps for organization we have used is Todoist. This is a free app that allows you to organize your to-do lists, share them, add attachments and more. This of course is just one of many apps for organizing yourself.
The most important thing to remember when using a tool to organize is to make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself with organizing tools and techniques. Pick one, if it doesn’t workout then try something different, but don’t do all of them. Consolidation is essential to organization and productivity.
#3: Use a calendar
Calendars can help save your daily life! Google Calendar is a wonderful resource to collaborate and share. Whether it is work items or your social life, planning and organizing your days while being able to share it with the others involved in those plans, is a game changer.
It is important to remember that calendars are great, but you do still need to make sure you consistently utilize them. If you don’t enter the events or share them with those that are involved in them, it won’t work for you. Another thing to keep in mind when using your calendar app is the reminder and notification features.
Setting multiple reminders weeks and days in advance leading up to the event can help ensure it doesn’t sneak up on you. Partner Katina Peters makes a great point about setting reminders a couple of hours or minutes before the event. This gives you time to make leave on schedule or work in last minute details, like picking up a present for a birthday party.
#4: Automation apps
Automating life can help tremendously! We found an automation app, If This Then That, that offers some great features. You can use this tool to automate events and occurrences in your life.
With IFTTT, Megan was able to add a notification for when the International Space Station flew over her home. You can setup many if, then situations with what they refer to as applets, or you can program your own. For example, turn on your lights automatically when you get home, or reduce the volume when someone rings your Ring doorbell.
#5: Project management tools
Two additional tools to help you stay organized that are great project management tools are Trello and Asana. These are more based towards project management to do lists. Everyone has a different way of working and doing things, so these may be for you and they may not be.
Trello and Asana are two of the best apps for organization and collaboration within a team. You can share resources and projects across these platforms that will help keep people accountable and drive production.
#6: Order, pick up, drive off
There are so many resources available with technology that you can take advantage of to make your life easier and more organized. Many stores, like Target and Wal-Mart, offer their own apps to schedule pick up orders already. In addition, Instacart offers pickup options for many other stores who may not offer their own app.
These apps allow you to add items to your cart as you need them, place and pay for the order and then when it is ready, they either deliver your items or you can pick them up. What would have taken you an hour to do, now takes just a quarter of that time.
Remember to leave time for errors. The people getting your cart together are still people who can make mistakes, forget items, or give you the wrong item, so provide yourself a cushion in case you do need to run in for something.
#7: Don’t forget margin time
What is margin time? Margin time is the buffer you give yourself to account for life. You cannot schedule a meeting from 6-7 at the coffee shop and then expect to pick up your child from soccer practice at 7:05 across town. Allowing for life to happen such as a traffic accident, red lights, traffic jams, weather, or meeting to go over time a few minutes, is crucial to reducing stress and staying organized.
Partner Katina Peters talks about scheduling in buffer time to allow for daily life occurrences; even daily tasks such as eating. If you have back to back meetings all day, most likely you will skip lunch, snacks, bathroom breaks, water breaks, etc. Mapping and scheduling out time on your calendar to account for these necessities in life will make your day smoother and more enjoyable.
#8: Practice openness, honesty and delegation
One of the most important parts of getting organized is saying no to events and projects. You cannot run yourself thin and expect to achieve everything you set out to do all the time. There are times when you have to be open and honest with the people in your life, whether work or social, and turn things down.
There are also times when you have to delegate work at home and in the office. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, and saying no to dinner plans when you’re overwhelmed is not rude. The people in your life are usually there because they care about your wellbeing and want what is best for you.
Being open about what you have going on in your life, being honest with these people and letting them know you don’t want to hang out because you are tired, and delegating and asking for help when you need it is essential to staying productive and staying sane.
Whether you are trying to get organized for the first time or you are jumping back on the wagon you fell off of, utilizing tools to help you stay organized can help you stay healthy. The act of getting organized can be just as overwhelming and not being organized and forgetting things or getting behind on tasks. Take it slow, do what works for you and don’t force anything. Staying consistent will go a long way in this process.