Thursday, March 17, 2011

Time Management made easy - for me at least

There was a time in my life when every day was a crazy day, my children were all still at home and involved in numerous out of school activities, hubby was working shift work and I was working and also studying at university. I developed a habit which stopped me going crazy. Quite simply I wrote lists.

Some would call me mad maybe in this day and age of technology with I Phones and email and numerous other tools to keep us organised. I guess it’s the writer in me; I love to write at every opportunity. I love a clean sheet of paper and being able to fill the pages with neat little words. I am addicted to new notebooks and stationary. The first day of school with all my new equipment was one of the best parts of my childhood.

Okay many of you are probably thinking I’m crazy about now and are seriously concerned about my mental well – being. Don’t be, it was my way of coping with the craziness of having too many things to do and not enough hours in the day to do them. All working mums suffer from this ailment, rephrase that, I think all mothers full stop suffer from this problem, not just the working ones.

They say that if you want something done then give it to a busy person; consequently I got a lot of those tasks. I wrote sports newsletters, coached baseball teams, served on committees and always turned up to help when parents were needed.

We are all forced to find what works for us, for me it was lists. I’d have lists of who had to be where and when on my calendar on the fridge, included on each day were the starting times of when hubby was working (his shifts changed every week and there was no pattern to them). I prided myself that the kids made every activity on time and with the right equipment. I was one of those mothers who didn’t mind what activity my children wanted to do as long as they realised that once they committed that was it, they were in it for the season, there was no giving up halfway through.

My university assignments were completed on the sidelines during training sessions for soccer, or football, or baseball, or BMX. You name it and they probably played it and I would sit and study because it was the only option I had.

At work I would fill A4 pages of all my tasks for the day (important must do tasks had the dot point highlighted) and then I would sit at the end of the day and feel a sense of accomplishment when I looked at the number of crossed out tasks. Maybe it was time consuming to write the lists but it kept me on track when I had numerous interruptions during the day.

My journal was filled with list after list – goals to be achieved, places to visit, books to read, new things to learn. It’s a habit that is still with me today. I’ve tried Outlook and diaries and phone reminders, and every other option under the sun to keep my family organised and on time but I find that I still like the old fashioned comfort of hand written lists best of all.

What about you, how do you stay organised? What works best for you?

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it ~ Henry David Thoreau

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