Do you constantly feel like you are fighting fires? If so, you are not alone. We are now living in a world where we have to juggle family priorities, work commitments, friends, personal goals, social activities, and more. A busy lifestyle is the norm. Unfortunately, many people are actively trying to navigate this lifestyle in a disorganized fashion. This can lead to procrastination, endless fire-fighting, and a feeling like you’ve lost complete control.
Who wants to live like that? Probably not many. It’s simply not sustainable in the long-run. The good news is, there is a road to recovery. If you recognize these attributes in yourself, you can take some simple steps to regain control and get organized.
Let’s have a look at some improvements you can make.
The first thing to do is to look at the work that you have on your plate and decide what must be done first. Decide what you must do immediately or pay the consequences (e.g. pay bills, or college tuition, etc). Then, decide what should be done as soon as possible. Next, what should be done if you can. And finally, what would be nice to do if you can. Anything else is cluttering up your plate and getting in the way of important work.
2. Establish hard deadlines.
It is pointless to establish deadlines and not stick to them. Instead, make it a hard and fast rule that you must stick to you guns and meet deadlines no matter what happens. Deadlines prevent fire-fighting. Fire-fighting is when you have left everything too late and are franticly running around, trying to do things that should have been done days or weeks ago, to prevent certain disaster.
Make it your practice to set achievable and realistic deadlines. Do not be distracted from them unless something that absolutely must be done immediately comes up and must be prioritized.
3. Do not procrastinate – Keep the momentum going!
You know that old saying “Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.” If you find that you have finished a task early, start the next one immediately. Do not decide that you have made yourself a bit of “free time” and put it off until tomorrow just because it was on your “should be done list” list and not your “must be done immediately” list. Do yourself a favor and keep the momentum going. You may, in fact, find that “free time” may actually be needed after all.
4. Delegate, delegate, delegate.
In your professional life, you may have people working under you. If so, delegate some tasks to them. On many occasions, persons in authority tend to take on more than they should – especially when they view a task as being important. But consider a different approach and show some faith in the people who work under you. It will do you both some good.
In your personal life, consider providing more responsibility to those around you by sharing in family priorities. Perhaps it would make sense to hire help to work on specific projects around the house. Really consider what can only be completed by you, then delegate accordingly.
5. Invest in a good planner.
Grab yourself a great planner! In today’s world, you have a variety of options from a regular calendar to a number of apps you can use on your phone. Whether you are a pen/paper person or prefer to use technology, a good planner can do wonders for keeping you organized. I recently purchased the Panda Plannerwhich is a best seller on Amazon. It has been fantastic for allowing to thoughtfully list out the daily, weekly, and monthly priorities. It truly provides a feeling of control over your schedule. This may be a great option for you as well, but you really have to find what works best for you.
REMEMBER: Not everyone can be totally organized all of the time. However, if you follow these tips, you will go a long way towards improving your quality of life and work. These tips can be applied to any aspect of your personal and professional life.