Each day can seem like a race we are trying to win. We may have a to-do list a mile-long, children that require our attention, or a spouse that needs something before heading off to work. Somedays, it can seem like all we do is run from one task to another and try to stay afloat.
We don’t have to go through each day feeling like we are going to sink. We can stay organized and productive and accomplish most of our to-do lists each day. But is this even possible? Here are 4 simple tips to help you organize your day.
1. Prepare a day ahead.
Organizing and accomplishing your daily tasks takes preparation. Prepare a day ahead for the tasks of today. Each night, create a to-do list for the upcoming day. Once your list is finished, number each item in order of priority. Then, when you wake up, begin at the number one task and go through your list. This is one way to ensure you accomplish your most important tasks first.
Preparing my to-do lists in advanced is one of the few ways I keep my sanity each week. However, I plan my entire week each Sunday. I create a weekly calendar and enter all of the events and activities I must attend on each assigned day throughout the week. Then, I go through my list of chores and other daily tasks that must be accomplished and I add them to the calendar. For example, Monday may have mop floors, clean bathroom, do laundry. Tuesday may have go grocery shopping, return book to the library, pick up dry cleaning, etc. Of course, I add things throughout the week that pop up but this is one way I can stay organized and look ahead to what needs to be done.
2. Write it down.
One of the best ways to organize your day is to write everything down. When you don’t have a physical list to view, tasks that need to be accomplished are often put on the back burner. Then important tasks that require time to complete are often forgotten until the last minute.
You can keep a list several ways. You can use a day planner or put a calendar on your fridge. I need much more room than what a planner or calendar provides, so I use an app on my phone that lets me create a daily, weekly and monthly to-do list. Or, if you prefer, keep a notepad and a pencil on the counter and keep a running list of things to complete. However you choose to write it down, do it and stick to it.
3. Stick to a schedule.
One of the fastest ways to lose focus throughout your day is to fluctuate with a daily schedule. Get up at the same time each day and start your to-do list. When you sleep in, you lose precious time that could be spent accomplishing tasks. And when you don’t receive enough sleep, you don’t have the energy to be productive. Also, avoid spending too much time surfing the Internet, watching TV or talking on the phone. You need to allow for free time throughout your day, but too much of it prevents you from getting anything done.
I like to get all of my cleaning and studying done in the morning. With this schedule, I feel like I have a clean environment for the remainder of the day, or at least until the kids and my husband come home. I like to schedule my work in the afternoon and time with my family at night. When I stick to this type of structure, I don’t stress out as often and worry that I’m running out of time throughout the day.
4. Break up large projects.
When you have large projects to work on, break them up into smaller, more manageable tasks. If the project has a deadline, start on it several days in advance and work on it a little at a time. Procrastination is your enemy and will cause you stress and frustration. When it comes to large household chores that need to be accomplished, break it up into several days or even weekends. You don’t have to rush to get things done. Take your time and do a good job.
By organizing your day, you can accomplish your to-do list. You don’t have to stress about a to-do list that never seems to end. By applying a few of the above suggestions into your life, you will find that you are more productive and feel much better about what you are accomplishing each day.
Courtnie Erickson is a Utah State University graduate and a technology guru.