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Amazing Secrets To Organizing Time And Space


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How To Find Yourself And Get That Unique ‘You’ Organized




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“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.” - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

If you recognize yourself in the above descriptions, you’re not alone. Millions of families are finding themselves in the same predicament. There’s so much to do, and so little time to them all.

And when it comes to getting organized, it’s a little similar to the weather. Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it. Or they make a half-hearted attempt at getting organized, but they never push through. Two weeks later, the disaster comes back, sometimes worse than ever.

That day planner you purchased is useless unless you use it constructively. It won’t automatically help you with your time organization problems, unless you put it to good use. List carefully everything of importance in your life. Write your schedule in it, give the time necessary to each item, and remember to make an appointment with yourself. Use that planner to your best advantage, or it will just become a beautiful leather paperweight.

Write down all the tasks that absolutely must be done, any errands that must be run, any appointments you must keep, and any deadlines coming up. Take a few minutes each evening to review what’s due the next day.

This allows you to plan for the meals that have to be fixed, what you need to wear, and where you need to be the next day. Resist the temptation to overbook yourself for each day. There is only so much you can cram into a single day. If you overload your schedule, you’ll find it impossible to finish all the tasks you’ve set for yourself. You’ll just be depressed or frustrated if you don’t accomplish all your tasks.

So, let’s take the process step-by-step, starting with the basics. Do you constantly find yourself losing your keys? If you’re so disorganized that you can’t find something as simple as your keys, how are you ever going to get your home, your office, your kids, and your personal life organized?

Before you can find those keys, you must first find yourself. Sounds simple, right? You have to find your own unique self before you can even begin to start organizing your life.

Do you know yourself well enough to find that unique “you?” What is it you need and want out of life? What are your passions, your quirks, your special needs? Everyone has his or her own unique style, so what’s yours?

You must know the answers to these questions in order to sort through your life and get everything organized. Knowing yourself is crucial. Only then can you organize your life in such a way as to form an environment that supports and nurtures you. If you’ve taken care of and nurtured yourself, you’re now in a position to help and nurture others.

Let’s start by taking a look at your to-do list and see what’s important to you. What do you do all day, every day? What are your weekends like? What do you do for fun? Is your list full of things you think you should be doing, or are they things that are important to you. Are they things that are vital to your life and happiness? Are you spending your precious time on important things? The US poet, Carl Sandburg tells us that, “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”

I can see you rolling your eyes right now and moaning, “What does this have to do with getting more organized?” Let me tell you it has everything to do with it. To find out about your own life, start by taking a walk through your home. Go through each room and look at every piece you own, the furniture, the knickknacks, the books, music, movies, pictures on the walls, even plants.

Do you remember when you acquired these items? How long ago was it? Do you still like those pieces or have you just grown used to having them around? What do they mean to you?

The one sure thing in our lives besides death and taxes is change. We change all the time. What you enjoyed five years ago may not be enjoyable or appropriate for you today. Maybe your work has changed or your family is different somehow. Your children may have grown up and moved away, or maybe you’ve just started your family. Both are serious changes in your life and must be considered. It certainly means a shift in priorities either way.

Take a walk around your house. As you go around your home, can you notice some stuff that does not necessarily matter as much to you as it used to? Your priorities change, your tastes change, it’s a fact of life. What things are still important to you? Somewhere buried in those possessions are the keys to your values - those that are vital to you and your life. You may discover that over the years, those values have changed a bit here and there. Change may seem risky at times, but it also brings with it a sense of freshness, an exciting new challenge. You’ll begin to see things from a different perspective.

It’s important that you know yourself. Know your body, your mind, your spirit, and your heart. No one else will ever know you as well as you do yourself.

Start by looking in the mirror and saying hello to that stranger who looks mysteriously back at you. You should get to know him/her. Find out what means the most to that person. If you only have six months to live, what would you consider the most important things in your life? What would you do and how would you spend those few precious moments?

Now review that to-do list again. Does it bear any resemblance to the life you once envisioned for yourself? Take a look at your daily schedule and ask yourself the same question. If you discover you have veered off the planned road, there’s still time to get back on track.

You probably think that what you really want isn’t important. You figure you have to do what you have to do to get by these days. That’s not true. You can have what you want. It might be a matter of small changes right at first. Instant gratification is not possible, but it doesn’t mean you can’t affect a few changes to eventually get what you really, really want. Believe that you are capable of getting it and that you deserve to get it.

To get what you want is simply a matter of figuring out where you want to be, then working backward in order to form a plan and a time line for achieving it. This is where organization comes into play. If you organize your life and work hard, you can get whatever you want.

Ask yourself what you really want in your life - for your own life and for your family/friends. Write them all down. You can’t achieve goals you haven’t identified. If one of your goals is to spend more quality time with your spouse and kids, but you work seventy or eighty hours a week, something has to give. Find out how many trivial projects you do that aren’t truly necessary. If all the projects are vital, are there any tasks that can be delegated to others. Can someone step in and do them for you?

Is travel one of the goals of your life? Since vacation time is essential to everyone, decide where you’d like to go and take your family, then start planning for it. Send off for brochures, check flights and hotel accommodations, and start saving for the trip. Get the whole family involved in the planning stages; let them help decide what to see, where to eat, and where to sleep. The anticipation is part of the fun and good for the whole family. More about organizing vacations in another chapter.

Find yourself a Month-At-A-Glance calendar and start scheduling time for what you really want. Don’t forget to schedule some “me” time. This is not selfish or unnecessary. You can’t continue to give to others without replenishing yourself now and then. You know the old saying, “You can’t give from an empty cup.”

I know what you’re saying now. “There’s just no time for anything extra, my time is already maxed out, and I’m constantly juggling things to make the time for everything I have to do. Where would I find any time for myself?” Juggling is for circus performers. All you need is a plan to learn to balance your life. M. Scott Peck tells us that, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”

Stressed out, you say? When a person is faced with some kind of danger, their hormone levels change and they go into the “fight or flight” mode. This can be very effective for short periods of time, but staying in this mode for long periods can affect the immune system, causing it to break down after awhile. You must allow some recharging time. Failing to do so can cause serious consequences. So when you’re organizing your schedule for each day, don’t forget to include at least a few minutes of time just for yourself.

Another cause of stress (that is self-induced) is our penchant for over commitment. We feel the need to be “people pleasers” all the time. We don’t have to say yes to everyone and everything, yet we have a tendency to do so. Why can’t we say “no” once in a while? It could be that we want people to like us, and that we’re afraid they won’t like us if we say no. The truth of the matter is … everyone who already likes us will not stop liking us just because we say “no.”

We also truly hate to let other people down and feel we must try our hardest to get anything done, whatever it is they need. We want to be the “go-to” person - the one other people always turn to in emergencies.

So between work pressures, family responsibilities, over commitment, and information overload, it’s no wonder we start longing for a simpler life, or at least the life we once envisioned for our families and ourselves. So, write down those goals and post them where you can see them every day. When you begin to organize your day to include steps towards those goals, things will begin to change. It may be slow at first, but you’ll soon begin to see how much closer to those goals you are getting, day by day.

Each day, check your calendar and to-do list and see where you can shave a few minutes here or an hour there to spend quality time with yourself or your family/friends. As you see the change in your life happening right before your eyes, you’ll begin to understand the activities that are important to you. Enjoy every second of the time you have given to yourself.

One of the pitfalls you may discover while trying to get yourself organized is the tendency of human beings to become locked into a routine. It’s very easy to find yourself in a rut and it’s very hard to dig your way out. You may find yourself saying things like, “But that’s the way I’ve always done it.” That’s no reason to continue doing it that way, especially if it’s not working for you. Let yourself explore some new ways of doing things. You might just find a new, easier, and more fun way of handling those tasks. Be creative and inventive, and some of those challenges just might be easier than you thought.

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” - Will Rogers










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