I still feel like I’m getting adjusted to life with teaching responsibilities. It’s added just enough to my schedule that it makes my days and weeks pretty fast-paced. Which leads me to a topic I’d like to address: staying organized.
I had a conversation with two dear friends on Friday over lunch. We discussed how we “used to be organized.” In college I had it figured out. I managed my studying, set my priorities and I almost always felt like I was on top of things. Sure my responsibilities were far fewer than they are today, but still my classes demanded a lot of time and work, and it always found a way to handle that.
Then things changed.
Life is full of change and transformation. Stagnation is not healthy. Living things grow, transform and enter and exit various phases or seasons. This is good, healthy and normal.
Marriage, graduate school, family, friendships, housework, fitness, spiritual health. These are all endeavors that I have chosen and find tremendous joy in. But they place demands on my time and energy. It’s a constant challenge to stay on top of these endeavors. I’m so tempted to throw up my hands and say I just lost my organizational flare…but that’s a cop-out and a lie.
In reality, I need to re-learn organizational skills in each new phase of life. I’ll never be done figuring it out because my roles are constantly evolving!
So how do we do it? A few tips I’ve found myself to be re-learning:
1. Make lists. When you think of something as you’re falling asleep, grab your phone and put it on your Notes. When you’re in the middle of a task and you remember another task, just pause, write it down, and completes the original task before tackling that new one. We need a certain level of tunnel-vision to focus on one thing at a time, but when those thoughts and reminders pop up in your head, don’t ignore them. Just write them down and save them for later.
2. Deal with it the first time. If you can get something off your desk the first time it appears on your desk, do it. If the task is simple, do it. I find myself constantly tempted to procrastinate on the simple small tasks, thinking they won’t possibly take that long…and then I kick myself for letting the easy task be the one that trips me up.
3. Take a deep breath. Breathe in for 7 seconds. Hold for 7 seconds. Slowly exhale for 7 seconds. Now do it again. All of a sudden, you can take on the world, can’t you?!
4. Prioritize….honestly. It’s essential to be honest with yourself here. I find myself wanting to do my favorite tasks first, but in times when the to-do list is never slowing in its growth, it may be necessary to be brutally honest with yourself. Do you really need to bake those pumpkin protein bars, or will a store-bought bar be just fine, if it means you can use the time you would’ve spent baking grading exams, or even just hanging out with your husband. Evaluate and re-evaluate: what is my most important task right now?
Right now, it’s time for me to ignore the demands that will start tomorrow morning when I walk into lab, and instead of worrying or fretting, spend the rest of my Sunday relaxing with the love of my life. I’m so happy I get to be with him! And of course we will be watching Breaking Bad tonight! 🙂
What do you do when you find your organizational skills starting to slip?
What’s on the docket for your Sunday? I hope it’s full of lots of time with the people you love.