Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wrangling Time

I have several spots in my home that have posed organizational challenges, requiring more than one attempt at a plan to stay under control. Eventually, though, I've found workable (if not perfect) strategies and containers for these spots, rendering myself the master of the space. How do I know I've reached a near-permanent solution? Setbacks (a fact of life) are easily rectified in a reasonable amount of time.

Wrangling time, however, is more of a challenge. Time is less messy to manage, but it's more mercurial, shrinking and expanding according to seasons, health and the needs of other people who are important to us. Because of this, our time management systems need to be flexible, too, especially if we're still working to find that near-perfect system.

Whether we're organizing things or time, the tools we use should be just that: tools. And, since time constraints change from day to day and from season to season, it only makes sense that we might need to change our tools to match our shifting time frames.

There's much to be said for celebrating the things we DO accomplish
instead of focusing on the things we don't.
This week, I dusted off a tool I started using back in February, then set aside in favor of more traditional lists and plans. As May slid into June, whose days dissipated like so many puffs of smoke, lists just weren't working for me. I was drowning in tasks and appointments and I felt the need to see what I was accomplishing.

Never underestimate the power of the right tool in the right hands.

Not only did I begin to see what I was doing with my time, but I also found it easier to focus on what I needed to do. I bought a new calendar -- one more in keeping with the current rhythm of my days--one that didn't allow me to co-mingle endless lists with daily deadlines. I found the courage to cull all of the half-finished lists on my desk and to re-think my day-to-day planning strategy. New lists materialized in a less haphazard fashion and I revamped my dormant tickler file to match my current needs.

My new calendar, which
I just realized, matches
my daily "did it" sheet.
Admittedly, novelty is part of the success of this plan, but the nice thing about novelty is that, when it comes to organizing, we can make that happen any time. Buy a new tool, try a new strategy -- or dust off an old one that worked but somehow got set aside.

Life changes. And so our strategies sometimes need to change, too. If a system is working, use it, celebrate it and leave it alone. But, if it's not? Troubleshoot. Find the unmet need at the root of your frustration and use it to guide you to a solution.

More on that tomorrow.

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