Most people find that disorganization results in poor time management. Professional organizers recommend that you first get rid of the clutter.
A frequently used method is to set up three boxes (or corners of a room) labeled “Keep” – “Give Away” – “Toss.” Separate the clutter by sorting items into these boxes. Immediately discard items in your “Toss” box. Your “Give Away” box may include items you want to sell, delegate, or discontinue so find a method to eliminate these items such as a yard sale, charitable donation, or gifts to friends or family members outside your home.
With the clutter gone, the next step is to implement a system that allows you to handle information (e.g., tasks, papers, e-mail, etc.) less, only once, when possible.
Basically you have 5 options for handling information:
1. Throw it away, delete it, or otherwise get rid of it.
2. Delegate it: give it to someone else to do, file, or respond.
3. Act on it yourself. Then throw it away or file it.
4. File it temporarily until it needs action or until additional information is received. Follow-up: a “tickler” file can be useful for holding temporary information.
5. File it permanently where you can easily find it later.
(Dodd and Sundheim, 2005).
5. Schedule Your Time Appropriately
Even the busiest people find time for what they want to do and feel is important. Scheduling is not just recording what you have to do (e.g., meetings and appointments), it is also making a time commitment to the things you want to do. Good scheduling requires that you know yourself. Using your time log, you should have determined those times during the day when
you are most productive and alert. Plan your most challenging tasks for when you have the most energy. Block out time for your high priority activities first and protect that time from interruptions.
If you know you will have waiting time or commuting time, schedule small tasks such as writing a letter, jotting down a shopping list, reading or listening to
educational audiotapes to capitalize on the time loss (Lakein, 1973). Try to limit scheduled time to about 3/4ths of your day, leaving time for creative activities such as planning, dreaming, thinking, and reading.
Block out time for your high priority activities first and protect that time from interruptions.