Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Time to Sort and a Time to Make Lists

When it comes to organization, I am an "I need to see it" girl. I know this, and have (mostly) made peace with it, though it drives other members of my family a little crazy. But, when life gets hectic and things pile up (literally), I start to feel the stress mount as well.

This morning, I turned on some music and began digging through the pile of papers that had begun to accumulate on my desk. Just a few weeks back, I'd excavated the desk, and I was not about to lose the paper wars again -- at least not so soon.

What was surprising this morning was how quickly I began to feel a sense of relief. Today was one of those rare days where nearly everything in the pile had a home, so I quickly discovered that it was easy to sort things into piles and from there, put them where they belonged. To-do lists (yes, plural -- arranged by category) grew naturally by extension and I felt myself begin to relax.

My current calendar 
I know the rules say that multiple to-do lists are a bad idea, but sometimes, one ginormous to-do list is an even worse idea. While I often work from a master list, then divvy tasks onto a daily schedule, some days it's easier to think in categories. Today was one of those days. Since the papers were being sorted into categories, so were the to-do lists.

I've also noticed that while I play with different organizational ideas, when it comes to time management, I have two things I consistently rely on: a master schedule (on my iPad and synced to my phone) and a page-a-day calendar. The first one makes sure all of my appointments are in place, while the second one allows me to break overwhelming lists into manageable pieces.

Unfortunately, today's commitments interrupted my sorting, and so the tasks I began nearly twelve hours ago are still sitting unfinished. But because I got off to a good start and developed a plan early in the day before things seemed too overwhelming, I'm actually excited to get back to my sorting.

How about you? What time management tools simplify your life?

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