How to Master Your Time and Get Things Done

By: Megan Jones

Is it just me, or does it seem like everyday you have a laundry list of responsibilities? There are new to-do’s I add to my never-ending list every day. Day to day, we have enough on our plates with just work. However, work is never all we have going on. From family responsibilities, taking care of children or our beloved pets, running errands, household chores (and the list goes on and on!). It can become overwhelming if you don’t have it organized and can’t find the time to plan. This is a totally normal feeing and how I used to feel. Then I had the opportunity to attend David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” seminar. He outlines some amazing techniques that have changed the way I manage my time. If you’re ready, here are my tips on how to master your time and get things done.

The List

We all have many things on our minds and things we want to accomplish. From professional goals, personal goals, errands, and chores it can be difficult to balance. Moreover, if you don’t write it down it can be difficult to remember your important items. You are not alone in this feeling. Today, I want to walk you through the model that has transformed my time management and organizational skills.

How to Stay Organized and Get Things Done!

Do a Weekly Mind Sweep

Once a week (I like to do this on a Monday or Friday) take 5-15 minutes and write down everything on your mind. Every task, big or small that you have to accomplish. You do not need to organized this list. This is your time to write out all the things you need to do and want to complete. Get them all out, and do not worry about the order in which they come to your mind.   

Get Organized

After you complete your mind sweep it is time to begin organizing. Find a method that works best for you. For me it’s a multi subject journal or notebook. I have a planner tab, professional tab, errands tab, communication tab, a long-term projects tab, and a household tab. After my mind sweep, I begin to organize everything I wrote down into its designated category. You can have as many or minimal categories as you like. However, make your tabs specific so your tab doesn’t become to overwhelming. Here are some examples of what goes in each of my tabs.

  • Planner Tab: This is where I plan out my day. At the top I write out my goals for the day. Then I write down both professional and personal appointments. At the bottom I include any errands I have to do.
  • Professional Tab: These are where I plan out my projects and professional goals. It also has reminders of important deadlines and meetings.
  • Errands: These are day-to-day tasks. It can be scheduling appointments, going to the grocery store  and errands I need to run.
  • Communication: These are the calls, texts, and emails I need to send.
  • Long-term Projects: These are not urgent errands/chores, or a personal project that will take multiple steps to accomplish.
  • Household: Within my household tab it has daily, weekly, and long-term sections.
    • Daily tabs: small chores like cleaning counters.
    • Weekly: Sweeping, mopping, cleaning the microwave, watering plants, taking out the trash (etc.)
    • Long-Term: Flipping your mattress, replacing the water filter, and oil changes.

Get Specific

Once, you have made your list and and organized your tasks. Now get specific with what each item entails. For example, if you have a friends birthday dinner, make sure you are specific about the details about the event. Do you know where it is, what time, the date? Do you need a gift? If so, have you ordered it, or when you need to order it by?

Just Do It

If there is a task that will take you less than two minutes to do—just do it. It saves you time and it is one less thing to write down and find the time to do.

Plan it Out

Finally, once all your lists are organized, go to your calendar and schedule when you do them. Once written down or assigned to a specific day you are more likely to complete them!

Getting and staying organized takes work, however the payoff is completely worth it. Take the time to get yourself organized. Your results may surprise you with how you are much more productive and accomplished you are in your days!

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