How to Organize Your Time & Day:
The World Around Us & Stress:
Let’s face it, the world as we know it, is ever changing. Moreover, life requires commitment, passion, drive and hard work to stay ahead, or even just caught-up. This holds true in all facets of our lives. This is why you need to understand how to organize your time.
A publishing by “Be Well at Employee Assistance Program“, discusses managing the stress of change. Specifically, they discuss work change and transition. For instance loss of jobs, budget cuts, and increased workloads.
In a broader discussion, however, people are not just facing work stress, and change.
Managing our kids workload, finding appropriate amounts of family time, self-time, traveling, a proper sleep schedule, healthy eating habits, and exercise. All of these things are important for our health and maintaining a healthy level of sanity.
It’s easy to see why many of us can get worn down.
So Now What?
Over the past several weeks we’ve discussed how becoming more organized, can help to reduce daily stress.
That’s the key, right? Reducing our daily stressors, to collectively lead us to a healthier long term future.
In this post, we’ll focus on time management-type tactics for stress reduction. Furthermore, we’ll discuss tips for managing our daily operations, leading us down a calmer path.
1. Don’t Take on the World by Yourself:
Most of us love a good Avengers move, right! Who wouldn’t want, awesome superpowers. This would certainly make tackling some daily tasks, much easier.
However, as we’ve learned in these types of movies, even superhero’s need help from time to time!
With that being said, ask yourself:
- can I delegate some of my daily tasks, to a friend, or a family member?”
- How can I be more efficient, today?
- How can I work smarter today, not harder.
Truly, this is a simple concept to understand. However, for many that want to have complete control of everything, it’s a hard one to execute. Hence, what we are often left with is a more stressed out individual.
2. Look Within:
Another concept, more about brainstorming then actually taking physical action, is merely looking within. Consider this like a refresh button. We not only want to improve on the way we do things in the future, but also look at what has worked for us in the past.
It’s safe to say, if you’re reading this post, that you’re looking for ways of being more efficient with your time on a daily basis.
However, that does not mean everything you “used to do” doesn’t work anymore. It may just be about tweaking things slightly, moving forward.
Things change, priorities change, and you need to adapt to the change. If you’re someone that’s used to going about your day(s) without structure, it may just be time to start incorporated structure into your routines.
As you sit down and look within, ask yourself:
- What has worked well for me in the past?
- What has not?
- Is there wasted time in my day, that I could be completing another task?
- Did I spend to much time on one activity vs. another?
At the end of the day, it’s about completing more tasks in a shorter period of time, while also decreasing stress. Easy said then done, right?
Have a weekly reflection. What worked this week and what didn’t?
As Corporate Financial Institute states, you can also do this on a day-to-day basis. Have a clear idea of your daily goals, and then at the end of the day, make a to-do list, for the next day.
3. Consistency Is Key:
There are certainly some tasks you’ll complete on a day-by-day basis. Some of these tasks are easier to be consistent with then others.
For instance, meal prepping. For some people, if they don’t meal prep, they simply will not eat healthy. Whether it’s because of time constraints or just simply being exhausted, it leads to poor eating habits.
With that being said, when we talk about consistency, one idea would be meal prepping on certain days of the week. For example, Sunday & Wednesday are your prep days for the next few days.
Sure, certain details will change day-to-day with work or your home life, but believe it or not there are many things that stay the same.
The challenges are finding tasks that you can keep a schedule so that every week it becomes consistent and secondly, having the mindset to stick with it!
4. Prioritize/”To-Do” Lists:
Keep in mind that prioritizing may change on a weekly, daily, even hourly basis. Some tasks are very important, but you may have more time to complete. Where other less important tasks, may have a shorter timetable.
You have to be able to balance this concept. Oftentimes, a simple planner, or scheduler can go a long way at helping prioritize tasks.
On a side note, we discovered an interesting tip in an article published on Harvard Business Review, discussing scheduling. The tip is; scheduling when and where you’ll actually do something, is linked to a greater likelihood of it getting done. Makes sense!
Prioritizing With A Planner
As nurses, we work with a lot of people who have planners and schedulers. These nurses are almost always one step ahead of the game. There planner has almost become a map of there day/week/month, that they follow.
5. Plan Ahead:
Planning ahead may mean different things to different individuals. Does planning ahead mean a day, week, month? For some it’s all three.
Figure out what this concept means to you. For us, we sit down once a week, and brainstorm what things we have coming up in the future. That could be next week, or it could be a plan for next summer.
Discuss, communicate with family and friends often, this goes a long way in staying organized with your time, on a daily basis.
6. Healthy Habits:
This concept covers a wide range of life. Whether healthy to you mean healthy mind, body, or both.
We’d make the argument as nurses that healthy habits are for both your mind and your body. Many healthy choices, simultaneously affect both.
For instance, a quick meditation session, daily exercise routines, yoga, maintaining a healthy eating pattern, all have positive effects on both your mind and body.
The point is, when strategizing on ways to better organize your day, including this concept, can help you not just in the short term, but for long term health and consistency.
Whenever discussing improvements in productivity, the importance of sleep must be in the equation. Sure, there are days in which you’re going to get more sleep then others. But, getting a proper nights rest or catching up on missed sleep time is a must to keep going at a consistent pace.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have some great resources on the benefits of sleep in your life.
Not only does sleep help with physical recovery of the body (like tissue repair, blood pressure changes and immune support), but it also helps to improve your mental health, according to Sleep.org.
Why is this so important?
If you want to continually be productive in all phases of your life, you have to prepare for them, and sleep is an enormous indicator of performance.
Furthermore, Sleep Foundation makes the case that not only can stress affect sleep, but also vice-versa. Getting inadequate sleep, can lead to things like stress, fatigue and even can diminish our ability to focus on tasks.
Simply be open-minded with your schedule. Once you have established a good base around your daily operations, be open-minded with events that come up.
Additionally, how can you quickly re-evaluate your day to make necessary adjustments.
Being able to ad-lib will be necessary at times. Occasionally, you may not be able to fit something in your schedule, and that’s okay.
Prioritize with each incoming piece of information.
You’ll see this concept often when it comes to proper time management skills. Don’t schedule events right on top of one another. If you believe an errand is going to take approximately 30 minutes, plan for 45.
This allows for what we can call, a buffer. Some events or errands take longer then expected, such is life. Having a buffer can help reduce the stress of simply being late to completing the “next task”.
A crucial concepts in dodging unwarranted anxiety. Buffering can be tied into the “Plan Ahead” tip. Give yourself realistic and manageable timetables, if at all possible.
10. Don’t Be Even Later To The Party: Be Digital
The digital world and social media has brought about a lot of change to our daily routines.
Often, people’s views will differ. Some may argue for the better, while others not so much so.
However, what we do know is that there are many opportunities to use apps, social media, and other mediums to save yourself time.
Facetime, Zoom, emails, have all made a popular splash because of their convenience factor, right?! You can do anything right from your phone or computer these days.
Take advantage of online food delivery services to save yourself an hour of time. Here’s a great list of “time management apps” from an article posted at Shopify.
11. Limit Social Media/TV time:
All the fuss about apps, you also want to limit your digital footprint (if you will), in some cases. In many ways using certain social media platforms to communicate are huge time savers, however if you’re on them just to scroll through Facebook or Twitter posts, then you are probably not using your time wisely.
With that said, you should be able to have fun with those sorts of platforms as well, just be mindful of your time.
Just like dieting, we all need a snack or sweet treat once in a while. It’s okay to reward yourself daily with a few minutes of fun TikTok videos.
12. Have An “Off” Button:
Know how to turn “work mode” off when it’s family time. Get more out of the time you actually have with your family and friends.
Be mindful how much time you spend discussing work, unless of course, a vent session is needed.
Spend that time with your loved ones to enjoy there company. Relax, breathe, get that tomorrow meeting out of your head for a moment. Spend time planning and organizing family events, kids sports events, or even fun vacation destinations.
13. How To Say No: A Constant Battle
One of the hardest concepts for even us, as we write this. We always want to be available, and we always want to please people. However, what may be a good thing on one hand, is stressful on the other.
If this is something you struggle with, you are not alone. We don’t know many people that haven’t struggled with this concept at one point or another.
With that being said, over the years we’ve had to say no to many things that prior, we may not have. Oftentimes, this mindset to always please can indeed lead to more stress.
I hope some of these tips rejuvenate and revitalize some old, lost, or maybe even sparked some new ideas for how you can better organize your time, on a daily basis.
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- Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency.