Friday, February 5, 2010


This is the third installment of my Life Management series. If you missed session one or two, follow the links to catch up.

What is important to you? What must be done immediately? What can wait? What can you skip? If you set up a regular daily schedule you will be more productive. Make time each day to determine what must be done and what items are not as important. Your scheduling time could be done before bed or first thing in the morning. (I do mine in the morning.)

1. Write out your daily schedule.

2. List all the things you must do.

3. List all the things you would like to do.

4. Rank each item. (I rank mine in groups. Example A-urgent, B- important but not mandatory to complete today, C-like to do, but no big deal if it doesn’t get done.)

5. As you go through the day, go back to your list and put a check by each item as you complete it.

You’ll be more productive and have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Obviously, you are not going to get to all of your B’s or C’s. So you transfer them to the next day’s schedule and re-rank them.

Assume you’ve been following your schedule and your life is now more organized. Your self-esteem and productivity are riding high. But then…

A friend calls and asks you to join a committee. What do you do? She’s your friend. It’s for her favorite cause.

First, is the cause important to you? What are you willing to stop doing in order to put this new activity in your schedule? Every time you insert something new into your schedule, you must eliminate something else…otherwise you will become overloaded and in turn be unable to do what’s already on your schedule.

The last tip of the day…Only do things once.

Little things that add up to wasted time. I get the mail and read the envelopes as I walk in. I open what is urgent, and then put it on the counter. The next day, I sort it into junk, bills, financial stuff or letters that need responses. I then put it in the bill pile, the banking pile, the trash/recycling, or on my schedule for me to deal with in the future. I have now touched the mail three times and haven’t dealt with anything except the junk mail. A better plan is to bring in the mail, sort immediately and get rid of the junk, file the banking information, put bills in the bill pile and deal with any other mail immediately.

Other example of wasted time are: bringing in the shopping and not putting it away immediately, not putting laundry away as soon as it is folded and ironed, reading emails and not deleting or dealing with them immediately.

In review:

1. Create a daily schedule and stick to it.

2. When you add something in your schedule, delete something else.

3. Don’t waste time by doing things more than once.

Now that I’m on a formal (written) schedule, I’m getting more accomplished, both in writing and homemaking.

Are you willing to try any of my tips? Do you have an organizational tip to share? (I’ll be unplugged for the next 8 days.) Have a great weekend and week.


  1. Thanks, Sharon. You are so right about doing things more than once. As I was reading your example about the mail sorting, I had to laugh. Looks like I'll be tackling the mail piles this weekend. :)

  2. Diana--I thought you would enjoy this post. Doing tasks when they arise is the best method...prioritizing is very helpful too. :) Have fun with that stack. :)

  3. I'd die without my lists. In fact, I think I'll be buried with them clutched in my sweaty little palms. All things to do once I get to Heaven :D

    Great post, Sharon. And - we'll miss you on your time off. have fun!

  4. Tess- I'm right there with you...I'll have my Daytimer in one hand and my cross in the other.

    As I posted this one, I felt a bit sad about being off line for that long. I can't remember how much it costs to stay online, but it seemed like WAY too much for me and my budget...Maybe they have an internet cafe's????

  5. You're so right about giving up one commitment when you take on another. Unfortunately I haven't done that in the past, and now I have to decide which of my current commitments I have to give up - I've definitely let myself get overloaded, and that just messes everything else up. We'll miss you - have a great time!

  6. Susan--Most of us already have very full days. It is hard to say no when asked to add a new commitment, but you have to prioritize. I've found that when I get overwhelemed, I just shut down...

    Thanks, I'll miss blogging and my email...I don't know how my days will go. I usually wake up to my computer and go to bed with it (basically)...

  7. I must remember to delete something when I take on something else. Of course I end up deleting something, but it's not on purpose and it's always the thing thing that shouldn't have been deleted. It's just that I ran out of time.

    Great post! :)

  8. Amanda--Thanks for stopping in. :) Budgeting your time is always difficult, that's why prioritizing is helpful.

    Anita--Yikes! Sleep less???? I'd rather be more productive during my waking hours and keep my sleeping hours the same, but you go girl!

  9. Wow, great tips. I used to be this organized. What happened? I can get so scattered (I think I have a touch of ADHD), it really helps me to stick to one thing and see it through before I start something else.

  10. That is absolutely fantastic advice. Your organization is impressive!

  11. I follow your method, and it really helps keep me organized and calm. One thing I need to work on is deleting e-mails once they've been read. I think my inbox has thousands of read mail. Sad!

  12. Sharon,

    This is such great advice! I've tried daily lists to get things done. They last about, mmmm...1/2 a day! I've gotten so used to the chaos, I kinda like it! Although my poor husband does not feel the same way! Ha, ha! The man is a Saint! :)

    Great post!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  13. That doing things once is a very good tip. There are things I like to do, really like to do, that I do over and over. What a waste of time. So true. Never thought about that. And yes, I do sleep so much better, am so less stressed, when I have a list.
    Thanks for the tips!

  14. Wow. I am way behind. Sorry to have missed so many posts recently, Sharon. I'll definitely go back to check out the first two posts - great series idea and great tips! :-)

  15. It's kind of like dieting. We all know what to do, but actually doing it is hard. I have my to do list, and I do it, but my problem is that most things on my list are maintenance (laundry, groceries) instead of progress (writing, sending out stories). I have to do more progress things.

  16. MG--I was more structured and successful when I was more organized...I'm just trying to get back there. :)

    Jennie--I'm in recovery---trying to get back on the organization bandwagon. :)

    Jill--I think staying on top of things helps. I got home from a week in the
    Bahamas and had 285 emails. (with one agent rejection) and I'm down to about 50. Read,respond or delete. :)

    Hilary--If that's the way you roll...more power to you!!! Me, I've got to stick to a routine. :)

    Shannon--I'm just going through this journey publically...hopefully, someone else will learn something along with me. :)

    Jessica--You have to block off some time each day to write. Yes, all those household chores have to be done, but if writing gives you joy and is part of your dream you have to schedule time for it. :)

  17. Thanks for reading and visiting me while I was gone. I learned the Bamahas were goregous, but cruising is NOT for me.

  18. Judith--I don't think I was talking about things you enjoy doing ever and over...I was talking about doing things like reading the mail, putting it in a varitey of piles and then reading it again rather than addressing it immeditely. Walking by stuff that needs to be put away and thinking, "UGH, I should put that away." Just that time thinking of thinks you should do and not doing it immediately wastes your time. :) Hopefully, that explains what I meant better. :)

  19. Hi, Sharon! I have an award waiting for you at my blog. Stop by next time you're online. :-)

  20. Shannon--Thanks for the are so sweet to think of me. I'm still getting my land legs under me. Hopefully, I'll come up with something worth posting about tonight. :)

  21. Wgat they say is procrastinate in public, so that you don't have a chance for postponement.

  22. Haddock--That is so true! My husband often questions why I go public with my intentions, you nailed the reason I do so. :)

    Thanks for stopping by.