How you can manage your time, increasing your productivity at work and home using 5 practical tips.

I was once a ‘disorganise’ snob, anyone even mentions the word organise to me and I accused them of trying to stifle my spontaneous streak and snuff out my creativity. Fast forward ten years and three kids later, now I can’t rave enough about my iPhone’s calendar and reminder capabilities. I have booked all my hair appointments a year in advance and am constantly singing the praises of planning and organisation to promote a calm and successful life.

This didn’t happen overnight, it has taken a lot of practice and wiliness to change, one saying, in particular, started the catalyst, told by a trusted friend “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result!”

So, it is with this in mind that I decided to stop running from and embrace organisation along with the many advantages it brings, however, I have learnt to balance it with my spontaneity and carefree spirit and now have them working together harmoniously although it wasn’t easy.

Here is what worked for me, I hope it helps and would love to hear about your experiences and what strategies helped you.

#1 Analyse what is and isn’t working

There will be lots of things that are working in your favour and it’s not about beating yourself up but rather being honest and deciphering what are your strengths and weaknesses and which of those are hindering your success. Some people opt to get professional help here with feelings of being overwhelmed. Whatever it takes to get back on track, I’m all for it, different things work for some but not others, find your fit.

#2 Keep a to-do list

This was the hardest thing for me to accept and change, I relied totally on my amazing brain power and it worked marvellously until I found myself running four different people’s schedules and life would throw me a tragedy or a major stressor, then I would experience fogginess, forgetfulness and heightened stress levels as I could feel myself losing control. With this, my fuse shortened and I became a yelling, screaming monster, who both the kids and I hated!

Writing things down gives you a visual reminder of what needs to be done, so no need to use extra brain power to recall your schedule or worry that you’ve forgotten something.

#3 Prioritise your list

I have a running work list that changes daily, not always what’s on it but the order in which things need to be done depending on the circumstances that are out of my control. This works great and gives your colleagues/team an insight into you’re schedule and if their priorities align with yours, keeping communication clear and open. It also helps keep you on track and ensures that you divide your day in accordance with your top priorities.

#4 Don’t take too much on

This can often be the main culprit, especially with organised people. They get used to being super organised that they take it to extremes and end up including copious amounts of things on their to-do list. Just because you have freed up time that would have otherwise been spent stressing, doesn’t mean you need to fill it with more tasks. Maybe take some much-needed rest and recovery time, taking pause to stop regroup and appreciate your life is a very important step in work-life balance. Especially when you are a parent and there is no off time, you need to learn to take it when you can and schedule it as often as possible, you can’t fill anybody’s cup if yours is empty.

#5 Learn to say NO

A big ingredient in being successful is having the ability to say NO. As the world has become smaller and we are constantly contactable, peoples demands have increased and you find yourself regularly defending why you didn’t answer your phone and being pulled in every which way! What if I told you that your physical and mental health depends on you being able to unplug, you do not need to be available because someone else decided to contact you. Take control of your life, schedule, prioritise and make sure to include lots of you time, whether that’s sitting in silence or listening to music, it’s amazing what you discover when you take the time to be with yourself.

Lia Perre