Stay Calm, Stay Organized
by Liz Reyer / (c) 2009, Star Tribune (Minneapolis). Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
When life is hectic, how can you find time to get everything done?
When the to-do list gets long, take a breather, get focused and use some organizational tools to get things under control.
The inner game
Start by calming down and easing the adrenaline rush. Try whatever works for you a quiet timeout, a walk or lunch with a friend. The time away from work will be more than made up for by the focus you gain.
Once you've settled down, pay attention to the state of mind that you'd like to create. Rather than harried, calm. Rather than frantic, serene. Link the feeling with a visual image of a place you love to go. Bringing that image to mind will help you relax later.
Think about the big picture. The type of role that you're in may not fit as well as something that is morestructured and less volatile, so think about whether the current path is working for you.
The outer game
Focus on the work that's facing you. When details are escaping you, it helps a lot to do an inventory. Start project by project, using sticky notes, to-do lists or even making stacks of project documents. Then put all of them on a calendar with milestones and deadlines to plan your time.
Observe your progress as you go. Notice whether you're staying on task, whether items are slipping and especially how you're feeling. If you see patterns, such as spinning your wheels instead of taking action, procrastinating or letting distractions get in your way, examine and address the root causes.
You don't have to do it all on your own. Get help from people around you to reinforce positive habits and remind you when you're slipping. Seek out resources for organization and time management tips, and learn from others' experiences.
Getting control of your tasks and your focus will help you keep on top of your work.