Ask the Organizer. . .
What is priceless, irreplaceable and fleeting?
Yes, that\’s right…time.
As I write this month\’s column I am home in New York City on business. Time is on my mind for many reasons. I\’ve changed time zones. I have work to do and friends to see. And it feels like there isn\’t enough time to do it all. I spent a day traveling and observing people at airports. So many had too much luggage! Why, I wondered, did they not take a little time and do some planning? This month I have some advice on time management, especially for those who are chronically late.
Why would some have issues with time to begin with? I don\’t think we set out to be rude, rushed or on a rampage. Here are some of the most common culprits. See which you can relate to:
- A complete lack of home organization: if you can\’t find what you want the minute you need it, ‘something is rotten in Denmark\’ as Hamlet might say. People very often don\’t want to make or take the time to create order. They fail to realize that the time taken will reap huge benefits in terms of time saved down the line.
- Physical ailments can make getting organized difficult. If you are depressed, for example, you are moving in slow motion and have a difficult time getting motivated much less moving. It might be a prescription drug for a few months, something natural like St. John\’s Wort or, my personal favorite, time with a good therapist that needs to pave the way for organization. Exercise, even in moderate doses like a brisk short walk, will raise your endorphins and having you feel better about life in general.
- How long does it take? Many people tune out and remain unconscious about the time it takes to perform even the most mundane tasks. You might promise to meet me for lunch after you answer your e-mail, pay your bills, and tidy up the house. But if those tasks take longer than you realize, you are going to be late. Time you common activities for a week and see if you have guessed right about how long they take. This knowledge help you plan your life more accuracy.
- The ‘I am so special\’ syndrome: On an unconscious level making people wait for you just might make you feel special. This rarely is done with malice or consciously. We feel a surge of adrenaline, a feeling of power or a new level of importance as we enter the room and see all those expectant faces. If this is you, don\’t worry. People are waiting for you because you are special. Get there early: you will have more fun!
- Is your suitcase habitually too heavy? In terms of travel, remember this: a change in accessories will alter an outfit. Instead of 4 or 5 outfits, take a selection of jewelry and scarves instead. And be sure that the clothing pieces you take all work together. You just might create new outfits!
These steps are but a primer in your quest to master time. Embrace them, however, and the changes will amaze you! You\’ll find more detail in my book “One Year to an Organized Life.” See you next month!