As a Virtual PA I am often asked by clients and friends alike to give them some ideas on ways they can be more organised and therefore spend more of their time doing fun things. Below you can read some of my favourite organisation/time management tips…
Write everything down
Sounds obvious but how many of us think we can remember everything!? I know I do and guess what, I can’t! Get yourself a diary that fits in your handbag use the calendar on your phone and sync it with family members so you know each other’s movements or use a wall calendar in the kitchen that you can look at every day and highlight entries different colours – green for school, yellow for birthdays, blue for work events, orange for medical appointments etc. Have a small writing book/note pad that you use as a to do list. Write a list of everything you need to do with the most important tasks to accomplish that day at the top, as you do things on your list tick them off. At the end of the day review your list, if there are still things to do move them to the following day’s to do list and again list them in order of importance. Continue this every day until your list is clear or keep adding to it each day but make sure things are being ticked off as well as added!
Put things in the same place
Give everything important a home. So for example school bags to be placed on the same hook by the door each night, packed lunch boxes to be put in the same place as soon as they have been cleaned, shoes to be placed in the shoe cupboard or straight into the wardrobe, put your laptop in the same spot as soon as you have finished with it (especially if you don’t have a home office), keep your phone charger in the same plug socket and take your phone to the charger rather than your charger to the phone – how many of us have 5 chargers but can’t find 1? Have an area near your front door for all door keys and car keys to be kept, section your wardrobe into work clothes, casual clothes and going out/occasion clothes so they are easy to grab and find and lastly put everything a way once you have finished with it.
Sounds obvious but how many of us ever find the time to do this? Try to set aside 20 minutes a week to declutter your workspace, dining space, kitchen wherever your dumping ground may be. It’s also a good idea to declutter your inbox(es) so that you don’t have hundreds or even thousands of emails to sift through when you are trying to find something. Flagging important messages in your inbox is a good idea so you can find thing easier but the best idea is to create subfolders in your inbox so you can file emails that relate to the same subject all in the same place.
Do it now!
If it’s a small task that will take you under 20 mins do it now don’t put it off as it then becomes a huge chore rather than a small task.
My biggest tip is to DELEGATE! Hire yourself a cleaner, get a gardener in to mow your lawn every 2 weeks and pull up those weeds, hire an assistant to book your appointments, update your diary and send you birthday reminders or even shop for cards and presents. Knowing someone is coming in to do your chores is a great feeling and means you can focus on spending time with your family or working on your business.
Switch off notifications
Another of my favourite tips is to turn your social media and app notifications OFF! Reserve half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening to scroll through your social media accounts to stay up to date, reserve another half an hour to check your game apps and update and play them. There is nothing worse than being a slave to notifications – “Joanne just commented on your post”, “Chris tagged you in a picture”, “you have rewards waiting for you in Candy Crush World” you know the drill you go into your social media account to read the one comment from Joanne and before you know it 45 minutes has passed and you’re watching a video of a dancing dog (or the like!). So switch those notifications OFF!
Get one of those magnetic note pads and every time something runs out that you need to replace or is about to run out put it on the list, this saves you trawling through your cupboards once a week or month trying to figure out what needs replacing. Or better still switch to online food shopping and add it to your basket straight away so it can’t be forgotten. Online grocery shopping apps will save your basket so long as you are logged into them. You can also make items “favourites” so they are easy to add to your basket. Food shopping can be so time consuming especially if you don’t know what you need or want. Hello Fresh is a great company to use to meal planning and shopping all rolled into one. They will send you a weekly meal box which has everything in it you need to make dinners for your family. www.hellofresh.com
THE FUN STUFF
And lastly, make a list of 12 fun activities for you and your family to do so at least once a month you can all get together for a fun family day out somewhere. Or a list of 12 restaurants you and your partner want to visit and then tick them off as you visit one a month. Down time is hugely important for everyone whether you are working full time, raising a family, working and raising a family, running your own business, whatever it may be its healthy to take time out and recharge so you can continue to be the best you possibly can be.