Get It Together In 2011

by Shannon Mouton on January 12, 2011

Post-it notes!

You promised your spouse, children and most importantly yourself, this year would be different. You bought color-coded post-its, markers and a universal calendar; you took time between Christmas and New Year’s to plan the process out and two unexpected “off-the-calendar” engagements have derailed your system.

You have been in 2011 for less than 30 days and you’re already feeling defeated, ready to give up.

Not to fear, these are some simple, time-tested tips get you back on track.

1. Check your calendar first.

Before you set the meeting, accept the invitation or volunteer to lead the committee, check your calendar first.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying, “I have to check my calendar first.” The key is to avoid double-booking, rescheduling or canceling, all of which take up more time than if you had  checked your calendar in the first place.

2. Manage your time.

You are in control of your time, do not let your time manage you. It is okay to say, “no,” “not now,” or “maybe later” to some things. You do not have to do everything and be everywhere. Wonder Woman hung up her lasso in 1979.

3. Remember the necessities.

Take time to breathe, eat and use the facilities. Every square on the calendar does not need to be filled. You want to avoid scheduling yourself so thin that you don’t have time to listen when nature calls.

4. Priorities set the agenda.

Align your schedule with your professional and personal goals. Your top priorities should drive your schedule. If your goal is to blog more, then your schedule should reflect time for writing, or if your goal is to lose weight, then your schedule should show time to work out.

If the activity or event doesn’t make the calendar, how important is it?

5. Go to your happy place.

This will keep you sane in the midst of the storm. Make sure you have time for you, even if it is a walk to the corner where you can take a deep breath and visualize your happy place. These mini-mental vacations can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and bring a smile to your face.

6. Support local small businesses.

Outsource time-consuming, tedious and non-essential jobs. You can hire people to do almost anything from dog walking and housecleaning to proofreading and design work. If hiring someone isn’t an option, consider bartering for services or sharing services with neighbor or colleague.

Remember what you told yourself, you can be organized, productive and still have a life… as long as you schedule it.

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Image: Michael Goodine via Flickr, Creative Commons

Shannon Mouton is a marketing strategist, with a passion for utilizing social technology to build business relationships, network, share information and the greater good. She has 20 years of relationship marketing, community building, event management and outreach experience. Her professional blog, Shannon’s blog about marketing, public relations, social technology, entrepreneurship and other things, explores the business world, and her personal blog, Shannon Sez So, examines life’s joys, pains and idiosyncrasies. She also contributes to Gridiron Gals, as a die-hard fan of the Washington Redskins. Shannon serves on the boards of directors for The George Washington University Alumni Association and the In Series, a performing arts organization in Washington, DC. She also regularly volunteers at Calvary Women’s Services.

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