Time Management for All

Often, when I am speaking with friends the conversation inevitably turns to how they feel overwhelmed by their home life. More specifically, how they feel when they walk in the door.

You might be wondering, “Oh, they must be sick of their partner” or “Man, I hate going home to screaming kids, too.” You might be right about those things, hey, maybe even both… but that isn’t what they site as their source of distress.

It’s the clutter.

The stacks of mail, the five loads of laundry, the sink full of dishes, the paperwork that needs to be shredded, and the pile that needs to head to Goodwill or the local shelter.

In other words: it’s the disorganization that they find unsettling.

These people lack the ability to have a sigh of relief when they finally walk through the door at the end of the day… and it’s now affecting their mental health to the extent that they don’t really want to go home. How sad is that?!

The Well Organized Women, or WOW, is a great website and an even better resource to help you identify how to manage your clutter. They offer a wide variety of services (you can get a personal assistant- how cool is that?) and I love reading their blog because it’s filled with organizational tips (though I don’t get to implement them as much as I like because I have my own blog to write!) but they recently took things a step further and talked about time management- what I perceive to be a major component of mental health.

Several weeks ago they posted this article, Working From Home. I read the article because time management is often a struggle for me, those I serve, and I often work from home (like I am right now). Claire Kurtz gave a simple but concise outline:

  1. Establish a Schedule
  2. Minimize Distractions
  3. Make a To Do List
  4. Take Breaks & Socialize

These are wonderful tips but I kept thinking the entire time I was reading, “This just isn’t for those working from home, this is for women, men, fathers, mothers, and people everywhere… it’s for anyone!”

This got me thinking about how the lack of time management can lead to clutter and result in stress. So how can you manage both? Here are some simple ideas I came up with:

-Make a specific day or time of day when you start a load of laundry- yes this includes moving it to the dryer and folding! I will leave it up to you if you put it away.

-If you can’t seem to get the dishes done, limit yourself to using only 2-3 cups, plates and eating utensils at a time. This will force you to hand wash your dishes when you are done- or at least make you use paper towels. The added bonus will be that you are no longer looking at a huge stack of dishes in the sink. Besides, how easy is it to clean up a paper towel?!

-If you spend a lot of time in the car, put your donate bag in the car with you. Even if you drive around with it in the car for a week it will be out of your house and when you finally are on the right side of town you can just drop it off. I had a bag sit in my seat for two weeks once!

If time management is something that you struggle with start implementing some of these ideas- better yet make ones that really fit the lifestyle you envision. When you get home you will begin to slowly, but surely, drop your shoulders, close your eyes, take a deep breath,  and relax at the end of your day. As you should, you have earned it!