Suggestions for a More Organized and Productive Year

It’s the start of another year and an attempt to stick with our chosen new year resolutions. Many of us end up not following through but some are determined to make their resolutions a reality. This year, just after midnight, I sat down and came up with a very long list of 2017 resolutions. Some are simple things but others are personally challenging. For example, I am in the process of starting an in-home pet care business. I have been in the planning stages for several years but I’ve been afraid to actually put my ideas out there and finally start my business. At the top of my 2017 resolutions list is to start and grow my business. Over the last year I realized that my daily habits, or lack-there-of, was the main reason I wasn’t making my business happen. I’m really good at making lists of things I need to do and I am very aware of all the steps I need to take to make everything happen, I just haven’t been as organized or productive as I need to be.

Based on my personal life, here are some of my suggestions for creating a more organized and productive lifestyle. Instead of sleeping in on your days off, wake up and get ready as if you were going to work. Once you are awake and ready spend an hour or more working on completing tasks that need to be done, such as, clean or organize a room or space in your house or garage, plan out the coming weeks meals or even pre-prep meals, run errands that you may have been putting off, or work on projects for your work or business. Another suggestion to ensure you work on your to do list is to get a planner or calendar and actually schedule or plan out everything you need to do in the next weeks or months. This may mean that you write a task for a certain day, schedule the task for a certain time or plan out the order of everything you need to complete on a certain day.

These are not huge life changes but they will make a huge impact on your productivity. For me, making these things a habit for the past few months has allowed me to finally get my business to the point that my grand opening is in a few weeks. Had I not made these changes I may have continued to be in the planning phase for a few more years. Resolutions are very personal but I believe these suggestions can help anyone determined to follow through with their resolutions.

Kristen Gaul, RVT, VTS(ECC) is the founder of My Pet’s Care, LLC and is an experienced Registered Veterinary Technician and a Veterinary Technician Specialist in Emergency and Critical Care. Kristen is also currently enrolled in the Masters of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as the article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2016 by Kristen Gaul.

How to Keep Your Life Organized Easily

Step one is to use a calendar (a white board or a sheet of paper). This is perhaps the easiest way to organize your day especially when it is going to be a busy one. It is what most businessmen and their assistances do: writing things down to remember is a true way to cope with all tasks by the end of the day. Make several lists on the same page (e.g. to-do, grocery, calls, appointments, etc.). At the very bottom, you can specify things you may move to another day. But this list should be made of 2-3 points only, and they are to be pretty minor.

Step two is an improved version of the first one. Use note cards. No need to clutter up your place with them. The most organized and disciplined people arrange them on cork boards, fridges, and laptops. They are bright which is essential for a fast visual grasp and there’s no need to look into your notebook all the time. Once the task is done, remove the note. The clearer the surfaces get by the end of the day – the better.

Here comes the third step – don’t postpone duties. It will be harder to do them all if you wait longer. Life gets less demanding and stressful if you cope with most tasks on time. At first, great efforts will be needed to get everything done as soon as possible. According to the latest researches, one needs 21 days to make a habit of something: keep coping with your entire to-do on time list during 21 days and this practice will become habitual.

The fourth one sounds like: keep only things you really need. Being organized in your stuff is the part of the entire well-organized-life program. The more things you have, the more cluttered your apartment gets. Really organized people have only things they need. No need to buy a larger place or rent a storage unit. Just get rid of items you don’t use. But never do this all at once as there’s a high chance you’ll get everything back within a week. Take your pen and paper and write down the things you actually need. Then make a list of those you own. The second one will surely exceed the first, and the difference is to be eliminated.

Let the church stand in the churchyard. That’s step five. Try and find places that are easy to reach for the things you use every day. Locations for other items are to be easy to get to as well, even if these things are used rarer. How will it help? In time, you will see that less time is spent looking for stuff. Besides, your place will look neat and comfortable. Cleaning will take less time, thus you’ll spend more free hours on your hobbies or sleep.

Step six is regular cleaning. The fact you got your things organized doesn’t mean you can refuse from vacuuming and dusting. Find time every week to organize the area. Some people do it more than once a week. They say that if you do a little cleaning job every day, your apartment will look fresh and neat all the week round. Again, that will soon become habitual if you repeat it every day before you go to work and go to sleep. In the morning you can do the dusting and washing clothes in the machine. Before you go to bed, check if the dishes are washed, no plates or glasses are left on a kitchen table, your shoes are clean, your flowers are watered and the cat is fed.

No bargains – it is your step seven. Finally, you have got rid of all unneeded things. The place seems brighter and more organized, doesn’t it? But that is never for long if you are a regular bargains visitor. Most people buy things on sales only because they are cheap, and not because they really need them. Don’t be one. An organized person never gives in to such ads. Cheap items always produce more clutter and you get back to where you started. If you believe you can hardly keep to this rule, go to the nearest shopping mall without money. This time you are looking at things that you’d like to have, yet your wallet is not with you. Make a list of things you’d like to have, bring it home and put aside for a month. Check it in 30 days. If there are still items you’d like to own, buy a few.

Control is a synonym to a well-organized life. And it’s never as challenging as it sounds. If you manage to control your pets, kids, and subordinates, you’ll deal with self-control. Things aren’t done overnight. They take time, patience, and efforts. Be sure that there will be a moment when you give up and decide to get back to things as they were. And this is the very minute you need to pull yourself together. If you succeed, you’ll deal with anything!

Task Saturation From a Student’s Perspective

A universal main goal of students is to graduate. We study with the end goal of passing an exam, we take exams with the end goal of finishing a class, and we take classes with the end goal of getting a degree. There are many threats to academic success including social life (parties), financial trouble, and side jobs. One of these threats is task saturation.

Task saturation is a circumstance where there are too many tasks to accomplish and multiple distractions to the point where it becomes easy to lose focus on what is important/vital. A commonly known example is that of a pilot. Put simply, he has to proficiently communicate and work over the radio, maintain altitude levels, change speed, and steer. When all of this becomes too much to handle the chance of a crash increases.

Students can experience the same thing; albeit attending school is not as life-threatening as flying a plane. While attempting to finish multiple assignments for 5 classes, study for 3 exams that fall on the same week, read chapters of textbooks, work to pay for expenses, and maintain family/social life, it is very easy for small things to be missed. A paper is turned in late, details are forgotten on a test, or a shift is dropped at work.

People deal with task saturation in several harmful ways.
1. They channelize- focus on only one thing to the exclusion of all others. There are times when a student will have to juggle tasks and will necessarily have to work on several different classes in a certain time frame.
2. They compartmentalize- do a little bit of everything and don’t fully finish one. If a student works on several different assignments and continuously switches from one to the other with a lack of focus they might not actually finish it. (If they do it may be sub-par.)
3. They shut down- don’t do any of the tasks. A prime example of this is binge watching seasons of “The Walking Dead” during finals week.

There are more effective and commonly known ways to combat task saturation.
1. Time manage. Sit down with a planner and purpose to use one hour before work to study, one hour after work to write a paper, the morning to exercise, etc. This will help keep a student on track.
2. Utilize a calendar- paper or phone. Record due dates for all subjects in a single place to avoid missing or forgetting one.

The third way to keep from becoming task saturated is perhaps not as obvious.

3. Make a Mission statement. Without a mission statement you may not know where to set your sights to begin with. Mission mindedness is essential to keeping track of the end goal- graduate. The mission statement is not limited to school. It may be very personal and include values or religious beliefs. Mission statements are also not limited to one field. A person can have a statement in regards to school, family life, or work. I become task saturated as a student and have many choices to make. Do I pursue health/leisure and play a game of racquetball, eat dinner with Raven, or finish a paper and sleep? It may be wise to wait to play the game until Saturday when the week is over. When students wake up every day knowing their mission statement they will be able to focus, stay on task, and be purposeful.

Many things tug us in different directions. Our minds are bombarded by thousands of distractions, advertisements, and inputs every single day. Having a mission statement is akin to employing a filter. Make one to be a step closer to conquering task saturation.