Tag Archives: Organize

Where Did The Time Go?

by Richard

If there’s one thing we never have enough of, it’s time. There’s never enough time to get it done. There’s never enough time to do everything we want.

There’s just never enough time, is there, dudes?

No. There’s not.

Which means we need to work hard to make the most of the time we do have. I’m speaking from experience in that I’m not the most, um, shall we say?, well-organized dude in existence. I’m pretty sure that’s speaking kindly.

It used to be different. When I worked for newspapers, I was known as a well-organized dude who never let anything slip past me. That’s because I used to have a tickle file. It was a system I designed to tickle my memory to remind me to do stuff or look into stuff or get back to stuff.

That and the fact that I never threw anything out. If only the bosses could have looked inside my desk drawer, they’d have seen the lie of their praise. I got lucky there.

The problem is, when I stopped working for the newspapers, I stopped generating information every day that I could stash away and then call up when needed. I had to get along on what was around. Thank goodness for the invention of smart phones and personal digital assistants. It’s so much easier to carry around a small phone than it is the lug around a large wall calendar with the appointments for five people labeled in a different ink color.

Still, digital organizer tips won’t do it all. I still can over schedule myself or try to take on too much and then flame out. It’s happened. One of the best ways I’m learning about to overcome this is to try and build in a little nothing time into the schedule.

That is, don’t schedule appointment after appointment after appointment. Build in a little time for you to reflect on each appointment, to write out action lists, to coordinate various lists. In other words, give yourself time to breathe. Otherwise, you’re going to suffocate under the weight of your own expectations.

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Gimme Three Steps. . . To Get Organized

by Richard

Yesterday, I started talking about a three-step system to get ADD adults organized. The system came from Judith Kolberg,  co-author of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life and other books on organization. She lives in Atlanta. In part 1, I said the first step in getting organized was to create a master to-do list. So we’ll take that as done and we’re headed to part 2.

Step two is for you to prepare your planner. Now is when we need to talk about time and how we perceive it.

What you’re able to accomplish depends on how much time is available to you. Sounds simple, right? Yet many ADDers overestimate the amount of time they have — because they fail to recognize how many hours of each day are already “booked” with regular obligations, appointments, events, and tasks.

Sit down with your calendar, personal digital assistant or daily planner and enter all the time- and date-specific items, such as events, birthdays, anniversaries, due dates, meetings, or appointments, one week at a time. Schedule in all the daily and weekly chores you routinely do, as well — shopping for groceries, exercising, balancing your checkbook, and so on.

Once you have marked down how much of your time is already booked, you’re ready to move on to the next step.

The final step in Kolberg’s play to get you organized is, stated simply, put it all together. Of course, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but not by much.

Now you have two things: a master list of everything you need to do AND a calendar that tells you how much time is available to you each day. To figure out your daily action plan, look at today’s page in your calendar or planner and then review the A- and B-priorities on your master list.

Estimate how many high-priority master-list items you can fit around your scheduled tasks. Ask yourself, “Given the things I already have scheduled today, is my plan practical?”

When you’re asking that question, there’s a few things you should consider. Make sure you plan to do a little less than you think you can accomplish that day, mainly to give yourself a little cushion should the unexpected arise. You also need to leave enough time for meals and travel time to and from meetings.

The last two major components of putting it all together are making sure you get some “green time” outdoors to recharge your mental and physical batteries, and to make sure you have a mix of items to do each day.

Be sure that each day includes a mix of “high-brain” and “low-brain” tasks; if your day is taken up solely by things that are hard to do or that require lots of decision-making, you’ll be exhausted.

As you go about your day, make sure you’ve got your lists with you. That way, you can jot down new to-do items as they occur to you. After a week or two, you can take the new to-do items and start all over. These three steps sound like they can go you a lot of good, no matter if you’ve got ADD or are neuro-typical. Either way, being organized is better than being a schlub. Give it a try.


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Three-Step System For Getting Organized

by Richard

Getting organized should be something that’s relatively easy to do. Then we’d all do it and we’d all be organized and the world would be a far less chaotic place in which to live.

Unfortunately, for a lot of us, getting organized can be tough. Especially when we’ve got getting organized on the same to-do list that so desperately needs to be organized in the first place.

While I’ve mostly been thinking about how getting organized can be applied to young dudes (hello, Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy) with ADD, I found a nice little system that I think can be useful to just about anyone. And it’s relatively easy to do, so that’s a big plus.

The system is from Judith Kolberg, who’s co-author of ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life and other books on organization. She lives in Atlanta.

Rather than a series of discrete moments following one another in predictable fashion, ADDers sense time as one long NOW. That’s great when it comes to solving problems and handling crises — and it certainly makes the day go faster. But the ADD way of experiencing and managing time complicates things if you’re trying to complete the items on your to-do list.

Speaking of which: her first step is to create your master to-do list.

A master to-do list should capture everything that’s currently on your plate. I’m talking about big things, like planning a wedding or moving, all the way down to simple tasks, like hanging a picture.

To create the master list, gather all the reminders you’ve written yourself in recent days — the scraps of paper, sticky notes, napkins, envelopes, and so on—and compile them into a single list. Transcribe the list into a single word-processing document; a computerized master list is much easier to update than a master list on paper.

Once you’ve got them down, then it’s time to get prioritized. Kolberg recommends and I agree that it’s best to prioritize your to-dos with three options. You can number or letter them, or whatever, just as long as you keep them consistent. They should be in one of three groups: Must be done now; need to be done soon; and need to be done when you get a chance.

One last thing about the to-do list: each thing on your list should be only one step. That is, if you’ve got to call someone to find out the information you need to order supplies, you should have that broken up into two different steps. One step is call your contact. The second step is order supplies.

Looks like I didn’t allocate enough time or space here to finish. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about exactly that.

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