Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40)
Have you noticed that your to-do list is growing out of control, you’re always late and you can’t remember the details of your best friend’s birthday party that’s coming up in a few days? I’ve been there as a student, a single adult, a wife and now as a mother. Our God is a God of order, and as His children we are called to be a reflection of Him. I’ve learned a few things on how to manage my time over the past few years, and—with life phases always changing—I keep picking up new tips that I’ve seen on the web or heard from a friend.
Here are 10 tips to get you on your way to becoming an organization guru.
- Get a planner. If you’re like most people, physically writing things down on paper helps you to remember details better. There are so many cute and affordable planners out there, and some of them even include inspirational scriptures and quotes.
- Hang a physical calendar in your home. For several years, I’ve been putting my calendar in a place that I walk by several times a day. Seeing upcoming events in bright and colorful letters helps me to remember what’s coming up in my schedule so that I don’t overbook myself on any given day.
- Keep important paperwork together. You can sort your mail and file it by the front door in order to remember which bills need to be paid soon. Or perhaps you have homework assignments to complete. Keep them all in one place by your desk so you don’t forget to turn them in by their due date.
- Have a place for everything. My mom used to quote the old expression “There is a place for everything, and everything is in its place.” If you never dedicate an area for your dirty laundry, clean clothes, jewelry, backpack, books, electronics, etc., you’ll most likely toss items all over the house and have no idea where they are when you’re running late. Find some cute bins, shelves or magazine racks to keep everything right where you can see it and off of the floor.
- Make a list. When work or school starts to get out of hand, keeping up with everything can feel impossible. I’m a master of writing lists on my phone. I have one for immediate tasks, one for things that can be done over time, one for things I need to pick up from the store and a few other lists for miscellaneous things. Breaking things down in order of importance tends to help me get more done without the stress.
- Duplicate everything. Remember the planner and calendar you’re about to start filling up? For everything you have in them, make a digital copy in your notes and calendar apps. By writing things down and setting alerts for upcoming events or due dates on your electronics, things are less likely to slip through the cracks.
- Give yourself more time. When I was newly married, I noticed a huge difference in my husband’s time management versus my own. I tended to be early to things while he generally ran late. I timed him on a few occasions and, on average, whatever he was doing took a whopping two times longer than he assumed it would. If you find yourself always late and scrambling to get ready, try doubling the amount of time you allow yourself for a given task.
- Timing is everything. Speaking of timing yourself, there are so many ways to keep track of how much time you have to do something. You can use a timer cube, a stopwatch or an app on your phone to set time frames so that you know when to move on.
- If you’re married like I am, here’s a bonus. A few years into marriage, I noticed that I would often forget important details about my husband’s schedule. We decided to sync the calendar apps on our phones so that things like weddings, meetings, lunches with friends or upcoming bills would all be in the same place and viewable at a quick glance.
- If you have children, here’s another bonus. You may get frustrated by the amount of things you keep running out of so frequently. If there are items you know you’ll always be using, have them delivered to your door on a schedule. That way, toilet paper, soap or your child’s favorite snacks will always be on hand.
Did I miss anything? I’d love to know what helps you ladies to stay on track. Add your tips in the comments below.