How to Organize your week and optimize your time.
Organizing your week successfully can help you reduce and manage stress as well as ensure that appointments or important tasks are accomplished in a timely manner. The process should include both your personal and your work-life projects to give you a manageable "map for success" that prioritizes the most important activities during your week and also allows some extra space for the unexpected things that pop up.
Successful time management starts by being honest with yourself and setting realistic expectations. The well-organized week hinges on good time management. Here some basic suggestions that may help you:
Make a list of priorities for the week on a separate sheet of paper that is categorized by subtitles, such as work, family, personal. Anyway, paper stuill works but it's kind of 'too old school'. Organize your life in present times is easier than ever before. Take advantage of the nice features in phones or tablets, desktop apps like iCal, mail based services like Google Calendar or one of many great web-based services like Mind42, RememberTheMilk, Plaxo or RescueTime. You will maybe have to spend a few hours learning and getting used to the systems, but you will save a lot more time in the future ...and probably will become more efficient too.
If you prefer the paper, mark the items on your list with the 'highlighter pen' selected for the things that need to be done on a daily basis. In your electronic/web-based app, change the font color or the background color, to denote daily task. Anyway, even the most simple time-managment tool or e-calendar will be full of features way beyond color marking. Just try some and you'll see...
Organize your life and their items in subcategories like 'work', 'family', 'social life', etc in their order of importance.The tasks lists inside subcategories should start by the most important task to complete and the last number on the list should be the least important task to complete. Finish by numbering the personal and family subcategories the same way.
In your lists, take the top three priority items from each subcategory that are also highlighted as daily tasks and or pencil them in your calendar in their consecutive days. In your e-calendar or app, choose "new event" and enter the priority items on their dates, setting notifications for any item that needs one.
Record or enter the remaining top three to five priority items from each of the three subcategories on the days they need to be done.
Evaluate the tasks scheduled for each day to ensure that you haven't over-scheduled a day or your week. If you have time left over and can add in additional items on certain days or even as a low-priority daily task, consider adding in what makes sense. Remember to prioritize some downtime for yourself each day.
Add two or three "flexible" tasks at the bottom of each day just in case you have extra time one day and want to take on something you normally wouldn't be able to get to. Having a go-to list of flexible additional tasks will save you time, keep your priority tasks on target and prevent indecision on what other tasks you might have time to accomplish.
Keep your priority list of tasks and refer to it at the end of your week to make the next week's priority task schedule. In your electronic calendar, you can simply drag the events that reoccur the next week into the following week on their correct day.
Tips & Warnings
• An over-scheduled week is as much a recipe for disaster as the unscheduled week. Be realistic about the amount of time each task requires and don't forget to prioritize personal time. To stay on task and keep your energy level high for each task, it's important to schedule time in your week for taking care of yourself. Physical exercise, healthy eating habits and free time with friends and family should be given priority on your list. Evaluate how well you've allotted yourself down-time during the week and make adjustments where you see needs. Using your selected tool with "notifications" to remind you of personal wellness tasks can help make them a priority.
• For any schedule to work well, you must be prepared for changes. Carry some form of your weekly schedule with you, whether it's electronic, or in a small notebook/planner and use a pencil to facilitate changes. Be prepared to make adjustments to your schedule during the week by referencing your schedule nightly. Having an organized schedule for the week can not benefit you if you don't refer to it, make adjustments to it and then stick to it.
Article writen by Kimberli Nalven, courtesy of eHow, a place where knowledge is awesome!