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by Kathy Paauw
“The average office worker receives more than 200 messages a day via snail mail, email, express mail, cell phone, landline, wireless Web, bicycle messenger, singing telegram, you name it. Taking in information these days is like trying to drink from a fire hose.”
–Dr. Martha Beck
Did you know that one Sunday edition of The New York Times contains more information than all the written documents in the world during the 15th century? Does it seem like life is spinning out of control? The pace of life just keeps picking up! And with it, job satisfaction is on the decline.
In an Associated Press article, Marc Greenbaum, a 50-year-old professor at Suffolk Law School, stated that “I’m personally happier but I observe more people that are more miserable. There’s more pressure on them to produce, more problems with maintaining a boundary between work and family, even maintaining a boundary between work and the outside because of things like e-mail, voicemail and the Blackberry. They can’t get away.”
According to the Families and Work Institute, over 47% of U.S. workers surveyed feel overworked. In addition, 59% of Americans describe their lives as very busy according to an NBC news survey. According to Dr. Richard Swensen, author of Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives, the average American will spend one year in his/her life searching through desk clutter looking for misplaced objects. We are working harder and faster than ever. Being more organized can help reduce stress, save time, and improve efficiency.
We celebrate National Get Organized Week the first week in October. Most people think of “getting organized” as a physical act – clearing piles of paper, putting things away, etc. What many people overlook is the mental part of getting organized. And I always say that organizing your physical environment without first clarifying your priorities is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic!
Here are 8 tips to help you with the mental part of getting and staying organized. I encourage you to read through the whole list, and then go back and choose two or three ideas to implement.
1. Understand the difference between URGENT and IMPORTANT. If it’s important, it may be a vital priority for you. If it’s urgent, it’s time-sensitive, but it may or may not be important. Be sure you are clear about the difference when deciding what deserves your time. Check out the time management matrix at www.orgcoach.net/timematrix.html, which beautifully illustrates the difference.
2. Find time for yourself. Schedule time away from your work and your family. Use this opportunity to tune in to what you want and need. Don’t feel that you’re being selfish; you have a responsibility to yourself to take care of your needs. Studies show that productivity dramatically increases when you are well rested.
3. Check for balance between these four vital areas of your life:
4. Live your life in the present! Quit saying, “I’ll do this when I get around to it.” I have yet to find a person who said on their death bed, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”
5. Increase productivity by planning your week and fine-tuning your workday. Block out time to handle priorities. Important tips to remember as you plan your week:
6. Reduce your stress by being underwhelmed. Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting overwhelmed:
7. Stay out of e-mail jail. Here are a few tips to help:
8. Set up your work environment to keep your focus on what’s most important. Here are some tips:
Wouldn’t you love to stumble upon a secret library of ideas to help you de-clutter your life so you can focus on what’s most important? Kathy Paauw offers simple, yet powerful ideas, on how to manage your time, space, and thoughts for a more productive and fulfilling life. Visit www.orgcoach.net
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