New York City just had a beautiful snowy weekend, which captured the whole “winter wonderland” feel quite nicely and made for a cozy couple of days before what is sure to be a busy week. And on that note, I’d like to share with you some tips to help you stay organized during your busiest of weeks. Like laundry, organizing is something that needs to be done regularly, whether you’re busy or not. And during your busy days and weeks, certain tasks can be tabled, but it’s important to maximize the time you do need to spend organizing the critical and time-sensitive tasks. Read on for some suggestions to put into action when you find yourself pressed for time (like, perhaps, this week).
1. Plan ahead to ease your stress
When you can anticipate these busy weeks in advance, take a few steps the week or weekend before to remove some stress by doing things ahead of time.
Make sure your car’s gas tank is full (because we know it always needs a refill when you’re late for something) or load your metrocard for extra trips, for us city folk.
Stock up on groceries and make meals over the weekend that can be reheated, or plan to order delivery.
For cleaning, make it easy to keep the kitchen and bathroom clean by keeping wipes under the sink in each location for a quick and easy surface cleaning.
Arrange for car pools or play dates during times when you know you’ll need the extra time.
2. Cluster like tasks together
I read recently that parents need a 38-hour day to accomplish all that is asked of them, between work, personal life, and parenting. Yikes! I can’t give you an extra 14 hours, but I can suggest that you save yourself some time by being strategic about how you complete all that is on your plate.
Bundle your errands all together into one or two outings for the week so that you’re not making a separate trip for each store.
Do your office tasks in one sitting; open your mail, pay your bills, and file your paperwork in a single sitting.
When possible, sit down to answer a slew of emails and phone calls rather than detaching from tasks all throughout the day to take care of them one at a time
The less you splinter the time, the more productive you’ll be, and the less fragmented you’ll feel.
3. Do it before you sit down
When you come home, before sitting down or turning on the tv, do just one thing that otherwise would be put off until later in the evening. Maybe this is spending 5 minutes straightening up, or opening the mail and paying bills. Whatever it is, your 11pm self will thank you and you might even be surprised that you get more done than you intended.
4. Make it fun!
Make your social calls to friends while you do something that is not mentally taxing, like folding and putting away the laundry. A friend of mine cleaned her bathroom Sunday night during our catch-up chat– the tub got the TLC it needed, and so did I!
Put on the TV or music in the background while you clean up or organize an area. This adds an element of entertainment, and can also make your task time-specific; see how much you can get done during three Mumford & Sons songs or an episode of Seinfeld. Often when I’m watching a show, I’ll do dishes during the commercials.
Involve the whole family and make it a game by setting the timer for 15 minutes and seeing how much you can all get through before time’s up! Maybe there’s an incentive or a challenge you’d like to add to make it interesting.
Speaking of busy weeks, I want to take a moment to say that I know that your time is precious and that I appreciate you taking the time this and every week to spend with me through these newsletters. Have a safe and joyous holiday season.