If you read very many time management or organizing articles or books, you see some of the same pieces of advice over and over. That’s because those pieces of advice are generally good things to do. However, just because they’re good to do doesn’t mean they’re good for you to do. Any new strategy should be considered in light of whether it makes sense for your life or your schedule.
I came up with five commonly accepted bits of wisdom that don’t work for me.
Every night before you go to bed you should tidy your house so when you get up in the morning everything is tidy. Agreed. That is good advice. It’s wonderful to wake up to a clean house. But my husband and I like to watch a little tv for an hour or so in the evening before we go to bed. Once he says, “ready for bed?” he’s ready. He doesn’t want me straightening things up. So a long time ago I decided I wouldn’t worry about it. I straighten things up after dinner but I still wake up to a few dishes on the counter and stuff in the living room (usually my stuff!). It works for us.
Get up early. First of all, I’m NOT a morning person – never have been, never will be. I have had insomnia for a long time and the morning hours are when I sleep the best. If I get up early, I miss out on that much-needed sleep and I’m tired all day. So as long as sleeping a little later is an option for me (I’m talking 8:00 to 8:30 – not noon), that’s what works best. Yes, when I occasionally get up early it is really nice to get a head start on my “to do” list, but for the long haul it costs me too much.
If you’re a full-time homemaker, wear shoes when you’re at home. For those of you familiar with www.Flylady.net, this is something she recommends highly although I have heard it other places, too. I tried this. It definitely made a small impact on my productivity and it was extremely convenient when I needed to leave or chase down the dog. But overall, wearing shoes, even good shoes, made my feet hurt. So I don’t wear them anymore when I’m home. I have several pairs of slip-ons near the front door and I grab them when I need them. It’s not as convenient as having them already on my feet, but it’ll have to do.
Prioritize your to do list and work on the list in order of priority. I mentioned before that I’m not a morning person. That being said, my number one priority is usually something hard and I’m rarely ready to face it first thing in the morning. I hit my stride about 10:00 so I don’t even try to do anything hard until then. I know my energy cycle and I know that first thing in the morning and any time after dinner are NOT good times for me to do hard projects. So I have my list and I know what’s most important but I do those things when I know I will have the best energy and focus. I also try to alternate between hard “to do’s” and easy “to do’s”.
Keep your to do list short. This sounds like a good idea, and it is for most people – but not for me. I need to see the big picture of my day and that means including the unusual things that need done that day as well as all the regular stuff. When I look at that big picture list, I can then figure out the when’s and how’s. But if I just look at a list of 3 or 4 items, I forget about all the rest (you can thank ADHD for my weird thought process).
Maybe these conventional bits of wisdom work great for you. Maybe they don’t. Just remember that we’re all different and we should structure our lives so they work for us. We shouldn’t do anything just because someone told us it was the right way to do things. Make your life work for you!
Are there areas in your life that aren’t working because you’re following someone else’s formula? How can you change it to make it work for you?