So here we are, folks - the first Monday of a brand new year, which means that in all the ways that counts, the year starts today, right? This is the day when we gird our loins, hit the floor, and try to remember how to do a push-up. Or we toss the sugar bowl. Or vow to get organized. Or, sometimes, stare blankly at the calendar and wonder who the heck stole 2014 away from us when we weren't looking (please tell me I'm not alone in that one ...)
In any case, I couldn't do a push-up to save the whales, and my sugar bowl is surgically connected to my hips (which explains way too much right there), but if you, like me, are hoping to make better use of your time this year, then hey howdy hey, I have a suggestion for you. It's a radical system based on - wait for it - index cards.
I know, I know. App developers all over the world are weeping at this suggestion. But sometimes, going old school works. For me, this is one of those times.
This system is not my own creation. I've adapted the approach spelled out in excellent detail in Sidetracked Home Executives, by Pam Young and Peggy Jones. If you're looking to get a handle on household chores, they're the women to keep you on track.
I wanted to organize my household tasks while also getting a handle on my writing, promotion, and family responsibilities. Spinning off of Young and Jones' system, my first step was to sit down and make an index card for everything that needs to be done on a regular basis: clean out the fridge, cello lessons, blog updates, change the sheets, update my financial records, etc. Step two is to sit down at the beginning of the month along with my calendar and file all those cards into a file box set up with dividers for each day of the month.
Each evening I pull the cards that have been allocated to the next day, read them over, and make sure I have everything I'll need to accomplish the assigned tasks. Then each day, I work my way through the cards. (My favorites are the ones that say Sit down and read for half an hour.) When each card's task is complete, I file it where it needs to go next - tomorrow, one day next week, next month.
The nice part about this system is that I don't have to worry about having 329 things to do in a week. All I need to do is get through today's cards. The rest will wait. To me, that fact alone makes it worth the time of organizing and filing the cards.
I'm always looking for ideas to better manage my time. What do the rest of you do to stay on top of life?