Staying on top of daily to do’s, quarterly goals and business events requires efficient planning and follow-through. Here are a few of my favorite ways to keep things in balance:
- Commit to tracking deadlines, appointments and other obligations. Whether in a classic printed agenda or with a helpful app, get in the habit of recording important dates. As soon as the invitation is in your hand, pencil (or enter) the event in your calendar.
- Investigate a variety of planning resources. Explore Pinterest for an assortment of organizational ideas or check out The Muse for 7 Perfect Planners to Buy for 2015.
- Consider dedicated notebooks. If you prefer jotting down notes, keep your notebook for finances separate from your quarterly goals. Both serve different purposes and will be easier to refer back to when everything is in its place. Invest in a multitude of notebooks that are the same size for easy storing. Label them for quick access. On your phone, using categories in Evernote works wonderfully.
- Review the week ahead. Reduce surprises by looking over your various commitments either days in advance, or weeks prior, in order to have everything you need to make the meeting (or event) a success. Mentally pick out your clothes, collect your handouts, clean out your laptop bag and delegate duties while you are out of the office.
- Have reminders in place. Appointment reminders 30 minutes in advance are helpful but don’t serve much purpose if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Consider setting an additional “ding” 24 hours in advance and perhaps moving the 30 minute final notice to an hour before in order to give yourself enough time to get from point A to point B.
- Color your day! Create a system where different types of appointments are filed in specific colored folders. This helps when looking over your day and week. Business appointments in green, personal to-do’s in blue, kid’s activities in orange, etc. View the options your smartphone includes for appointments and you may have a variety of icons to choose from as well, such as finances, birthdays, holidays, etc.
Make a weekly to do list with everything from your office meetings to your grocery list and break tasks down into doable goals. Grab a few items at the grocery store when you stop in for your morning coffee. After your lunch meeting, stop by the dry cleaners to pick up your clothes. Mapping out your plans will make your week go easier.
- Give yourself a break. You may find that some ideas work out better than others. I started out the year with a few new apps to assist my busy lifestyle. Some end up in the delete pile after only a few days. Seek out one, or two, tried and true methods and consider your efforts a win-win.
For more of Diane’s tips, check out her Huffington Post article: New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Tips to a Mannerly 2015.