Getting organized is usually one of the top New Year's resolutions. One of the hardest things to organize is your time. After reviewing several articles from time management companies, here are some helpful tips for any lifestyle.
1. Plan your day. You know that old saying, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Darn it - it's true. It's amazing how easy it is to get off track with other things that slide your way during the day. So take time at the end of the day or in the morning (whenever you are most clear-headed) and make a list - and a schedule. You may have a list of 10 things to do, but if you stop and think that each thing takes 2 hours, you'll quickly see that you won't get it all done in one day. Be realistic. Leave break times between tasks. They are a safety net in case you run over. Done early? Yeah - take a break and celebrate!
Need a schedule to plan your day? Make your weekly schedule of tasks and then backtrack to create your daily schedule. Have to go to the feed store and stop by the vet? Schedule both on the same day.
2. Know your highs and lows. Are you a morning person? Schedule your big tasks for that time with the more mindless chores at the end of the day. Afternoon person? Save those times to take care of paperwork or anything requiring concentration.
3. Learn the joy of "D-D-D’, a/k/a “Do It, Delegate It or Dump It.” Even before you prioritize your "to do" list, take a quick look at each one and decide (a) do I do it; (b) do I delegate it to someone else; (c) do I dump it altogether. Some horse people love helping around the barn so if they ask, give them the job of sweeping the aisles or washing the buckets. The "dump it" is sometimes hard to do - you know you SHOULD alphabetize the horse videos, you SHOULD organize the pictures from the last show. But it usually just sits there at the bottom of your list, snickering at you because you still haven't gotten to them. Keep the videos, but dump the task.
4. Prioritize. This can be a hard one because everyone is different. For one it may be dragging the arena for your boarders while another could be calling the farrier to fix a lost shoe for your horse. The easiest way is to consider the consequences if you don't do it. Arena not dragged and a boarder horse could stumble and get hurt. Fix lost shoe on your horse or you can't ride your horse for a while - if you are a competitive rider, not riding your horse for a few days could be a huge negative consequence. Your priority may not be the same as someone else’s – and that’s OK.
5. Learn to say "no." This skill alone can substantially lower the number of items on your "to do" list. I know - it's hard. But there are ways to do it gracefully, but firmly so you'll maintain good client, friend or family relationships.
Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to a more organized (with time for more fun!) 2020.