Fall is a busy time following vacations and the comfortable routine of steady summer months. For our team, the fall is always busy and the same is true for many of our clients. For myself, I always approach fall excited but quickly end up in a spiral of crazy between work, board commitments, family commitments, events, birthdays etc. I haven’t fully figured out how to ride the waves of fall, but I’ve gathered some tips along the way for self-care at work to help keep my sanity when life is busy.
Here is Part One of my 5 tips to stay on track this fall:
Systems that Work
I have spent more hours than I care to admit researching or watching YouTube tutorials on new and creative organization habits because I’m fascinated by the productivity and serenity it creates. I’ve come across every method you can imagine for personal and professional organizing whether it be Lean or 5S related, capsule wardrobes, the Kon Mari method, minimalism and more!
Personally, I have found that a mix of these methods works best for me both at home and work. When Acuity underwent an office renovation I played musical desks and essentially worked off my laptop plus one bag of client files for 2+ months. At first I felt nervous about not finding things but after a while, guess what? I didn’t need them. Keeping most things electronically organized and not printing what isn’t needed has been a huge way for me to keep organized and efficient. I was forced by necessity into semi-minimalism and when I moved into my new office I significantly consolidated what I had.
Currently my system favourites are from a home/life perspective inspired by Youtuber Kathryn from Do It on a Dime and the book the Joy of Less by Francine Jay.
Setting and Keeping Priorities
Outside of your BHAG’s everyone has day to day things they need to accomplish and smaller goals along the way. Sometimes you need to limit what you take on so that you can invest your time deeply in a few areas that you care about and don’t spread yourself too thin. (Easier said than done though if you’re always saying yes!) Maybe your priority is to complete a certain project, give your time to an organization that means something to you, hit the gym more, or spend more time with family. But how do we do this if we are “so busy?” I read a great article from the Wall Street Journal that addresses the busy badge that many of us put on. One of the points it made was about choosing priorities:
Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently. – Wall Street Journal
So how do we keep on track once we choose? We need to block time, protect our time, allow for space in our calendars and seek accountability. I suggest telling others about your goals or involve other people directly to gather support, whether that be work related or at home.
Make a List
I am also a huge fan of list making to stay organized. I use a combination of electronic and paper-based lists and I adjust what I’m using depending upon the amount going on and volume of each list. At times, I adhere to the “eat the frog” concept and tackle the day’s tough work first to avoid procrastination but other times I give myself some slack and work on what I’m excited about and move things that are important but not urgent to a “Later or Miscellaneous” list so that I’m not holding myself back mentally or paralyze productivity because completing everything isn’t possible that day.
There is one more mental list that I keep (though many people choose to write theirs down). This list is my Chuck it (or F-It!) list. It’s a short list of things I choose not to be bothered with because I realize they either drag me down or don’t contribute positively to my life and goals. Everyone has different priorities and items on their lists so remember to give yourself permission to have priorities that are different from the people in your life.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Jaysa Toet is a Partner at Acuity HR Solutions. For more content and blogs from the Acuity team visit our Spotlight page and follow us on Instagram and Facebook!