Otherwise known as time management, organizing time can be elusive. When it is all laid out and clearly defined, all is well — except when there is too much structure. Then there’s the temptation to scrap it all because it feels like there’s not enough space to breathe or move or think clearly! I know I’m not alone, but that only helps a little bit. It doesn’t do much for the practical side of wanting time to work more smoothly.
There is a gob of time management stuff out there, both in print and online. I have waded through much of it, first in an attempt to get a handle on it in my own life, then with an intent to find what seems to be most useful for the people I write for and work with.
Consistency is the keyword. Consistency. Far easier said than done, eh? We start out all gung-ho with our planner or calendar, wanting so much to believe that this new system or this new planner is THE ONE that will allow us to be successful with getting organized around time. But…there’s often some key piece missing.
It may be that…
- we have difficulty setting up a routine to check our planner each day.
- there’s too much chaos in our daily lives, thwarting our efforts to establish some structure.
- we don’t have the support we need to individualize our planner so that it works for us, rather than it working us!
- we just don’t have the planner or system that “thinks” like we do.
Each of these challenges has a solution. Your solution may be different than someone else’s. Working with a coach is one way to not only discover what the right solution is for you, but also receive the support, structure and help with prioritizing that you may need to be successful. A coach doesn’t do it for you but works with you to find the missing key or keys! (Those “keys” may be literal or figurative!)
Something That Works
One of the keys that I have discovered is a system called the Planner Pad. It is the closest system I have found for the way I think. I have tried and used other planners and systems in the past, with some success, but this one comes the closest to what makes sense and seems to work the best. I like it because it helps me keep track of the various categories of my life (personal, business, home, etc) and prioritize on a daily and weekly basis. Each page is divided into three sections: the top is for categorizing your actions and projects, the middle is for daily prioritizing, and the bottom is where you schedule your appointments.
If you are a student or have a schedule that is not your typical 9 to 5 job, the Planner Pad can help you clarify what’s on your plate and what needs attention each day. You still have to put in the work of creating the categories, identifying the projects and prioritizing what’s most important, but the Planner Pad provides a solid structure for that.
But It’s Not Magic
The biggest drawback for me was that I was attempting to put my entire list of everything (often referred to as a Master List) into each week’s categories. You could certainly use some of the blank pages in the Planner Pad to put your Master List, but attempting to have everything that needs attention of some kind on each week’s pages is asking for overwhelm, which is particularly to be avoided when ADD is part of your life! Aside from that, I have found it to be a really good system for time and project management. It IS a pen-and-paper system, so it may not be the right one for you if you want to do that kind of planning on your computer.
A planner pad is only one system. There are so many out there, both electronic and pen-and-paper ones. Look around (if you haven’t already!) If my description intrigues you or sounds like the way you think about time and project management, go check out the site: Planner Pad. I found it to be very reasonably priced. The site did have some hype (in my book, anyway), but it IS a good product that is different from other products out there. I liked the description of “How It Works.”
Looking for Support, Structure or Perspective?
If you’re looking for help with setting up a routine or dealing with chaos or just plain old need some support, contact me! Working with people who have ADD (or who can relate) is a joy to me. I love identifying your strengths and strategizing how you can use those to help in areas that are difficult for you. It’s easy for me to see your creativity and all that you ARE doing RIGHT!