Solutions: Coping with less daylight
As daylight saving time comes to an end, our daily tasks may seem less doable. Since time management can be a valuable tool, Molly Boren, certified professional organizer and owner of Simplicity Works Organizing in Ann Arbor, shares some tips on the topic.
“Time management requires a strategy for accomplishing necessary tasks and getting them done within the available time,” she says. “Mornings are particularly hard because there’s a sense of urgency and it’s even more difficult when it’s dark out.”
Establishing morning and evening routines can make a difference. “Think about time markers for them,” says Boren. “How long does it take to get the kids washed and brushed and actually clean up the kitchen?”
Review your family calendar, meal plan and projects while seated or walking together, so everyone is focused. Check your pantry weekly when planning meals. “Make it like a puzzle or game. What can we make with what we have?” Boren says.
Opt for a big paper calendar or a digital version to be shared among family members and remember to communicate.
“Use phone reminders and notes to keep track of appointments, errands, etc. People often get mad at each other when one person hasn’t made the tasks clear,” she says.
Make nightly pickup a priority. “Establishing that habit becomes so important that you should feel a little bit like you left the iron on if you don’t do it,” Boren says. “It’s great to start young. Have your kids put toys away and cast an eye over major surfaces before heading off to bed, so that they’re mostly clear.”
Create checklists for your routines, like starting the dishwasher and making lunches. “It does help to actually write them out and post them,” she says. “What are the main things that need to happen to keep the house running smoothly?”
Give yourself markers to follow: start bedtime at 7:30 to be in bed by 8, get up at 7 to be done with breakfast by 7:45 and ready to leave by 8:15. Use a timer, a CD of a certain length or a nearby clock.
Aim for completing your evening checklist after dinner so you can enjoy what’s left of the day. Try to delay computer work until the morning when you’re more likely to feel refreshed.
Boren writes a monthly newsletter that includes one thing to stop doing. “Taking something off of one’s to-do list is the ultimate in time management,” she says.
She also recommends reading “The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More” by Bruce Feiler.
Remember that rest is essential. “Everything seems more hopeful with sleep,” Boren says.
And forget about perfection. “Time management is like a garden; you can’t weed it once and you’re done. It’s life. We have to tend it like a garden. It’s a process,” she says.
For information, contact Molly Boren at 773-915-3537 or sworganizing.com.
Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.