Although learning to
manage your life might seem like a daunting task, with a little
planning and thought, you can take charge of your life! Begin by
taking some time away from distractions to identify your organizational
strengths and weaknesses. Write down your goals for this month,
the next six months, and the entire year. This will help keep both
the small details and the larger picture in perspective. Also, consider
the tips included below, incorporating the ones that are most useful
for you into your routine. In no time, you can become better at
personal management — and more relaxed, as a result.
Never underestimate the power of a clean
environment. You might have rolled your eyes when Mom kept
telling you to keep your room clean, but she was right! Spend one
to two days just cleaning your home. Consider de-cluttering by throwing
away or donating clothes, books, or anything else you don’t
use. Don’t save all your cleaning for the weekend! Just ten
minutes a day washing dishes or dusting, and you won’t have
three hours of cleaning waiting for you on Saturday!
One of the biggest organizational nightmares is mail. Keep a basket
for your incoming mail, and throw away junk mail as soon as you
get it! Keep one box or drawer for important papers, such as bank
or credit card statements, but separate them in clearly labeled
manila envelopes or folders. Need to easily store receipts for taxes
or returns? A shoebox will come in handy.
Buy a daily planner. I prefer
simple, lightweight ones with enough space to create to-do lists
every day. Use your planner religiously. Each morning, write down
what you need to do that day, and number the items in terms of priority.
If you think of tasks that you need to accomplish the next day,
make a note of those as well. Don’t forget to include phone
calls that you need to make! Check off each task as you finish it,
and enjoy that feeling of accomplishment!
Also use your planner for long-term deadlines,
such as when you plan to file your taxes. Although you might be
tempted to wait until the absolute last moment to complete these
tasks, try to schedule them in earlier. If you can afford to, don’t
wait until right before the due dates to pay your bills. Complete
your taxes in February, and you won’t have to be frantic on
April 15! While your friends are hunting down that missing W-2,
you can relax, cook yourself a biryani, and kick back with
a glass of wine.
Don’t try to be everywhere, all the time.
You might worry that if you don’t attend every event you’re
invited to, you will be missing out. This doesn’t have to
be true! Prioritize the events that are most important to you, but
it’s okay if you skip one where everyone knows your name.
Today, we are all busier than ever. Like other working Desis, you
probably have a lot on your plate. Your body needs rest to be energized,
and sometimes rest means spending some time alone and gathering
your thoughts. Social events shouldn’t feel like obligations!
You should attend them feeling energized and happy, not grumpy and
edgy. Don’t feel pressured to attend every Desi club party
where no one can hear each other! Instead, consider quality over
quantity. If you love to dance, go out and strut your stuff, but
realize that doesn’t mean you have to be the last one hanging
around until the club closes. Try going home earlier to stay on
a somewhat regular sleep schedule.
Relax and exercise. Try meditation or yoga, and
make fitness a regular part of your lifestyle. Your attention span
and stress level will benefit.
Take public transportation. If
it is possible to take public transportation, try it. It’s
environmentally friendly and means you don’t have to start
your day with a dose of road rage. While riding the bus or taking
the subway, you can do paperwork or catch up on your reading instead
of sitting in traffic. If you can walk at least some or all the
way to work, consider it — maybe you can skip that trip to
Leave your gadgets at home. Try
going somewhere without your cell phone, blackberry or PDA —
maybe not on days you might need to take calls for work! If you
survived, try it again for a longer period of time.
Treat yourself. Don’t forget to reward yourself
for becoming a more organized, calm person! Watch your favorite
movie or take a trip to the theatre. Book a massage or facial. Have
a glass of wine with your friends. Whatever you choose, make sure
it’s something fun. Positive reinforcement is a great way
to encourage behavior modification!
Don’t be overwhelmed by these tips! Visualize
yourself calm, relaxed, confident, rested and on top of things.
Strive to make this a reality each day. But don’t forget to
cut yourself some slack if you slip up every now and then —
after all, you are only human.