Midlife Strategies Work

How I Stay Organised While Working From Home

Today’s flexible working schedules and the ease of technology have given many of us the freedom to work from home. But how does one optimize efficiency with all the distractions of running a home too?

By Kay Newton 

I love to be organised. In order not to feel stressed during the week, I always spend Sunday evening with a notebook working out what I need to achieve in the following week and when I will do it. But it wasn’t always like this.

Organisation is one of my core values, a key skill that I pride myself on, yet I used to put my weekly ‘to do’s’ on a sheet of paper and not in a notebook. I proudly folded the A4 page in half and placed the days of the week in squares on the right-hand side and jobs to be done on the left. I would then allocate the day to do a chore always making sure that the worst jobs went at the beginning of the day and so on.

I also only placed seven tasks to each day and no more as I know this is my limit of daily achievement. It was the only way I felt could cope with keeping on top of the daily routine, keeping fit and healthy and working from home, as well as all the other demands that may occur unexpectedly. These are all good organisational practices.

Yet I was doing something wrong.

The advantage of having everything on a piece of paper and not in a notebook was that I could grab my list and take it with me always. The disadvantage – I frequently lost it! I would spend precious time looking for it, causing huge ‘stress’. I once lost the whole list in a supermarket and had a panic attack because I couldn’t remember if it had anything personal on it! I never found it. It is probably still stuck under a shelf somewhere.

Having bits of paper became the issue. I would often waste time re-writing on bits of paper to add to the mounting pile because I just couldn’t find the first list. My desk looked like a bomb site, covered in scrawly paper with no meaning. Worse still, my concentration suffered. My husband despaired.

In fact, it wasn’t just my concentration, the bits of paper were making me messy too: my hair, my lack of dress sense and taking care of myself.

NotebookThen I remembered what one of my life coaches once said to me about how to keep on top of everything when working from home. It’s simple really: all you have to do is pretend you have a film crew with you all day! It is your responsibility to tell them what’s to be ‘filmed’ and to be prepared ahead for that day’s filming.

It worked like magic. Within a short space of time I had sourced a notebook and transferred all my tatty pieces of paper to the pages and thrown the offending offerings into the bin. My work desk was transformed again, nice and clean, my motivation on track and my mojo back in place. I can just pick up the notebook and take it with me, and I’m a lot less likely to lose it.

I have even added a further stage to the film-crew experience. Before going to bed, I creep into the bathroom and pretend to do a ‘live’ mini video feed to my audience telling them what I have managed to achieve that day and what exciting things will happen tomorrow! It really keeps me organised and on track. In fact, I would go one step further and say I am now so organised I achieve much more in a week than I have ever done before.

I would love to hear about your organisational triumphs and despairs. You can find me on http://www.Kay-Newton.com.

First published in eShe September 2017 issue

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