Tips on the Management of Time

January 26, 2023

Time has everything to do with the success of a project. We know that everyone can always grow in their time awareness. At Abundance Organizing, we focus a significant amount of training time with our Professional Organizers on best practices for building time awareness. If you are joining us in our Abundance Declutter Facebook Group for our 2nd Annual Declutter Challenge, this blog is especially for you. These tips on the management of time will be helpful as we work through the Declutter Challenge. 

TIME AND ITS RELATION TO THE SUCCESS OF A PROJECT

The reason that time is so valuable to discuss is that it has everything to do with the success of a project. In our world as Professional Organizers, if we do everything to our client’s satisfaction, but are off on this variable, then nothing else matters. It is good to think through, practice, and build your time management skills so that you can put them into practice when working on a project. You want to make each second count and get through all 16 days of the Declutter Challenger. These tips on the management of time will be the key to your success. 

ROLES TO PLAY IN THE MANAGEMENT OF TIME

When we are on a job, each team member plays a role in the management of time. Each person has a role to play and each role has its unique challenges. Being aware of the different job descriptions will help you successfully work towards the finish line of your project. Here are the three roles and their relation to time:

  1. Estimating Time: This happens during the planning and preparing stage of the job, when you take into account all the time factors, whether tangible or intangible, and explore any unknowns around the project. Then you are able to schedule the amount of time a project will take. 
  2. Managing Time: This happens during the actual work of the organizing project. It involves keeping big picture goals in mind and making decisions in order to stay on the time schedule. 
  3. Executing the Timeline: This is doing the actual organizing job and working in an efficient manner to get the work done within the time schedule.

If you have an accountability partner that you are working with, or friends and family members who are helping you with your organizing project or Declutter Challenge day, then be sure to assign them a role and explain to them their role in time management. Otherwise, you fill all these roles. 

FACTORS INVOLVED IN ORDER TO ACCURATELY ESTIMATE TIME

Estimating time is all about knowing what to look for. Time factors that play into estimating time are factors that can be seen and felt, but also factors that can’t always be planned for in advance of the organizing project. There are tangible factors, intangible factors, and other variables. It should come as no surprise that one of our tips on the management of time is to be very aware of these so that you are able to plan for and manage any interruptions that come your way. For more on this, read this blog post on Helpful Tips for Estimating Time.

TECHNIQUES TO HELP YOU STAY ON SCHEDULE

Short cutting…

Short cutting involves sacrificing a level of detail in order to prioritize the big picture. An example of this would be in organizing your pantry. It may almost be time to pick the kids up from school and you may look around to see that many cans still have to make it back on the shelf. You may decide that finishing the job is more important than the aesthetic end. So, you may decide to put all the cans back on the shelf without organizing them by type, size, and/or color. This will allow you to stick to your end time. You can always come back and add these finishing touches when you have more time, but short cutting in this scenario will allow you to pick the kids up knowing you finished your project.

Practicing efficiency…

Learning to be efficient as you organize is a skill. The more you practice, the more you will be aware of how to maximize your time. Make it look nice the first time. This is how you can do finishing touches as you go instead of cycling through the same category of stuff again and again. If you complete it with the finishing touches the first time, you will not need to come back again to add final touches.

Prioritize the big picture…

Get the big stuff out of the way first so that you can visually get a different look from the get go. For example, if you are organizing your clothes, prioritize the big stuff first and get all the hanging and visible clothes organized first. Then, if there is time, move onto the drawers. But get everything that is visible at a glance done first. This will help move the job towards its goals and help you to meet your deadline. You can always come back to later for the dresser drawers.

Play games with the clock…
  • Pacing: Set a deadline and then use an alarm to help you speed against the clock and stick with it. Set multiple deadlines throughout the day of goals you can complete to get the job done. This helps you to stick with the plan and stay motivated to the end. 
  • Check-ins: This is almost like pacing except you are checking in with yourself or having others check in with you before that alarm sounds. If you give yourself an hour to work on a part of your organizing job, have a check in 45 minutes in to see how you are doing so that you can see how focused and on track you are. This will help you stay on schedule but also help you identify any possible factors that may have not been calculated.
  • Time Estimation: Ask yourself, “how long will this take me?”. Keep yourself motivated and moving quickly by playing this game with yourself. Are you as fast as you think? Slower? Maybe even faster?  This really is a great one to gain some self awareness and insight into how you work!
  • Time Challenge: Set a deadline and race against yourself for a time when you want to be done. This helps you to keep running against the clock and motivated. If you are working with anyone else, you can create races. If you are stressed and anxious, you are actually less efficient. Turn on that music, loosen up, and have some fun! Infuse energy and brightness instead of frustration or anxiety into your organizing project.

You can never ever ever get enough of building the skills to estimate, manage, and be aware of time. It is all about muscle memory and the more time you work on it, the more efficient you will be. Which of these tips on the management of time do you think will help you the most with your organizing projects? Are you ready for our Declutter Challenge? Make sure you join our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook!