We can all be guilty of being disorganised at times, but there are ways to improve your general life planning. STYLE etc is here to help with some easy to follow tips to plan life more efficiently.
1. Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal or diary may seem a chore, but trust us, once you have your life mapped into one you’ll wonder how you ever managed before. A bullet journal is the best method for quickly yet efficiently managing time, tasks and overseeing long term goals. Read our post here for a review of the Bullet Journal.
Every time a colleague or friend mentions an event to remember or asks if you are free, you can easily whip our your planner and ensure you aren’t double booking plans. This is essentially handy for remembering appointments which you book weeks in advance then forget all knowledge of existence nearer the time.
2. Always underestimate Time
It may sound simple, but always give your self too much time. That journey that is usually ‘only 10 minutes’ in the car can easily be increased by 20 minutes if traffic decides to hit the wrong places. Any driving route is never concrete to be clear so by setting off earlier you allow for all possible outcomes, better to be early and bored than late and stressed.
The same goes for public transport, as we all know buses and trains are about as predictable as the Spring weather (i.e. not very). Getting that earlier bus or train will save you moments of panic if the sequential one is late or missing.
3. Budget your money at the start of the month
Wouldn’t it be perfect if that relieving feeling on payday of not having to stress about money for a couple of days lasted the whole month? Well it can to an extent if you manage your money correctly.
Make a chart at the start of every month, list your outgoings in order of priority; credit repayments, rent/mortgage, bills, food, transport, excesses. Then allocate what your usual spend of these are and figure out how much money that leaves you with for the rest of the month. If you don’t have enough to see you through then it’s time to make some cutbacks. Start with the bottom of the priority list, including those shoes you planned to buy and that holiday you were contemplating booking (may seem sad but worth being stable financially).
4. Be wary of saying yes to too much
Taking life by the horns and agreeing to every plan can be exciting and invigorating, but when you are taking on every project, trip and plan hurled your way you’re heading for disaster.
People have a tendency to want to please the majority, feeling bad when you can’t make every friends birthday or take on every bit of overtime going at work. But the secret to this is, we are all in the same boat. No one person can do it all, try as hard as some might. Saying no will streamline your plans and make you think about the things you really want to do, as opposed to those things you simply feel obliged to do.
5. Know when to call it a night
When you do agree to a plan try not to overexert yourself and know when it’s time to go home. Going for drinks with work on a weekday may seem a great idea until your five tequilas deep with that guy from accounting you’ve forgotten the name of and the rest of the team has already bailed.
The same can be said for working. When you get home and carry on that freelance project (guilty) or decide to tackle those emails. Next thing you know it’s gone midnight, you haven’t had time to chat with the family and you’ve missed engaging in dinner. Work may seem important but give it it’s own time allocation. Having fun and spending time with loved ones is just as important (if not more) so it’s all about balance.
6. Download useful life apps
For the aforementioned there are plenty of apps which can assist. There are a couple of useful money managing apps available, some provided by your actual bank which you can set savings targets for to time-plan reaching a milestone target.
Google Maps is a godsend for predicting traffic expectations, as are local bus apps which can let you know when the next bus is due to avoid a lengthy wait in the cold. Microsoft One Note allows task lists and notes from your laptop to be shared with your phone, as well as selected contacts to ensure checklists are kept up-to-date on the go.
7. Set reminders for everything
Even the most basic tasks, such as remembering to check your oil, pick up some light bulbs or post that parcel back can be the easiest to forget when juggling a hectic lifestyle. All smartphones now come equipped with vital reminder tools which should definitely be taken advantage of.
Reminding yourself to check off those simpler tasks will leave brain space to focus on the more important things and inevitably make life a little easier later on when you don’t panic you have forgotten something. Listing little to-do’s gets all the bits and bobs down in one place to keep tabs on everything and gives you a nudge of timescales of what needs doing first.
Let us know what your tips are for staying organised in the comments below and read more Lifestyle at STYLEetc.