My challenge of the week: Getting life a little more organized

It’s been a busy weekend around here! We headed out to my parents’ house to celebrate Memorial Day, with my Dad (my favorite veteran!). There were lots of people there – me, my 3 sisters, all the husbands, most of the kids, and even a few grandkids, cousins, and lifelong friends in the mix. All in all, about 25-30 of us (I never counted, but the plan was for about 24 and then a few extras came by). Anyway, needless to say, little work was done other than simply enjoying the holiday! Tomorrow, I’m headed out to help take mom and dad to a couple dr appts over the next 2 days, which means I won’t be home or able to head to campus. But I cannot afford to keep missing work. So I’m looking into organizational tools, so that I can get work and things organized and in control so that I can get back to the garage. Here are the top 5 things I’m trying to do this week:

1. Plan my time better – I love working with students, but I have to jealously guard my time or I can easily spend too much time working on other people’s stuff and not on my own. I’ve found that setting specific office hours, or lining appointments up one after another, all on the same day, really helps me control the amount of time I am spending in support of others rather than in pursuit of my own goals. Having a workable calendar to schedule this stuff is crucial, so I’m following this example to create a planner that meets MY needs.

2. Plan my blogging better – I’m looking at a few tools for this, and I’ve decided to use some pages available through Mama Jenn. I’m excited about getting these printed and bound into my new planner (see point #1) and getting my blogging back on track!

3. Plan my eating better – my recent freezer cooking session will help with this, as will the leftovers from yesterday’s cookout. Best of all, I’ve got both fresh and frozen fruit ready to enjoy for a healthy snack (as long as I can resist the ice cream to go along with it!)

4. Plan my writing better – I’ve got several manuscripts for work in various stages of non-completion, and I’m working on setting some goals for that too. One way I try to do this is through using the site 750 words. The goal on this site is to write 750 words a day, about anything. Or nothing. Or lots of things. It’s about getting words on paper. I struggle with this, but I find that having a set goal for a number of words really helps me feel like I’ve accomplished something! And many times, when I reach that goal, I’m on a roll, and I keep on going.

5. Plan my breaks – I am highly motivated by being able to check things off of a list, and I find that once I’ve made a list, it’s really helpful to not allow myself to take a break until I can mark off at least 2-3 items. At that point, I’ve likely worked for several hours, and I need a break, plus my reward of email checking, tweeting, or web surfing is much more meaningful since I had to work for it!