I'm messy, a huge procrastinator, and I forget things all the time. I'm also hard on myself for not reaching my goals as fast as I can dream them up. And somehow, I have accomplished so much. Friends and family often ask me, how do you do it all? I believe that organization and productivity are not a destination but a constant journey. And, it begins with gratitude.
Stress, anxiety, fear, disappointment, etc., are uncomfortable and even overwhelming to experience. When I feel that way, I try to remember that these emotions have a purpose. I take a moment to reflect on what these feelings may be trying to tell me.
So when I feel stressed, for example, I try to stop self-deprecating (so hard to do.) I breathe and acknowledge the feeling. I thank my body for sending me a signal that maybe I should slow down.
When I figure out what my body is trying to tell me, I reorganize my thoughts, goals, projects, and tasks according to what I learned. I create "To-Do Lists." Yes, I have more than one to-do list.
I have a list for each area in my life: Home, Job, MAQUINA 37, and Me. For each area, I list specific projects I would like to tackle. Then, under each project, I write small tasks that I need to complete to achieve that project. Whenever possible, I even write down how much time that task might take to complete.
For example, I would like to launch a new t-shirt collection (an actual project for MAQUINA 37). Here are some tasks I wrote down for this project:
Brainstorm ideas (one hour)
Create ten rough sketches
Develop Five of your favorite sketches
Ask your friends, family, and customers for their feedback on the designs
Choose the best three designs
Order samples of the designs on t-shirts (15 minutes)
Develop a marketing campaign and schedule for your new t-shirts (two hours)
Photograph the t-shirts on real people
Launch your marketing campaign
Post your t-shirt on your website for sale! (one hour)
I may have simplified the tasks for the example, but you get the idea. I keep my lists on the app "Things" for Mac, but there are plenty of apps that can help you get and stay organized.
I put self-care on my project list. Putting it on the list made self-care necessary. It made me challenge myself to meditate, exercise, and even schedule regular therapy sessions. It helped me feel less guilty about taking care of myself. And I learned that taking care of myself makes me better at accomplishing my goals.
I also discovered that a routine is helpful. When I get to work in the morning, I check my list of tasks for the day. I try to "eat the frog first," as they say. It means I tackle to most challenging task first. Then I will reward myself with a fun task.
About half an hour before I leave the office, I stop and study my list. What did I accomplish? What do I still need to do? And what new projects and tasks have I added? I've noticed that I feel more focused and less stressed when I take time out to prepare.
I'm not perfect, and every day is different. I may spend too much time on a fun task. Or maybe I didn't get to cross off anything on my list today because something more urgent came up. When this happens, and I feel uncomfortable, I take a deep breath and begin again with gratitude.