Tuesday, July 24, 2012

8 W’s of Time Management by Linda Samuels

8 W’s of Time Management
Each day gives us the opportunity to use our time in a variety of ways. I just enjoyed a wonderful long weekend that included plenty of time to relax and hang out with family and friends. It was a good combination of planned and unplanned time. Even though every day isn't like a long weekend, we can integrate certain concepts to regularly give us a more balanced mix.

Looking at one of my typical days, I noticed that it was divided into eight segments. These groups represent how the time might be used during a given day. If you are feeling overworked and time poor, try integrating some of these ideas into your day. It might result in a more comfortable balance.

Getting ready for the day sets the tone for the hours that follow. Review your morning routine. Do you give yourself enough time to prepare for your day? Instead, are you rushing and stressed from the moment you wake? What can you do to improve your start? I like to shower first thing. The water is refreshing and helps me wake up, as I wash the sleepiness away. After getting dressed, I make time to enjoy my morning cup of coffee and a small breakfast.

The work begins. Do you feel ready to start? Have you looked at your calendar the night before so that you know where you need to be and when? Have you planned for travel time? Most mornings, I wake early enough to have some desk time before leaving for my clients'. I use that time to catch up on emails, work on social media, papers or calls. Then I leave to work with my clients.

You don't have to eat a waffle, but eat something. Working takes energy. It's important to take a break and nourish yourself during the day. It can be tempting to eat on the run. I have been guilty of that and have eaten sandwiches while driving. That's not good for digestion or the other drivers on the road. Sitting and relaxing while you eat is beneficial and safer. Most likely, you’ll want to repeat the Waffle segment around dinnertime.

Since much of the work I do is indoors, it's essential to get some sunshine and fresh air. Especially now with the gorgeous, spring weather, I love taking walks. It's even nicer when walking with my family or friends. Not only is it great exercise, but also I get to reconnect with the people I love.

Add the toe-wiggling factor into your day. What do I mean by that? What makes you so joyful that your toes wiggle in delight? It's different for all of us. For me, a simple cup of blueberry or grapefruit sorbet from our local ice cream shop, The Blue Pig, is enough to bring on the wiggle. I'm not suggesting that you eat ice cream every day. The idea is to incorporate simple things that bring you pleasure.

Writing has become a regular part of my days between blogging, authoring The Other Side of Organized, emailing, social media-ing and journaling. Using this way to reflect enriches my daily experience. Sometimes my writing is just a sentence fragment containing a seed idea. Other days, an idea develops into a full-blown blog post. Writing in different locations is inspiring too. One of my favorite places to write is at the Hudson River. If you don't enjoy writing, consider recording your thoughts or taking a reflection break where you don’t record, but just think about your day.

Days are full. Before finishing, take time for preparation and closure. Preparation might include reviewing tomorrow's schedule, clearing your desk, gathering items you'll need the next day or selecting your clothes. I have a pull down desk. I know I've finished my wrap-up when I clear the surface, turn off the light and close the desk. It's my "done for the day" signal. How do you know when you’re done?

Your day is nearing the end. Give yourself time to relax, dream and restore. Perhaps you like reading in bed, watching a movie or laying down and doing nothing. Sleeping and dreaming will replenish your energy and get you ready for tomorrow. Each new day brings another chance to design the day with your combination of W's.

Which W’s resonate with you? Are there other W’s you’d like to include?

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a compassionate, enthusiastic professional organizer and coach, founder of Oh, So Organized! (1993), author of The Other Side of Organized and blogger on organizing and life balance. She has been featured in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, Bottom Line Personal, Westchester Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and You can contact her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blog, and website.


  1. My favorite thing about this article is that your mind shifts from thinking "not enough time" to "that's pretty simple!"

    Wiggling and Wishing are the ones that speak to me!

    Thanks so much Linda, for sharing!

  2. Insightful post. Thanks for sharing. I like the idea of wrapping up the day. It really does release your mind to sleep well and refresh for the next day. :)

  3. Yes it does! I am so glad Linda allowed me to share her post! Thanks for dropping by Erin!

  4. Like your "wiggle" idea and I have found that getting out and walking is a good one. I need to do that more often especially since much of my day is "glued" to the computer. And, of course, as a writer, I like the "w" for writing. Thanks.

  5. Great post. Love the "w"s - makes it easy to remember and makes it feel like it is simple to do!

  6. @Debra, I agree with you that Linda's "wiggle" idea is something I want more of. With a young kid, it's important to be more fun!

    @Minette, so glad you dropped by to read Linda's guest post! I had forgotten you had moved! I dropped by your site, and it looks like we have a lot in common!

  7. @Shelley- What a wonderful community of readers you have! It's great to hear all the responses.Thank you for inviting me to share the time management W's with everyone.

    You particularly liked "Wiggle" & "Wishing." Always great to add the fun factor into our days. We need laughter and things that delight us. It makes us feel rejuvenated and alive. Leaving time for dreaming and decompressing is also essential. As you observed, sometimes just making very small shifts and steps is all that we need to make a huge difference in feeling better about ourselves and the flow of our days.

    @Erin- Thank you for your positive feedback. I'm a big fan of "Wrap-up" too. There's nothing quite like closure to allow ourselves to shift into the relaxation state, sleep and then feel refreshed for the next day. The wrapping up allows us to let go and signal that we're "done" for the day.

    @Debra- It's so nice to meet another writer. I see that you also appreciate the "Writing" w. As someone that also can spend a lot of time with my various digital devices, I understand how important your "Wiggle" includes getting outside in the fresh air and walking. I too enjoy a walk or spending time by the rivers. It's a good way to balance the tech time.

    @Minette - Glad you like the simplicity of the W's. I had fun finding words that began with "w" to describe the different types of time.

  8. I love how you broke this down to really capture the segments of the day. You can even pick and choose your "w" and put it to work at other parts of the day. maybe you spend your "wish" time in the morning doing meditation. Maybe you take your "walk" at the end of the evening so signal that your day is done? My greatest take away is to find the balance and try to incorporate some of this each day so you are refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated (my "r's!") for the next. Now I am going to go "walk, wish and wiggle" with my dog!

  9. @Leslie, that's fabulous! I love being more task oriented than trying to "find" time. A brilliant way to look at it! Thanks for stopping by to read Linda's post!

  10. Hey Leslie- Now you've got me thinking about other letters I can enlist to write a post. Love your 3 R's! As you noticed, this is just one other way of incorporating the things we need in our days to bring richness, rejuvenation, and sense of balance. There is no one way. You find the combo that makes sense for you. Hope you're "walk, wish, & wiggle" with your dog brought you all that you needed to wind down your day.