Hello everyone! Welcome to “Overcoming Challenges” with Michelle Kaiser. I am the author of a series of books about a real-life special needs calf named Special Ed. My children’s anti-bullying books are titled The Adventures of Special Ed and focus on inclusion, kindness, and acceptance. In the books Special Ed faces many challenges. Today I am going to talk about the challenge of time management.
Some friends marvel over how organized I am, but I tell them, “You wouldn’t know it to see my house! It’s a mess!” I am a crafter so I always have several projects going. But I was getting very little done in finishing craft projects and even less in housekeeping. It bothered me that I could not keep my house and my home-life as organized as my business. I am not one to dive into a project and work until it is done. If I am working on something, my mind is thinking of all the other things I could, or should, be doing. Part of my problem was where to start and how to manage my time more efficiently.
That has changed, and I am going to let you in on my secret. It works for me, but it may not work for you, because we are each different. But if you are feeling overwhelmed, give it a try. I use a spreadsheet, but you can just write your list in colored pens if you prefer.
Start with the current month (let’s use June) as the heading and list things that you want to get done using one color (let’s say blue). I divide my list in two: A.) projects that I need to do every month, such as putting Rid-X in the septic systems, giving my pets their medicines, or filing the 943 taxes. Then, B.) I list projects, both big and small, that I want to do. Items might be as trivial as “send a card to Joy” or as time-consuming as “finish that quilt.” And it is not all work! Some items might be “finish that Stephen King novel” or “work that jigsaw puzzle from Christmas.” Spend ten minutes just looking around to see what needs to be on your list.
Then start working on the list, doing some of those small projects first. I might start a larger project and break it into smaller ones. I strike through each one as I complete it and add more projects as I think of them. Seeing the items struck from the list is a huge morale booster. If I only make it through one-quarter of the list that month, or finish only half of the task, that’s okay – I’m making progress. And I don’t spend the whole day on one large project, such as writing my next book; instead, I limit my time to one or two hours per day for any given item on the list.
In July, I use a new color (let’s say red) and write down the “A” projects that need to be done monthly, but in red. Projects that I didn’t complete in June are transferred to July, keeping their original blue color. I strike through the completed tasks during July just as I did before.
The advantage of the color-coding system is that months down the road you can see which projects have been on your list the longest. I have a six-month rule: if a project has been on the list for six months, then I make a decision: am I ever going to get this done, do I need to just delete this project, or do I get someone else to do it? (Goodwill and the Salvation Army donation centers have become my recycling buddies.) I have found good homes for projects with family and friends. I have hired others to help with larger projects, too!
When I published my first book, friends asked, “Where did you find the time?” I was able to make the time using this system, and now I am working on my fourth book. I hope this helps you out as much as it has helped me.
Now don’t forget to visit my website at www.MichelleKaiserLLC.com to read more about the real Special Ed and check out my resources for keeping kids safe against bullying.
Next time, my commentary will focus on overcoming the challenge of cancer. I hope you’ll join me for this personal insight.
Michelle Kaiser and her husband, Jim, live on a cattle ranch in Cross Plains, Texas. She travels to area schools and libraries to share the story of her real-life special needs calf named Special Ed and the antibullying message his life conveys in her writing. Michelle hopes to teach children kindness, empathy, and inclusion in her book series, The Adventures of Special Ed.