Olga Organization: a nickname given to me by a friend, who was “less organized” than I. I’m still not sure if she intended the name as a term of endearment or something more akin to consternation—because the term Organize brings comfort to one, while terrorizing another.
You can access any number of sites and lists to help you become more productive. Here is mine, streamlined for your convenience.
You cannot fight your biorhythms. I learned long ago during my first ill-fated Master’s degree (1975) that I could not under any circumstances stay up late to work on research. I spent so much time coming up with activities to keep myself awake, I never got any work done. Even as a 22-year-old, I started going to bed at 9:00 p.m. and getting up at 3:00 a.m. I remain a morning person and no longer try to shift my pattern. I’m alert in the morning. Not at night. So I work in the morning.
Create your own work environment. Especially when I started to write, I pictured the “perfect place” to write. I even tried to create a few: a desk, the perfect office chair, perfect light. It was all to no avail. I felt “lonely” back in the bedroom I had designated an “office space.” So I headed right back to the living room to “my spot” on the couch. There, with my laptop, I can think to write. And whether there is one child or more playing within arm’s reach, I can concentrate.
Set reasonable goals and allow yourself to move them. One reason we never finish or perpetually run late is because we do not set goals. We do not set goals, because we are afraid we cannot reach them. One reason we cannot reach them is because we set them too high, then fail, and then forever after believe the goal unreachable. The key word is: reasonable. What can you accomplish within one hour? One day? One week? Hold yourself to that. Forgive yourself if you miss it. Reset it.
Never underestimate the power of 15 minutes. Do not dream of the “golden block of time,” when you’ll have 3 or 4 hours to study, clean, research, create, type, calculate. Snatch 15 minutes after a meal, after the children go to sleep or go to school, after a class, before you go to bed. Keep whittling away, and before you know it, the project is done. I “15-minuted” myself through my mid-life graduate degree (seven years to finish, one course per semester) and four novels.
Whatever your project or goal: “Make your life work for you.”