Five Time Management Tools to Reduce Overwhelm

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Five Time Management Tools to Reduce Overwhelm

I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that this summer is flying by!  At times I feel like all I’m doing is either going to bed at night or getting up in the morning.  The days can blend together, and while things are getting accomplished, at times I feel as though I really don’t have a handle on them.  It’s so easy to easy to get caught up in the minutia of the day, and lose track of action items that would lead to realizing bigger goals.  No wonder we need stress management techniques to control the resulting inflammation in our bodies that lead to disease!  I’ve talked about stress management tools in past posts, but what about ways to prevent the overwhelm?

Do you have the right tools to help you make sense out of your day/week/year/life?

I have to tell you, I’m sort of a tool junkie.  Boy do I have tools!  Digital, analog, you name it.  I keep coming back to analog (which means old fashioned pen and paper.)  I’m encouraged to hear that this is making a comeback as more and more people want to stop being slaves to their technology.  Did you know that when you actually write something down on paper, it increases your retention, and action is more likely to be taken?  The brain has been shown to process ideas better, and you reach an enhanced clarity of thought through the creation of letters during the writing process.  That being said, sometimes technology is just handier, so I’ll talk about both.

Here are 5 tools to help you reduce the overwhelm:

  • Evernote for thoughts, and to record things I want to remember.  This is where technology works best for me.  Otherwise, I’d have scraps of paper all over my house, in my car, in my purse…and that definitely leads to overwhelm!  A non-app method would be to just use Notes on your phone.
  • Deacon Michael Hyatt from the AFR podcast “At the Intersection of East and West” just came out with a Full Focus Planner.  He and I have many of the same goals when it comes to our days.  For instance, his reference to a Morning Ritual is similar to Holistic Christian Life’s Daily Ascesis.  I use his quote a lot – “What gets scheduled gets done”
  • A method I use is called “Chunking.”  It’s a way of scheduling time in chunks to work on specific projects. Couple this with the power of having a daily routine, and it’s a recipe for accomplishing more each day.  Multi-tasking is a proven way to add stress to your life, and not give your best effort to your tasks.  The concept of chunking celebrates the opposite effect.  I use it each day to focus on accomplishing my goals, and find that it works.
  • Recently, I saw a TED Talk by Laura Vanderkam that really inspired me.  She talks about the myth of people saying that they didn’t do something because they didn’t have time.  It really made me think about some things!
  • I like to listen to the podcast Beyond the To-Do List.  It has given me ideas that help dial in my routine and has provided some ah ha moments that lead to better time management.  For instance, many a person’s day is derailed with technology time wasters.  Regardless of your job and station in life, if you schedule your email/Facebook/social media time, you will get more done in between.  There are great apps that help with this!

One of my goals is to clear the clutter on my table, which currently consists of my bible, a devotional, a journal, and a planner.  Then there is the checklist in my kitchen with my daily health goals and supplement schedule.  Then there is the table next to my bed with my evening journal for tracking accomplished goals, gratitude, and actions planned for the next day…not to mention things I need to get off my mind before I close my eyes.  Yikes!  Can you relate?

What if there was an answer that was specifically Orthodox, with daily prayers, scripture readings, and an inspiring quote to get you started on the right foot…giving the day to God and living in His will as your primary intention?  Then goal setting and tracking, daily action items, a place to journal, schedule, and even express gratitude to God for His blessings that day?  A planner that organizes our days and helps us live intentionally, all through the lens of our Christian faith.  Yep…it’s coming!

You can help me!

Is there anything I’m missing?  What is your favorite tool right now for organizing your days and living intentionally?  What could make it better?  Do you have any books on your table that I don’t, and components I should consider?  Feel free to take a picture of your “mess” and share it with me!  That’s mine in the photo…front and center in the middle of my living room until company comes…yep!

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Nancy Shively says:

    Can’t wait to see the planner! As I’ve gotten older (I’m 60) I’ve found I need to write things down to organize my thoughts and remember things. At the beginning of the year I began keeping a bullet journal. (see bulletjournal.com for an explanation of this method)
    Things about this system that work for me:
    1. everything in ONE place! Notes, tasks, schedule, calendar, goals, habit tracker etc. I even had section for Great Lent with lenten prayers, service schedule, lenten practices.
    2. creative outlet- I can decorate my pages….or not.
    3, customizable- I can create layouts that work for me
    Search #bulletjournal or #bujo on Instagram or Pinterest but I warn you…its addictive!

    • Cynthia Damaskos says:

      Hi Nancy, I like a bullet journal also! I love having everything together in one place, and it has inspired me too! I think you’ll like what I’m planning 🙂
      I haven’t gone to Pinterest to search about it, but you’re right…I need to!

  2. Kristi Perkins says:

    Hi Cynthia! I LOVE your book and your blog! Thank you so much for putting yourself out there – you’ve been an inspiration to me <3

    I can relate to all of the journals, planners, schedules, and notebooks piled in the kitchen, by the bed, and on my desk! Over the years I've tried several methods and have even created my own planners and daily planning pages. What I end up doing most of the time is a combination of various systems – in a journal, I keep track of big goals and ideas (room to brainstorm and doodle is essential!); in a digital app, I keep a bullet point list of items for the week, month, and beyond (a short list of my journal goals to keep with me wherever I go); on list paper every morning I write a daily to do list and mark 1-3 items that are priority for the day. I also have a separate meal planning list.

    Can't wait to see your Orthodox planner – I've been dreaming about one for at least two years now!

    • Cynthia Damaskos says:

      Thank you so much Kristi! Your comments encourage me so much! Thank you also for the great info on what you like in a planner. This really helps, as the design is in the planning stage right now, and I am adding and taking away features. The problem I’m getting into is that I am up to two pages per day…so the journal will probably have to be a quarterly one, or it will just get too big. This increases expense, so I am considering making it a paperback instead of hard cover. If you have any thoughts on that, please let me know

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