Are you disciplined?

“Wow I bet you have great discipline for your time and energy!”

I have heard that phrase uttered a number of times to me.  Everything in me wanted to turn around to see who else is in the room, and who they were talking to.  When i have done that it becomes apparent that they were talking to me.  ME???? Really?

It is a funny thing about life, and i am not sure if you have had this experience.  You know more about yourself and your use of time than friends, aquaintances and coworkers.  But what they dont know is some times things just unravel.  I make plans, strategize how i will juggle full time work, full time business, church, social life and sanity…. and some times those carefully planned days fall apart, the wheels come off, and there is just nothing you can do about it.  Its about that time someone repeats that phrase to me and i just want to laugh at them.

The truth is that discipline is a big part of my day.  I value the need for order and some sense of organization.  Here are just a few tips I find that work for me:

  • Keep a calendar – Yes i am old school enough to have a paper calendar in addition to my iPhone.  In keeping my calendar i find it very important to jot down thoughts, deadlines, and important things.
  • Plan your day – Take 10 minutes to plot out what is coming up today, where you need to be, what you need to have completed and a strategy for how to go about doing it.
  • Organize notes, project thoughts, photos, details.  – I fall short at doing this well, but when i am successful i have folders for each project, or in the case of our business, for each event, gallery, wholesale client.
  • Plan some time in your day for down time – not just lunch/dinner but purpose to build in a few breaks.  Someone once told me that unless “you come away from it all, you will come undone.”  So i do plan escapes – catching a few chapters of a book, watching an old movie with the hubby, or just taking a long walk.
  • Set up project based calendars  with target dates for “deadlines” of various steps.  I find this is helpful this time of year as we are pulling together a massive amount of applications for events for the year.   Setting time to take photos, edit the photos and log them in the electronic photo library is helpful. Another time consuming project that needs moving targets for completion is our website – updating photos is on my hot list for 1st quarter of 2016, and fully load the shop with product by mid 1st quarter.
  • Accept that life will interrupt best laid plans.  A friend takes sick, work pulls at your time, a death, a sudden request for help…. these things will happen.  Accepting life is unpredictable and accepting your role is to rebound through the ups and downs.
  • Accept your finite limitation – “No, Barb, there are not 32 hours in any given day!”  and “NO, Barb, you cannot go without sleep – if you do you will soon find that your health will suffer, and that is not worth the risk, right?”  We can only accomplish so much in a given day.  When the day is done we must lay it down, and pick it up the next morning.
  • Take care of yourself.  As important as keeping a good time management system is eating right, and sleeping adequate amounts of time.  I am preaching at myself because i must admit that when the pressures of all aspects of my life crowd in something suffers.  Typically i grab what i can find to eat, and i sleep far too little.  But both sleep and food affect our well being, and in theory contribute to our productivity or lack thereof.

Some of the time management thoughts that I love are from Stephen Covey  and involve listing the tasks, ranking them, and then completing them.  Something about checking off a checklist gives a sense of great satisfaction to me.  At the end of the day its nice to see what was accomplished.

So on those days when someone tells you that you must be disciplined, smile…. and agree with me that underneath it all we really do wrestle with keeping life neat and tidy.  Sometimes we win, and other times life wins, pulling us to the cluttered, disorganized side of life.