How often do say that during the day? And (say it softly), how often does it serve for an excuse to get out of something? “Oh! I am so sorry, looks like I’m booked that day!!”

A diary is a wonderful thing to help organise and to avoid procrastination. I actually have about three on the go – which in itself is a feat because sometimes they don’t match, and I accept an invitation for this day which is free in this diary, only to find that I am double booked in the other two!!

But generally I keep one diary with me at all times which is what I call my working diary. The others merely sit by either the home phone or the office phone … and usually it all work

s fine.

Keeping a current diary is my way of organising my work life, to ensure that I am aware of what is expected this week and to enable me to plan and prepare for my activities. Would that I was as good in my personal life. It is not that I don’t know what needs doing; it is just that sometimes I don’t like doing it!

For instance, with my working routine I find that Wednesday morning is always free, so I schedule my regular cleaning tasks for Wednesdays. Alas! I am not a fan of housework, and I am a fan of reading; so can you guess what my preference is for my personal time? You may also notice that while Wednesday is supposed to be my day off, this is Wednesday and I am at the computer typing about procrastination, and meanwhile the bathroom floor needs washing – you see my problem?

What, you may ask, has brought about this morbid self-reflection? Well, I have on my hands at the moment a rather complex sewing task. It is a sort of appliqué task, quite decorative but rather fiddly. It needs concentration, focus and time. I like sewing, I find it therapeutic, and it gives me a sense of achievement; and this task is a decorative piece needed for a special occasion (which is approaching rapidly) – but for one reason or another I am finding it really difficult to commit to completing it.

In fact I had decided that today would be the day that I ate this particular frog, with or without fries! But here I am, half the morning gone and the task not even looked at. I am a sad case at the moment, I need some enthusiasm and some inspiration; so I hunted out the little book by Neem James that I picked up at a Women’s Network event, (Secrets of super-productivity – how to achieve amazing things in your [work] life) and sought inspiration.

Now Neem focuses on arranging our work life, but the principles she outlines have equal effect when translated into the home tasks. She has some simple tricks about how to organise our time to be more productive, and as one member of Trischel is acutely aware, you cannot save time, it slips through your fingers; but you certainly can waste time as I am discovering. So I reviewed Neem’s ideas on creating more productive time in my life.

Her first tip is to keep a diary, block out the meetings with the actual time required, and don’t forget to factor in the travelling to and from if appropriate. I had been one of those diary keepers that merely dashed down “9.30 meeting with Fred” with no indication of how long I would be ‘meeting with Fred’, consequently I usually underestimated and found myself catching up for the rest of the day.

So I bought myself one of those diaries that include daily times, and started blocking out my appointments, taking due care to include travelling time and indeed, preparation or setting up time. I took on another of Neem’s hints and colour coded everything so that I could see at a glance what I should be doing and where I was supposed to be at any given time! It worked a treat. It was one of the best ideas I had tried. And I gladly thank Neem every day.

So why am I so behind hand in my personal life? Perhaps the clue is that I am so organised in my working life, that I just like to ‘chill out’ (as my grand-daughter says) in my free time. So the one thing that I avoid doing is organising my personal time. It feels too much like work.

But perhaps, that is why I keep putting off the things I don’t feel like doing, and just float into the things that I do like doing at that time; if you see what I mean!

But, unfortunately, there are some other things that I like as well – a tidy house, a clean bathroom, and some practical crafts; so perhaps I should translate my organisational skills into the rest of my life – maybe I should include in my diary the personal things that need doing. Maybe what is lacking in these tasks is that sense of obligation that a written commitment brings with it.

So, I put the book down with a renewed sense of urgency. I will put the task down now in my diary so that I will know that it has to be done today. Oh … look; I am fully booked out today … my diary clearly has it blocked out as “Day Off”. Well that’s that then, it will simply have to be done another day.

You see, a written commitment needs a moral sense of obligation as well, and I am sadly lacking in that on my day off!

Now where’s that last Harry Potter book?

Michele @ Trischel

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