Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Renovate Your Life: Prioritising, Reorganising and Outsourcing

My Darling Devotees,
Now that you have re-organised your room, you may be revelling in the freedom and joy that comes from the ability to know where your things are when you need them (I know I am), and may also be looking for other ways to extend this freedom to the rest of your life. Well, I'm all about productivity right now and making the best use of the time that you do have in a day in order to a avoid ending up with a foot long daily to-do- list, so I have devised a system for turning the conquering of each day into a more manageable feat. Warning: some of these things may be hard to hear coming from me but these are the lessons that I've learn't the hard way. I only tell you these lessons, because I have found that they actually work. Also, this process ( like most Renovate Your Life processes) needs time investment, so make yourself comfortable as you work through it (possibly grabbing a cup of iced tea and playing some soothing music), at your own leisurely pace.

1. Identifying:
Identify all the things that you do in an average day, week, month and year, that take up a lot of your time. If you have to pick, I would start with what you do in an average day, because it usually gives you a pretty good idea of where your time goes on a large scale. Write all these things down. Also, identify all of your major and minor long term and short term goals (all the things you want to do, that would probably lead you to the kind of person you want to be). Write all these down too. Make sure they are in separate columns or are at least in separate lists.

2. Evaluating:
Compare the two lists. How much of the stuff that you want to do do you actually do each day? How much time do you spend doing things you don't love/don't really care about? Why? Evaluate your goals. How much time do you spend working towards them each day? Are all your goals still concurrent with the person you are? What are the really large goals? Can you break them down into smaller ones? After answering all these questions, you should have found the goals that are are actually on track with who you are, and should also have gotten rid of/modified the goals that no longer appeal to you.

Divide your remaining major activities/goals into 3 major categories:
Things you have to do, but don't particularly like/are not really good at: (e.g. chores you don't like, etc)
Things you like/love to do, that are important to you
Things you don't have to do/ are not really good at, but that are important to achieving your goals.

Arrange these as much as possible according to level of importance (something along the lines of 1 star for least, 3 stars for most).

Note: I only mention these 3 categories, because really life is too short to spend time doing things you don't like, don't need to do, and that are not important to you ( or your loved ones)

Reorganise your schedule by doing the following:
Allocate the most time to the things that are most important, that you are good at and that you love. Spend as little time as possible doing the things that you are either not good at, or that are important but that you don't like doing.You can do this by only working on the things that you need to do but that you are not good at, during your least productive times in the day. For example, if you are a writer, but you know that it is near impossible for you to get any work done during the afternoon from 1-4pm, you could use that time for your errands. By doing this you will be getting all the things you need to get done in a day, by using your least creatively productive time for something else that you need to get done, instead of wasting it by making mind to work yourself work through your low productivity periods. Also, I've noticed that errands become a lot more appealing when I am sick of doing school work, so I am more willing to do my errands at these points in time.

Refer to the list of things that you are not good at/don't like but that need to be done, and that are not really important to you, as well as the things that you are not good at, but that need to be done in order to achieve your goals. For these two categories I suggest outsourcing as much as possible. You are only one person, you cannot do everything yourself, and even if you could I don't think you would want to. If you're not good at taxes or finances get help during tax period or, if you can, get a financial advisor or make use of a finacial assisting program like mint.com. If you are a budding director but for the life you can not figure out how to dress your cast, team up with a budding costumer.
In fact, when I was thinking about how to outsource things I need help with, I went back to my list of goals, and began to look at the intermediary goals I had added because I thought that I would need to do that in order to achieve another goal. After evaluating some of these goals, I realised that I would not mind outsourcing a great deal of them, if it would mean I would get to spend more time doing things that I was really passionate about. After realising this, I was able to make my goals a lot clearer and more streamlined and defined. I was able to identify the things that were most important to me and separate them from the things that I would be interested in trying out at some point simply for novelty's sake. For example, I was able to realise that creating the storyline and storyboard for a music video was a lot more interesting to me than actually filming and editing so I will team up with a friend of mine to work on the video rather than filming, editing and creating the video all by myself. This doesn't mean I'll never do the actual filming myself. It just means that it isn't one of the top things I want to do with my time right now.

By going through this process I was able to find out where all my time goes in a day and figure out where I want it to go. I was able to find my priorities and make sure that I was actively working towards them. But most importanitly I've learnt how to use my time so I don't feel like I'm running against a ticking clock.
It's all about making the best use of your time.

Love you all and Stay inspired,

P.S. So let me know what you think. Have you ever outsourced certain activities? Do you regularly evaluate your goals? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

P.P.S. I hinted that I would be gone for a week because of finals and because of travelling home. I'm home now, and although I'm a little jet-lagged I'm back to the blogosphere after focusing on my finals and doing really well on them :) Thanks for sticking with me through this darlings. I love you!


Jeff King said...

I've missed ya... you inspire me to do more and do it better---thx.

Selina said...

Hey Aury!

Wonderful post, I always enjoy reading articles about productivity and organization.

One point that you mentioned earlier had me thinking about a book I recently read by Steve Pavlina. Underneath the topic of "Prioritizing" you have activities split into three columns. Pavlina refers to this as "Triage." He writes:

"In battlefield medicine, the principle of triage involves dividing patients into three groups:
1. Those who will die anyway, whether they receive medical attention or not

2. Those who will survive anyway, whether they receive medical attention or not

3. Those who will survive only if they receive timely medical attention"

The medics will attend to the third group before the other two to save the most lives. He then expands it to include productivity into the picture. He also writes that you can divide projects similarly:

"1. Projects that will fail to have a significant impact, whether you do them or not

2. Projects that will succeed anyway, whether you do them or not

3. Projects that will have a significant impact only if you complete them in a timely manner"

Similarly, the third group is the best one to put your effort in.

If you're looking for personal growth/development topics to read about, you should try reading one of Steve's articles (google him and search his most popular or his archives), or perhaps his book. He's awesome.

ellie said...

I really like that out sourcing part. Really enjoyed this post.

ivy's closet said...

Some great ideas!

meg said...

I really like getting it all written down like that so you can see what your goals are and what's happening.

Audrey Allure said...

Great tips! A lot of prioritizing has to do with time management :)

cass and cady said...

Very insightful post. Thanks for motivating me.

Cafe Fashionista said...

Welcome back to the blogosphere, darling; you were greatly missed!

I find that reorganizing at least once per week is one of the best ways for me to stay focused, and to keep my goals in my sights. :)

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