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How To Organize Your Time

CBS News This Morning takes on the ultimate challenge: organizing your life.

What that really means is organizing your time. And who has less time than a working mother of four such as Kristy Nyquist?


Julie Morgenstern is an organization guru who is taking on the task of taming time for Nyquist.

She starts with the mornings when things start to fall apart. During the first 50 minutes of the day, everybody wakes up and starts searching for their clothes, says Nyquist.

"Then as we're eating breakfast, we are looking at the school papers.Â…The last five minutes just seem to fall totally apart," she adds.

After that it's off to drive the children to three different schools, and then to work three days a week, as a school counselor.

Then there's the race to pick the kids up from the three different schools - not to mention their activities such as soccer and piano.

Finally, when it's dinnertime, Nyquist ends up looking through the cabinets and making dinner out of whatever she finds.

State your goals

Everybody's life is different. So when you start to organize your time, the most important thing is to step back and state your goals, says Morgenstern.

Nyquist was very clear about her goals. She wanted to work, but she really wanted to be a great mom and create a really nice home for her kids, Morgenstern notes.

"And Kristy had a lot of guilt [about] things she wasn't getting together like meals," she adds.

Map out your obligations

"You have to figure out what you're trying to accomplish so you can make intelligent decisions about your days and your weeks," suggests Morgenstern.

By breaking Nyquist's week down on a worksheet, Morgenstern quickly identified the hidden time resources.

"Everybody should sort of map out all of your obligations; lay it all out. That's where you start to see the time that you have to work with," Morgenstern adds.

Nyquist discovered that on Mondays and Fridays she had time to actually cook real meals and the rest of the week could be devoted to pasta and items easy to prepare.

"When you give a spot for each kind of activity that you want to get to, it sort of ensures you keep a balance," Morgenstern says.

On Monday and Friday mornings Nyquist was advised to do laundry and sort out all the preparations for dinner after dropping her kids off.

"But we have to be realistic. Things come up; you have to break the rules a [little] bit. Then you get back to it," she adds.

And for those crazy mornings, the solution is setting aside 10 minutes the night prior.

The family was tryin to do a tremendous amount of stuff in 50 minutes in the morning. So investing the time the evening before makes a difference, says Morgenstern.

Have a planner

Finally, her primary tool is a planner. "The beauty of the checklist is it does the thinking for you. If you write it down once, keep the paper; you never have to think again," she says.

She advises keeping one planner - for both work and home. When everything goes in the same place, there's only one spot to put it and one spot to find it, she adds. "It can actually work for you."


For related stories read "How To Organize Your Home" and "How To Organize Your Office."

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