It’s my favorite time of the year, back to school! I’m someone who loves a schedule, routine and organization. I’m all for the spontaneity of summer, but I love the routine that back to school brings.

The brand-new notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, or in the case of older Minnetonka kids, an updated iPad. As a morning person, I love the early start to the day that the kids have to have. I’ve never been a big supporter of letting kids sleep the day away. What a waste of time. I’ve always encouraged my kids to get to bed at a decent time, so they don’t waste the next day. That doesn’t mean they always follow my wise words. It also better prepares them for adulthood.

The older I get, the more I recognize that time is our largest commodity. How we spend it and where we spend it is something that should be done deliberately. I’m turning 49 in early September, entering the last year of my 40s. It’s not lost on me that if I’m fortunate, I’ll have 40-50 more Christmases, birthdays and summers.

Somehow life had sped up. The older I get, the faster it goes. Having time and using my time wisely is one of my priorities in life. That includes having time to do absolutely nothing. I have friends who often comment that I’m a working machine. I’m up before the sun and I can go for hours. The truth is, I’m motivated by my desire to be lazy. I’ll work hard to get done what I need to so that I can have down time. Time to do something or nothing.

About a month ago, I had Lake Minnetonka professional organizer Reyestone Organization come into my home to help me organize my home office and make the space more functional. I did so because I had dropped a few balls and realized I needed to be more efficient. Michele Dudley did an incredible job. The woman is an organizing machine with tricks and tips I never would have thought of.

I knew the true test would come after she left, and after I’d been left alone to utilize the system she created for me. Could I keep things organized and functioning the way she set it up? It’s been over a month and I’m thrilled to share that I’ve kept it up.

Most importantly, I’ve created more time for myself by having an organized office with a system to keep me on track. With that additional time, I’m more efficient and effective in my work and I enjoy my down time even more.

Having time to be lazy is such a motivator for me. One of the tips Michele Dudley gave me was to focus on the payoff of the activity I’m procrastinating on. For example, the accounting side of my business is not my favorite thing to do, despite how simple Quickbooks makes it.

What I’ve been doing is working on the accounting first during the week, because I love the feeling of not having it hanging over my head. I focus on getting to that feeling. It’s really helped!

We all have the same 24-hours in a day. One of my pet peeves is people who make excuses for their dropped balls by always talking about how they are “so busy”. The truth is, you didn’t prioritize whatever the dropped ball was. When I drop a ball, it’s something I did not prioritize and it’s something I take ownership of. My 24 hours are not more important than the person inconvenienced by my dropped ball.

If you know someone who is always dropping balls, missing deadlines, is late to things, you might also notice they love to talk about how busy they are. This person is not so busy that these things are unmanageable. They are not organized. They don’t prioritize tasks. They think saying “I’m so busy” is an excuse for inconveniencing others or not pulling their weight. This is the person who expects their lack of planning to now be your emergency to deal with.

This is the person who mistakenly and arrogantly thinks their time is so much more valuable than anyone else. There are times when we all drop a ball here and there. I’m talking about that person who always has the excuse “I’m just so busy” as if it absolves them from their commitments.

At the end of the day, if your schedule is so packed full of things that you can’t get them all done, maybe you are taking on too much. We are all responsible for what we choose to take on. If you sign your child up for four activities during the week and you work full time, you aren’t really setting up your child or yourself for success, are you? Know what you are taking on and if it doesn’t fit your schedule, don’t take it on. If you do, it’s your responsibility and being “so busy” is not an excuse. Know our limits. If you take on more than you can chew that is no one else’s fault but your own.

The next time you find yourself or hear someone else make excuses because they are “so busy”, stop and remind them or yourself that we all have the same 24-hours in a day.

You can learn more about Natalie Webster and her adventures in the Lake Minnetonka area at WebsterEffect.com.

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