Genius Productivity Strategies: Finally Get Organized and Reclaim Your Time

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By Michael Braswell

Running a childcare business is incredibly fulfilling yet comes with its unique challenges. Balancing numerous responsibilities while maintaining top-notch care can sometimes feel overwhelming. We all know that feeling of frustration when things slip through the cracks. My goal is to help you reclaim your time, maintain a positive mindset, and keep your team motivated.


Benefits of Being Organized

  • A More Flexible Schedule – Organizing and managing your schedule with time management tools can reduce time wasters, giving you more time for focus and deep work.

  • Less Stress – When you’re organized, you know where things are, when they’re due, and what steps you need to take to get work done. Every task is assigned (to you or someone on your team) and has a deadline, reducing anxiety and the mental clutter that often comes with managing a busy child care facility. By having a clear plan and system in place, you can approach each day with confidence, knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished.

  • More Space for Creativity – You know that mental task list that keeps running tabs on what needs to get done? That’s taking up a considerable amount of precious brain capacity. Outsourcing these items from your mind (by organizing and delegating tasks) will leave more space for creative, focused work.

  • Less Risk of Burnout – When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you’re more likely to make hurried decisions. This increases stress and—when compounded over time—leads to burnout. Often, overwhelm stems from feeling like there is too much to do and not enough time. Getting organized helps you to feel in control of your work and reduce overwork.

  • Increased Productivity – In a perfect organization system, every piece of work has a purpose, an owner, and a deadline. Even if your work isn’t perfect—which, let’s be honest, whose is? Having an organized system reduces the amount of time spent on meaningless tasks and boosts productivity.

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of being organized, let’s look at some practical strategies you can implement to get there. One of the most effective ways to manage your responsibilities is by organizing your to-dos in a central place. Here’s how you can do it and why it’s crucial for your productivity.


6 Ways to Organize Your To-Do’s


1. Track Your To-Dos In A Central Place

The more you try to mentally track things in your brain, the less productive you’ll be. The first step to making a better to-do list is to get it out of your head.

  • Tracking your to-dos in a tool instead of in your head frees up mental space, allowing you to focus on more important tasks. Use a dedicated notebook, daily planner, online task list or app such as Trello, Asana, or Monday to track your to-dos.

  • Once all of your to-dos are written down, organize the list to create actionable steps. Even if you are overwhelmed with the length of your list at a moment, doing a “brain-dump” and getting everything out of your head and onto paper, then being able to organize, prioritize, will bring clarity and peace of mind that you cannot achieve with all that clutter in your head.


2. Learn to Manage Your Time

Time management is a critical part of being organized. If you aren’t in control of your time, you can’t be in control of your tasks. Here are some techniques to help you manage your time effectively:

Time Blocking

Time Blocking is a powerful productivity technique for effectively managing your time by scheduling specific tasks during time slots.
It involves breaking your day into blocks of time and assigning specific activities or tasks to each block.

Time Blocking helps prioritize tasks, minimize distractions, and ensure focus on important activities.

Benefits of Time Blocking:

    • Improved Focus and Productivity: By allocating time slots for specific tasks, you can concentrate fully on each task without distractions, leading to higher productivity.

    • Effective Prioritization: Time Blocking enables you to prioritize tasks based on importance and deadlines, ensuring that essential activities are completed on time.

    • Reduced Procrastination: Having a structured schedule discourages procrastination as it creates a sense of accountability and encourages adherence to planned activities.

    • Enhanced Work-Life Balance: By allocating time for work-related tasks and personal activities, Time Blocking promotes a healthier work-life balance, reducing stress and burnout.

    • Flexibility and Adaptability: Despite having a structured schedule, Time Blocking allows for flexibility to accommodate unexpected events or changes in priorities.

    • Clearer Visualization of Time: By visually organizing tasks into blocks, you gain a clearer understanding of how your time is allocated, facilitating better time management.



Timeboxing is another effective technique. For each task, create a goal to finish it by a specific time. If left unchecked, tasks might fall into the trap of Parkinson’s Law—where work expands to fill the available time. Timeboxing prevents this, ensuring that tasks take only as long as they need to.

For example, if I’m running ACHs for the week or doing payroll, I’ll sit down between 10 and 11 and make sure it’s done before 11. By assigning specific tasks to a set time, you can better manage how long things will take.

Hold yourself accountable and make it fun. Turn it into a game. For instance, say, “Boom, I’m going to get this done by 11.” And after that, reward yourself. Anytime you accomplish something, give yourself a little reward. It could be a two-minute walk, getting some sun, or just taking a quick break away from everyone.

Finding little ways to reward yourself for accomplishing tasks can keep you motivated.


The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique can help you get hyper-focused work done. It’s a simple structure: Each Pomodoro consists of 25-minute work blocks bookended by 5-minute breaks. When you’re in Pomodoro, limit distractions and turn off notifications. The goal is to focus solely on the task at hand.


Eat the Frog

It might sound like a weird time management technique, but the eat the frog method comes from a famous Mark Twain quote: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” Essentially, this translates to tackling your most difficult tasks first. Start each day by identifying and completing your most complex tasks, going down the line until you’re left with easier items to end the day. This helps you take advantage of your most productive working hours—often when you first start work—to begin with success.

This structured approach to time management can help you stay organized, reduce stress, and enhance your productivity.


3. Practice Inbox Zero

Contrary to popular belief, Inbox Zero doesn’t always mean having zero emails in your inbox. The concept is more about organizing your emails and reducing digital clutter so you can stay on top of important tasks and updates.

  • To apply Inbox Zero, set a time every week—or every day if needed—to triage incoming messages.
    • Assign Tasks: As you read through messages, assign tasks immediately.

    • Use Email Labels or Folders: Organize emails by project, urgency, or type using labels or folders in your email client. This makes it easier to identify actionable items and track progress on tasks.

    • Flag Important Emails: Most email clients allow you to flag or mark emails as important. Use this feature to highlight emails that require follow-up or further action.

    • Use a weekly calendar reminder or daily alarm to ensure that you stay on top of—or potentially ahead of—incoming messages.


4. Prioritize Your Most Important Work

There’s a difference between work that makes you feel productive (busy work) and work that helps move your team and business forward. Here’s how to ensure you’re focusing on what truly matters.

  • Identifying your most important work starts with your company’s Strategic Plan.

  • Connecting your individual tasks to broader goals gives you the context to get your most important work done.

  • When you know how your work ladders up to larger company initiatives, you have the context you need to adjust deadlines and priorities.

For example: If you need to get a message out to a parent, like an incident report, it must be written up and 100% complete before the parent comes to pick up their child. This is part of the company’s strategic plan.

In childcare, we all know the importance of timely and accurate communication with parents. This isn’t just busy work; it directly affects our relationship with the parents and our overall service quality.

Many day-to-day tasks may seem mundane or insignificant, but they play a critical role in the organization as a whole.

For example: Tasks like preparing incident reports are not just for compliance but also for maintaining trust with parents. It’s essential to understand the reasons behind every task, no matter how small, because each one contributes to the bigger picture.

Knowing the reason behind a task makes it easier to respect and execute it efficiently. Understanding how your work fits into the larger company initiatives helps you prioritize and adjust deadlines accordingly.

By understanding how your individual tasks contribute to the overall success of the organization, you can prioritize effectively, ensuring you’re always working on what truly matters.


5. Delegate Tasks

Use the Eisenhower Matrix to organize your tasks. When planning your day, categorize tasks into important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent, and not important and not urgent. This method helps you prioritize and manage your workload effectively. By using this method it allows you to focus on high-impact projects.

  • Important and Urgent: This is your most important work. Assign these to yourself and prioritize anything in this bucket.

  • Important but Not Urgent: These are valuable but might not need to get done today. Schedule them out to ensure they get done.

  • Not Important but Urgent: These are the to-dos to delegate. They’re not important to you, but they absolutely must get done. Assign these projects to others who can quickly and efficiently manage them.

  • Not Important and Not Urgent: Remove completely. This is work for the sake of work.

Delegating tasks effectively lets you zero in on what really matters for your business while building a stronger, more capable team. It’s not just about getting stuff off your plate; it’s about empowering everyone to do their best and contribute to your success.


6. Declutter Your Physical and Virtual Space

A clean, welcoming office space is energizing and exciting to walk into. When your desk is free of distractions, you can feel more confident, creative, and even reduce anxiety. Instead of letting things pile up until they feel stressful or unmanageable, set aside time every week, quarter, or month—whatever works for you—for routine decluttering.

To practice virtual decluttering, try:

  • Reassigning any overdue tasks with new, relevant due dates.

  • Reading through and clearing out your notifications.

  • Practicing Inbox Zero.

  • Time blocking your calendar to make room for more flow.

In child care centers, it’s common for desks to become a catch-all for everything. Teachers and staff often drop off papers, supplies, and other items, leading to clutter. To prevent this, set up boundaries and designated inboxes for incoming items. Let everyone know that mail and other items should be placed in these inboxes, not on your desk. This will help maintain a clear workspace, allowing you to focus on your tasks without spending time cleaning up clutter.

By making decluttering a regular habit and setting clear expectations for your team, you can create a more organized and productive work environment.



My hope is that this article has helped you realize the importance of maintaining a structured plan for staying organized and productive. Whether it’s mapping out daily schedules or tackling various responsibilities, having a clear plan in place allows for flexibility to handle unexpected changes effectively. Additionally, exploring resources like online courses or videos on time management can be invaluable tools to enhance productivity. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work every day; it truly makes a difference in so many lives.

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