Overwhelmed to Organized: Time Management

Katie MiglinBlog, Lead Better, Manage Better, Reflect Better, Self Care Better, Teach Happier


  • How to move from feelings of overwhelm to being organized? Create a system of productivity that works for you.
  • Time management strategies include categorizing your list, blocking off time, and setting goals.

Overwhelmed to Organized: Time Management

Alarm goes off. I roll out of bed and hit the ground running. Work out, get kids and myself ready, pack lunches, brew coffee, and head to work. I approach my desk which is covered in lists, calendars, and reminders.

Hours later, I find I have a bonus fifteen minutes from a meeting that ended early. What can I accomplish? I open my inbox, half-read several emails, realize they will take too much time to respond, so decide to knock a few things off of my to-do list. After looking at the tasks, noting which ones are due soon, I decide I better refill my coffee. A quick glance at the clock tells me I only have 2 minutes left. 13 minutes have passed, and I have accomplished nothing. *Sigh*

Sound familiar? Some days, I feel like I have conquered the world when my head hits the pillow. Other days, my mind races to the point where I get nothing done. Post-its, reminders, and to-do lists can be incredibly helpful. However, they can also be overwhelming and lead to a chaotic mind. It’s important to create a system that not only leads to productivity but also sticks. Everyone is different. How will you utilize a system that works for you and maximizes your time?

Time Management Tip #1: Categorize Your List

Lists that are several items long with varying due dates are hard to manage and navigate. They can quickly become overwhelming. When creating a to-do list, put them into categories. If you serve on various committees, lead different groups, or teach different classes, put your tasks into sub-groups for easy reference. That way, when you glance at the whole list, you can decide which area you want or need to focus on. It also helps you keep track of areas that might be getting backed up or that you’re behind in.

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Time Management Tip #2: Block Off Time

24 hours in a day might seem long, but most days, time flies. Our minds are constantly racing which can lead to unproductive days and feelings of defeat. Every morning, rather than scrolling through social media, look at your calendar. What does your day look like? When do you have gaps in your day where you could accomplish a few tasks?

Try to schedule everything you want to do including eating lunch, working out, and time for yourself and your loved ones. I personally have a daily calendar on my desk where I write out everything I want to do throughout the day. From 9-10 a.m., I will work on writing a blog for Teach Better. From 11:30-12, I will eat lunch. At 2 p.m., I will work out.

Time Management Tip #3: Set Goals

When we don’t feel like doing something, we struggle to accomplish it. So instead of dragging our feet on a task that is not our favorite, set daily goals. Depending on the busyness of the day, I lay out a few things I know I should get done, but maybe aren’t looking forward to. Whenever I have a few extra minutes, I work on one of these tasks. The trick is to make sure your goals are tangible and are able to be accomplished that day. If you have a super busy day, then only set one goal.

Restructuring your time can have a huge impact on your mental capacity and your ability to focus. Consider using one of these tips this week to see how much better you feel.

About Katie Miglin

Katie Miglin was a former classroom teacher of 13 years in the middle school setting. She taught 7th grade for all thirteen years with a few sections of 6th and 8th grade sprinkled throughout. Her experience includes teaching Writing and Math. During her time in the schools, Katie has held a variety of roles including Fellowship of Christian Athletes Huddle Leader, Curriculum Chair, Drama Club Director, and PBIS Tier 1 Coach. She has also been a part of the building leadership team, community outreach team, and before school program.

Katie is now working for the Teach Better Team as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In this role, Katie coordinates several events including the 12 Hour Live and the Teach Better Conference, as well as provides professional development for school districts. Through this position, Katie has had the pleasure of connecting with other educators from all over the world and has loved meeting innovative and hardworking people from all walks of life.

While working has always brought Katie joy, her true love is at home with her husband, 2 daughters and dog. She loves working out, reading, and doing anything that involves the outdoors.