Time management is a big concern for a lot of people. I keep hearing, “There are just not enough hours in the day…” or “Where does my time go?” Face it, we all live busy lives. Work, family, and other commitments keep us all hopping. To use our time more wisely, it’s important to recognize what the specific problems are. Is it not having enough time for you or your family? Maybe you are not sure where all your time is going and just want to account for it. Or, you could have a full schedule that you are having a hard time keeping up with. Whatever the reason, time is a precious resource that most of us need to use to its fullest.
The most important step in time management is evaluating our schedules. On a sheet of paper, write up a “typical” week for you. By looking at your current schedule, you will be able to identify places where better time management could be used. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling unsatisfied with my schedule? Make a list of what you want to change and what you want to make room for. Do you want more time to pursue interests? More time to be with your children? More time to travel? Or just more time to get all your daily task done?
After you have done this, take another piece of paper and draw three columns. In the first column, put a list of all appointments, events, or commitments that are “set in stone”, things that take place at a set time and happen daily, weekly or monthly. Such as work, school or club meetings, or standing doctor’s appointments. In the second column, put “flexible” tasks or commitments that can be done around your “set in stone” commitments, such as grocery shopping, house cleaning, or having lunch with a friend. In the third column put those “occasional” appointments, doctor appointments, a school play, or an old friend coming into town (or anything that does not fall into the other two columns).
Then, using a calendar (preferably one with large spaces for the days). Or, use a notebook and label each page a day or two (depending on how much you are trying to accomplish daily or weekly.) Start putting in the items from your three columns, starting with the items that are “set in stone” then the items that are occasional, leaving the “flexible” items last since you are able to put them in around the other things.
The objective is to balance out your days and to maximize your time. Why make a separate trip to the pharmacy when it is on your way to your son’s soccer practice? I always try to plan appointments in the same area on the same day, this reduces my travel time and gets the most out of my day.
The biggest thing to consider is: Are you doing too much? No matter how well time is managed, there is such a thing as an overload of commitments. Time management is not just about structuring your week so that you can get everything accomplished. It is about creating a manageable schedule that will give you time for the important things in life. So, before looking at your time management skills look at what you are trying to juggle.
Include things that you want to do, but just don’t seem to have time for in your day. What is the sense of managing your time better just to fit in more work? A part of time management is creating a balance so that you can have time to injoy the fun stuff in life too.
If you are so booked solid that you can not schedule an hour and a half of quality family time, an hour of time with your significant other, and at least at the very minimum 30 minutes – 45 minutes of time for yourself, then you have too much on your plate and it is time to ask for help to relieve yourself of some commitments. Being run down and worn-out will not assist you in better time management at achieving your goals, in fact it will hinder it.
To continue to sharpen your skills, read part 3 of this blog: Time Management – Time Management Skills.
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P.E.A.C.E (P-roper E-ducation A-lways C-orrects E-rror), being mindful that knowledge is only told by way of "PEACE".