Manage Your Time Without Time Travel
I can’t remember the last time I needed an alarm to wake up in the morning. My schedule is so jammed packed that I literally hit the ground running shortly after sunrise (sometimes before).
Managing time is an awkward task for me. I have a desk calendar, a calendar in my phone, one in each of my 4 email accounts, and I still dash around like the clock stopped running and I lost track of time.
No matter who you are or what your schedule looks like, managing time can be difficult. How many times during conversation have you inserted the phrase, “If I only had more time in my day?”
Time Travel Isn’t Possible, So Get with It
Well, sister. I hate to tell you this, but H.G. Wells and Jules Verne both passed on before they actually figured out how to travel time. And as far as I can tell, no one is close on the heels of Wells and Verne.
Though I don’t have a cool t.v. remote that stops time, I do have a few tricks of my own that help me accomplish what I need to during my day. Here are a few of my time management tips.
Don’t over do it, or nothing will get done.
Have you ever tried answering texts while send any email with half of a salad in your mouth? I have and it usually ends very badly. I send my accountant a dorky text meant for my friend, write in my email what I meant to text, and feed my keyboard half my salad.
To avoid this awful mess, prioritize your day from the moment you wake up. I guarantee you will get more accomplished this way. Know what is on your agenda and in what order you plan to accomplish everything.
I am a huge proponent of lists. I have lists of articles I plan to write, clients I need to contact, meetings I need to attend, groceries I need to buy, checks I need to write, ect. I keep several notebooks by my desk so when I have to write something down, I am not scrambling for paper.
Set a routine that everyone can follow (Including you).
Humans are creatures of habit and we thrive on routines. Think about when you shower. You probably wash every body part in the same order every time. If you don’t, then you forget whether you scrubbed between your toes or conditioned your hair properly.
Structure your life like your shower routine. Get up and perform the same tasks in the same manner each morning. Have your family do this as well.
My kids get dressed, eat breakfast, finish homework, brush their teeth, and put on their shoes. This type of patterning works with anything you do in your day.
Somethings you can do to establish a pattern in your routine:
- Picture how your perfect day will go, and make it happen. Visualization is an important tool to calm your nerves and relieve stress.
- Always fit in what’s important to you like going to the gym or reading. This will help you relax into your other tasks rather than feeling overwhelmed or frantic.
- Prioritize by urgency. If you have a deadline looming over you, get it off your plate and move on.
- Give yourself breaks during the day. I like to work on a given task for an hour, and take 10 minutes to unwind before I start working again.
- Keep logs, journals, and calendars of things you need to get done each day. Make sure to update it every evening before you go to bed. If you don’t finish something one day, add it to tomorrow’s list.
Learn to Say “No” Often.
I am 100% guilty of forgetting how to use the word “no.” Soon I find my calendar is filled with PTSO meetings and tasks, volunteer work, lunch dates, all on top of my client list. And I tend to take on clients even when my plate is already full.
If you can’t do something, be honest with the person asking you to do it. Say “no” and provide a reasonable explanation as to why you can’t get it done. The person will likely appreciate your honesty a lot more than missed deadlines or tardiness.
Be Grateful At the End of the Day
I am always grateful if everyone is healthy and happy. If you don’t get everything on your list accomplished, thank yourself for what you did do. Oftentimes we are so overwhelmed with our failures that we forget about all the hard work we put into making things happen.
Enjoy life and know that you are not alone in this great big world of “too much to do and not enough time.” Wake up early, prioritize your day, and thank yourself for getting things done.
I recommend having a desk calendar or wall calendar that is large and in charge. Write everything on your schedule in pencil so you can easily make changes. Also keep notebooks handy for making lists (keep one in your car as well). Establish routines in your family and they will carry over into your work life and daily routine.
Most importantly, don’t forget to do something that is important to you every day. You need to take care of you before you can take care of anyone else.