We can buy time, make time, save time and share time. But why is it that for most of us, there never seems to be enough of it?
We’re all given 86,400 seconds each day. Those who plan ahead about how to use those seconds efficiently are the ones who feel less stressed and more productive.
Time management may not come naturally to you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t implement a few strategies to help maximize your hours. And most importantly, these tips take less than three minutes to read.
When you wake up each morning with what seems like a daunting number of must-do tasks floating around in your head, grab a pen and paper and write down the tasks. The process of transferring them from your head to a piece of paper will enable you to get a grasp on what is ahead of you, and what is a priority. By designating what is important and urgent, you gain control of the To Do list. Then you can focus your energy on your priorities.
And if you are often a victim of Sunday-evening or Monday-morning anxiety, use a little time at the end of your work week to set priorities for the upcoming week. Then you can kick-start your workweek feeling less stressed and more organized.
Once your tasks have been prioritized, plug them into your calendar. Whether you use an old-fashioned planner or one online, assign days–even hours–to accomplishing each task so it’s completed on time. It relieves stress to know that even though you’re not working on that annual report today, you have set aside four hours later in the week to complete it on time.
If there’s a large job on your list, break it down into less-intimidating tasks and schedule those. Once you complete the first one, you will gain momentum.
Consider when you’re most energetic and productive–whether early morning or after you’ve put the kids to bed, and schedule your demanding tasks for those times. Save less-demanding chores (such as ironing, answering email) for your low-energy times.
Stay focused on completing one task at a time. Multi-tasking is usually not productive. Close out your email and silence your telephone (including text messages) so they’re not continually interrupting. Set aside time at the end of the day to read/listen to and respond to messages that came in while you were busy with other tasks.
Block off time on your calendar for physical exercise and reading for personal growth, but also schedule fun and relaxation, such as date nights and family outings. Be sure to leave room for spontaneity.
Yes, some things are easier to do yourself, but remember that family members appreciate being involved, and children need to learn responsibilities. A little time spent teaching and overseeing early on will pay off later for you and for them.
If some tasks are particularly burdensome and time-consuming, consider paying someone to do them, such as lawn care or housecleaning.
Additional time-saving tidbits:
- Arrange items on your grocery list by store areas: produce, bakery, meat, dairy, etc.
- Buy a box of assorted greeting cards that will last a year.
- Sign up for automatic bill paying when possible.
- In addition to phone numbers, keep your contacts’ email and mailing addresses in your phone.
- Respond to mailed invitations and add the commitments to your calendar immediately upon reading them.
- Each night get backpacks and briefcases ready for the next day and set them by the door, along with car keys, coats and anything else that often requires search time in the morning rush.