by Janet M. Taylor
The kids, the homework, the meetings, the overtime and the weekend activities all the things taking up space on your schedule. Just recently I was having a conversation with a client who had a long day at work feeling exhausted and unfortunately had a late meeting to attend.
I asked her what she uses to keep track of her schedule and she stated that she does use her phone but has not given up the paper planner. I told her to continue using what keeps her on top of things that need to be done. I then shared with her that I make it a priority to schedule at least one appointment weekly for just “me”. The “me” time I schedule can consist of spending time with friends, pamper time, staying home and watching movies or any activity that allows me to relax, have fun and get rejuvenated. I still remember what it was like when my focus 100% of the time was my business. I was always tired, had no social life and was really unhappy. Now I can say that I am living life to the fullest and it was learning how to manage my time to manage my life that has helped me live a full, happy and balanced life and here are a few techniques to help you do the same.
The first step in establishing a life management system for yourself is to have an awareness of the importance of time and its influence on your personal and professional life. Begin by exploring your use of time. Once you become aware of the ways in which you use and waste time (make several trips to buy food instead of establishing a time to shop for the week/month) you can eliminate your less efficient uses of time. Remember the more control you have over your time the more efficient you are likely to be.
The next step to managing your time is to keep a log of your activities and the time spent doing those activities for about one to two weeks (exercising 3 hours, commuting 10 hours, meetings 8 hours). Once you have done that rate each activity by measuring it on a scale from vital/important (exercise) to a waste of time (meetings).
Next think of more efficient ways to maximize your time. For example since we have to attend meetings which can be a big time waster I have learned to request an agenda and ask the meeting organizer approximately how long they think the meeting will last. I also ask if having a meeting via conference call is an option which is a more cost effective option for those who have to travel.
The last and most important thing I want to leave you with is to make sure you plan your daily activities to accomplish the things that truly matter to you. If living a healthier lifestyle is key then incorporate exercise (walking, running, etc ) into your daily schedule. If saving money is a goal then make sure you plan time to shop and prepare meals. If building better relationships is a goal then ensure your schedule has time for family and friends.
Following are a few tips that have helped me better manage my time and my life. I hope they do the same for you.
Managing time at the office:
• Screen phone calls so that you can stay focused on important tasks.
• When leaving messages try to give as much detail as possible and the best time for them to return your call.
• Set limits on meetings and make sure everyone present is aware of them.
• Develop and distribute an agenda with firm time limits for each subject to be discussed
• List an estimated start and finish time for activities and projects.
Managing Time For Life:
• Plan today and tomorrow and put it in writing.
• Remember to list each step necessary to achieve your goal.
• Plan your daily activities to accomplish the things that truly matter to you and list them in order of priority.
• Make time for important as well as urgent items
• Make at least one screened time appointment with yourself ( schedule lunch with a friend)
• Write down several key goals, activities, project for the week (purchase birthday cards for the month)
• Remember you can accomplish something in 5-10 minutes (toss the junk mail)
Helpful Tips: Getting out the house on time:
• Lay your clothes out the night before
• Pack your purse, tote, briefcase the night before
• Establish a place for keys
• Set the breakfast table the night before
Janet M. Taylor is a professional organizer, speaker, podcast host and author with over 20 years of experience helping companies organize office, files and workspaces. If you are ready to get your office totally organized visit her website at www.totallyorganized.biz