Why does it seem like there is never enough time in a day? We have way more to-do’s these days than we did 30 years ago and it often leaves us rushing and overscheduled. I am a huge advocate for focusing your energy on being successful, but leaving room for personal time and relaxation makes us better-rounded and happier people. Time management is essential for creating the space to spend time with your family and play in your hobbies. It requires a personal promise to change habits and a commitment to reach new goals. Consider these few simple changes:
1.) Synchronize all your calendars. Instead of managing multiple calendars from work, school, and other activities, combines them into one.
Pick one type of calendar and transfer all the information to it. You can use online calendars through your primary email system, your phone (since they’re attached to us anyway,) and even old fashioned day planners that you can grab at Wal-Mart. Selecting one type is key to staying on track.
Jot down family events, work comittments, appointments and social gatherings. This allows you to easily find gaps for leisure time and add it to the calendar.
2.) Purposely schedule your "me" time. Include time for fun and relaxation on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Including leisure time in the calendar makes it one of your priorities.
Scheduling time off requires a commitment to completing other tasks on time and meeting all deadlines. That you can fully enjoy that time without the nagging feeling that you have other things to get back to.
3.) Be selective with how you spend your energy. The constant stream of emails and demands in your day calls for you to be more selective with what you will have ownership over. This is where delegating comes in handy.
The 80/20 rule is a popular way to manage time. Also known as the Pareto principle, it states that 80% of your success comes from 20% of your efforts. You must focus on the most pressing tasks first and delegate repetitive, more time consuming tasks to others.
Grouping tasks together for a specified time adds more time to your day by creating a cluster of similar work without interruption. For example, checking email, paying bills online, or reading news articles or feeds can be a grouped as computer tasks you complete as part of your morning routine, while housework (laundry, dishes, vacuuming, etc.) can be grouped into a set of duties you set aside for an hour each day.
4.) Find hidden time wasters and remove them. Are you spending too much time checking Facebook messages or feeds? Do you log into Twitter multiple times a day? Social media can be one of the hidden daily time wasters, and changing this habit will lead to more leisure time.
It’s important to limit how much time social media takes up on your calendar. Get rid of the bookmarks to these websites, eliminate the pinned tabs, and set a specified time each day to check for updates.
Hidden time wasters can distract you from important tasks and affect deadlines. By removing them, you’re back in control of your schedule. The most common hidden time wasters are watching tv, shopping without a list, online games/video games, procrastinating, spending too much time thinking about your next steps, what you're and living a disorganized lifestyle where everything you do is on the fly.
5.) Track Your Time. In some cases, we are unaware of how much time we spend on a given activity. Certain tasks need to be timed to ensure you stay on schedule, and to reveal to you where you may need to adjust your schedule to allot enough time to get things done.
A traditional kitchen egg timer or your phone’s timer are easy ways to keep track of tasks; especially housework, reading, or working out.
Online timers can help you monitor and set a strict schedule for your electronic tasks. You can also set a limit on activites that can quickly turn into time wasters.
If I'm reading or in prayer, I use my alarm clock to set the amount of time I want to spend on those activities. When the alarm goes off, I know how much time I've spent. If I keep going, the snooze button will tell me every 10 minutes that have gone past my limit.
6.) Set goals to accomplish in your "me" time and mark them in your calendar. Calendars should be used for more than just tracking meetings or phone calls. They can be powerful tools for tracking goals while providing daily reminders of what you want to accomplish with your spare time.
Setting goals for your personal time will help you focus and reward yourself. Do you want to paint enough artwork to redecorate your entire house? Do you want to spend more time nourishing your relationships with friends and family? Each of these goals can be tracked within a calendar for better time management.
You can find more leisure time by streamlining how you handle your time. Calendars will help you keep track of daily tasks at work and home, but it’s the commitment to creating positive change that really matters.
Remember! You can’t completely control everything that happens in your day. Someone or something will always infringe upon your time so allow yourself room and flexibility for the unexpected things in life.
Give Yourself a break!