Many of us have very busy lives. Between work, kids, spouses, friends, families and just the normal day in and day out responsibilities life can get pretty crazy. There are a few things you can do to make it easier. Managing your time can help save you time, money and stress. I have put together some of my favorite techniques for time management. No all of them will work for everyone, but even just incorporating one into your daily routine will help.
Plan out your days
This seems easy enough, but most people do not take the time to sit down and plan out their day. Every morning, sit down and make a list of what has to be done that day, starting with the most important jobs first. This should only take about five minutes. That way as you go throughout your day you can cross things off your list. If you start at the top of your list and cross off the most important jobs then that way even if you do not finish your list your high priority items are done.
Keep a monthly calendar
A calendar should be in plain sight so everyone can see what is going on for that particular month. Many times, we overbook ourselves simply because we do not have our schedules written out. By keeping a monthly calendar, you can see at a glance what needs to be done. This will also help with your daily to-do list. You can coordinate your lists so that nothing gets left out.
Organize your life
Try to schedule out your time for everything. Write down the chores you do around the house and divide them up over a week. Then assign specific jobs to specific days. That way you will not feel like you are doing nothing but cleaning all week. Of course there are daily jobs that need to be kept up with, but weekly jobs could include: changing the sheets on the beds, cleaning the bathrooms, laundry, ironing, dusting, cleaning windows, bathing the family pet, paying bills, and going grocery shopping. If you know each week when these chores will get done, you will not end up stressed out at the end of the week with nothing accomplished. Make sure that you do not make your schedule so tight that you do not leave any time for yourself. This is very important. Taking time for your self can reduce your stress levels. Which leads me to the next point.
Take a time-out
Remember that most of the chores we have to do on a daily basis are not so important that the world will end if they are not taken care of. Making sure you have time for yourself will not only make you feel better but will also increase your productivity. Whether it’s is reading a book, exercising, watching television, or just resting, taking some time for you is very beneficial. Most people live very fast paced lives and the stress can be tremendous, especially if you have young children. When you get to the point where you are so stressed and worn out you tend to lose focus on the most mundane tasks. It can also lead to irritability and depression. Many people do not think they have time for themselves on a daily basis. This does not need to be an hour long exercise, in fact, it really only needs to be about 1 minute a few times throughout the day. I do not have that much time in between my activities during the day, so every few hours I will stop what I am doing close my eyes and take about three very deep breaths. This has been shown to reduce stress and help you to refocus. Even though it is just a few seconds, it helps me to calm down, refocus and continue on with my day.
When you make a grocery list you should always have your meals thought out for the next week. That way you can make sure you have all the ingredients you need and do not have to make unnecessary trips to the grocery store. This helps save time and money. Another good idea is when you make your monthly calendar, to make days to cook meals. Then you can freeze your meals and have them ready whenever you need them. This can make dinner time much less stressful. You are also saving time for other things you need to do during the week and your family is getting wholesome home cooked meals instead of picking up fast food because you are too tired or don’t know what to make for dinner.
Do not try to take everything on yourself. If you are anything like me, a lot of you think that if you want something done right you need to do it yourself. Well, sometimes this may be true, but others times just because it is not done our way does not mean it is done the wrong way. Try to start letting other people in your household take responsibility for things. If it is something extremely important then that can be on your list for the week, but other normal household chores can be split up. Letting your family help you with the weekly chores will not only take some stress off you, but it can also be great bonding time with your family. You and your spouse can cook dinner together, or you can teach your children how to cook. You can fold laundry and watch a favorite television show together. But at the end of the day, more will get accomplished and you will feel more productive and relaxed.
The most important lesson in time management is to remember to be flexible. Things are not always going to go as planned but if you learn how to embrace this instead of dread it you will be much happier in the long run. Life is a journey that we only get to take one time. So what if the house is not always spotless? So what if the dishes aren’t done? It will not be the end of the world. When things come up that are beyond our control the better we learn how to deal with them the better we will be. There will always be things that happen that we are not expecting, but remember to take a deep breath, think clearly and make the best possible decision for you.