Managing our time: Where does it all go?
A lot of people have a problem with time management. "There aren't enough hours in the day..." or "Where does my time go?" are phrases I frequently hear. We all have a lot on our plates. We all have a lot on our plates: work, family, and other responsibilities. The first step in implementing more effective time management is figuring out exactly the issues. Is it a lack of time for yourself or your family that is causing you to feel stressed? Maybe you're not sure where all your time goes, and you'd like to keep track of it. Alternatively, you may be overworked and struggling to keep up with everything. Our time is a precious commodity that most of us must make the most of.
Time management begins by assessing our schedules. By writing down a "typical" week for yourself, you'll be able to identify areas where you could use better time management based on your current schedule. Is there something wrong with your schedule that is making you feel dissatisfied? Identify the things you want to improve and the things you want to eliminate. Yes, I want to spend more time on my hobbies. What if you had more time to spend with your kids? Or is it simply having more time?
Take a piece of paper and make three columns after you've finished this. In the first column, make a list of all of your "set in stone" appointments, events, and commitments, such as those that occur on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis at a specific time. Work, club, or doctor's appointments are examples of "standing appointments." "Flexible" responsibilities, such as grocery shopping and house cleaning, can be done around your "set in stone" commitments in the second column. These "occasional" appointments, such as doctor's appointments, school plays, or an old friend's visit, should be listed in the third column of your calendar (or anything that does not fall into the other two columns).
then use a calendar (preferably one with large spaces for the days) or a notebook and label each page with the date of that particular day or a few days (depending on how much you are trying to accomplish daily or weekly.) Once you've finished putting in the items from your three columns, you'll be able to begin arranging them in a logical order based on how important each item is to you.
To get the most out of your time, the goal is to balance your schedule and make the most of it. When you're going to your son's soccer practice, why not stop at the pharmacy? I always try to schedule appointments in the same location on the same day, which reduces my travel time and maximizes my workday productivity.
Most importantly, ask yourself if you're overextending yourself. No matter how well one manages their time, it is possible to become overburdened with obligations. You don't have to spend all of your time organizing your week to get everything done. It's all about figuring out a schedule that works for you and gives you time to do the things that matter most in your life. Look at the things you're trying to juggle before assessing your time management skills.
Add activities you'd like to do but don't have the time for into your schedule. What's the point of better time management if you're only doing it to get more done? It's important to maintain a healthy work-life balance to don't miss out on the fun aspects of life.
Generally, if you can't find a half-hour of quality time with your loved ones, an hour with your significant other, or at least 30 minutes to 45 minutes for yourself, you have too much on your plate and should ask for assistance. You will not benefit from better time management if you are exhausted and worn out.
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