Time…Slips through my Hands
If at times you feel like a hamster on a treadmill always on the go but nothing to show for it. Your time feels like a perpetual cycle of events to you. Nothing exciting ever takes place and there is not enough personal time for you! Chances are, you probably need help organizing your time to prevent time from slipping through your hands.
- Time Management: Before implementing any plan of action, start by keeping track of a Time Activity Log for a week. Keep track of every hour of the day and what you are attending to during that time. You can either use a spreadsheet for doing this or download a free App such as Toggl. Keep track of how much TV you watch, how much driving you do, how long you work on your IPad etc. Log these daily summaries into a Time Activity Summary. By the end of the week, you will be able to see a pattern emerging that will give you an idea of where your time is predominantly wasted or perhaps an area in your life that maybe requires more time. If you choose to use the Toggl App, be aware of the changes in your schedule. On one particular occasion, I forgot to switch off an activity and to resume another and my Time Summary indicated that I had showered for close to three hours.
- Make Lists and Prioritize: Now that you are aware of your wasted time, you need to make daily lists and rate the activities within those lists. Try and determine which of the tasks on your list flow together well, this will also prevent you from fluttering around like a butterfly from one random activity to another. Check each task off as you complete it. You will begin to feel a sense of relief as you draw near to the end of your list and closer towards reaching your daily goal.
- Stay Focused on the Task at Hand: If you watch a TV show like Master Chef, where they motor through an appointed task 100% focused and are able to produce a masterpiece within a short time frame. They don’t stop to check their face book or to twitter. Shut out the outside world. Check caller ID and answer only the important calls, the rest can go straight to voicemail.
- Learn to say NO: Unfortunately whether you are in an office at work, running a small business or a stay at home mom. There will always be people wanting to take advantage of your skills or your time. If you are always the “go to” mom for babysitting; or the one relieving a sick staff member; or even find people wanting you to do things for free, then you need to learn to say NO at times. Your time is valuable and people taking advantage of that concept are not being considerate to you and you are not doing them a favor. They are using and abusing you if it is a regular occurrence.
- Establish a Functional System: If your system is not working well for you then you need to try tackling things in a different way. Sometimes it is easier to start again, than fix a broken system. Once you use this system for a while, then it will become habitual within time.
- Create a Family Control System: Keep your keys hung up on a key hook in this area. You will save a lot of time that ordinarily would be used for hunting down keys in the morning before work; Also make sure to have a message board; pin board and calendars in this area. This will help keep your schedule from any conflicts and keep you engaged with ongoing family activities. Always leave earlier than your estimated time of arrival for an appointment as you need to always consider traffic jams, getting lost; making all the red lights.
- Take Care of Yourself: Get up and move around and take small breaks; you need to make sure that you eat and sleep well; remember to treat yourself to some relaxing pleasurable moments as a reward after a long day. For me, it is taking a dip in the pool.
- Organizing in Advance: Plan your meals for the entire week in advance and big shopping trips instead of multiple small trips. Another way to get a head start in the day is if you have made all the children’s lunches in advance and all back packs packed the night before.
- Nip Small Jobs in the Bud: Pick up after yourself and your family (if necessary) as you enter and exit a room. Don’t leave it and allow the clutter to grow and become a time-consuming job.
- Treat yourself Fairly: Everyone is fallible and if you slip up or don’t meet a goal, give yourself a break. Delegate where you can allowing yourself to relinquish control over to another party.
Once you become accustomed to following these 10 easy steps hopefully your mind will adjust from ‘Time Slipping through your Hands’ to rather capturing ‘Time in a Bottle.’