Need I say it South Floridians? School starts for most of us in a mere 6 days. Others have a few more weeks, but we as moms should still get prepped for the hustle + bustle of changing schedules, packed lunches, and after school activities that are about to begin again. Let's clasp hands, ladies. It's time.
Have you ever wished for a few more hours in the day? Why is it that some people seem to get everything done effortlessly and others feel that time slips away without them realizing? The secret to managing your time well isn’t working more hours. It is about prioritizing the important things and learning to use the time you have more efficiently. The secret is working smarter, not harder. I use to work a 8-10 hour day with a two-hour commute into Manhattan. I remember running around the city, scarfing down lunch at my desk, and STILL barely getting my design projects done in time.
Some of us, by nature, organize and get tasks out of the way before we relax, while others tend to play first and work later. It is important to first recognize which type you are and whether your style is allowing you to have the life you really want. Maybe you are super-organized at work, but burned out because you don’t know how to make time for yourself. (That was the old me!) Maybe you are naturally a less organized person who knows how to relax, but you are dissatisfied because you aren’t fulfilling your goals. (This new me popped up this summer! #truthtime)
Time management is an area of your life that you can strengthen.
Here are some steps to help get you started:
• Allocate time for planning and organizing.
• Create to-do lists that are realistic, not intimidating. Use only one to-do list.
• Under-schedule your time: Leave time for interruptions.
• Eliminate trivial tasks.
• Prioritize what is most important and do that first.
• Consider your biological prime time: At what time of day do you work best? Plan to do your most important work at that time.
• If you tend to say yes to everything that comes your way, learn to say no. A great book that helped me with this habit is "The Best Yes" by Lysa Terkeurst.
• Ask for help! This is a tough one for me personally, but I’m working on it.
• In the evening make your to-do list for the next day, so it will be out of your brain and on a piece of paper. Makes for better sleep!
• Leave work with a clear head and a clean desk.
• Acknowledge yourself daily for all that you have accomplished.
Take a look at the two biggest obstacles to using time effectively: procrastinating and lacking purpose. Either sound familiar? We usually procrastinate when a task seems too large or complex. When you get that feeling, try “chunking”: break the large task into smaller, manageable action steps and start with the first one.
We also often drag our heels or use our time inefficiently because we are bored and uninspired. The most effective people will tell you that they love what they do and are aligned with a greater purpose. When it comes to managing your time, you may need to ask the larger questions, “Am I doing what I love to do? Am I doing something meaningful to me?” These were 2 BIGGIES for me the last 6 months!
As you strengthen your time management skills, keep your focus on getting organized so that you can live the life you truly want. Instead of being a chore, good time management can be your ticket to more fun! Take it one day at a time. I’ve learned recently (with 2 young kids home from school) that some days things just do not get done. At the end of the day if everything isn’t checked off your list, forgive yourself. Move the task to the next day and then relax!
Sources and Additional Reading:
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, 2012