Between work, family, friends, and the plethora of digital distractions, finding time to accomplish all they day’s tasks can seem nearly impossible at times. Clean the house, mow the lawn, go to work, pick the kids up from practice…don’t forget the laundry. Not to mention finding time to exercise and plan healthy meals. The list goes on.
The good news is that there are a number of tips and suggestions for improving time management. When we don’t feel overburdened by all our tasks, then we are free to better enjoy our day. We experience lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety, while also maintaining better sleep habits. We are also better able to enjoy our time with friends and family.
Although it can be hard to stray from well-established habits, there are certain techniques that you can practice. Having an organizational system in place will likely help you to be more organized, and therefore, more relaxed.
Set aside 15 minutes
Getting started is often the most difficult part of a new task. Devote 15 minutes each day to organizing. This could mean anything from throwing out old food from the refrigerator, to organizing a closet. Remember, it is not how much time we have, but the way we use it.
Learn how to Say No
Time management is the act of gaining a bit of control over events. Do not say yes to too many things. This causes us to live the priorities of others, rather than your own. Every time you agree to do something extra, something else will not get done.
Often a person's anxiety about a task leads them to avoid it. Therefore, to accomplish more, it is best to tackle the most difficult or worrisome task first. By tackling the most worrisome task early on, you will likely reduce the anxiety associated with this task, and find that work becomes easier. When the unpleasant task is finished, it no longer creates anxiety and worry, which can save time.
Set SMART Goals
Focus on one SMART goal rather than several non-specific goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, and Time Specific. By setting your goals according to the SMART method, you are more likely to accomplish them. For more on SMART goals, check out our blog.
Get Organized. Stay Organized.
In order to minimize time spent looking for misplaced items, it is important to stay organized. Start by arranging your work/home space in a way that promotes organization. Have a place for everything, and put everything in its place. Another helpful tool in staying organized is using a calendar. A well-organized calendar can help you track important tasks and remember important dates and deadlines. For a calendar to be effective for time management, however, you must be sure to note important dates. A good rule of thumb is to only schedule 70% of your day. The other 30% will likely be filled with interruptions and emergencies.
Remember, different approaches work for different people. The goal is to help yourself become aware of how you use your time so that you are using it most efficiently. Ideally, this will help you to feel less stressed by helping you accomplish your goals in a timely manner. Efficient time management will also help you free up more time to spend doing the things you truly enjoy, like spending time with family and friends.