Time is Precious
Are you one of those people who are always rushing around trying to get from A to B? Do you struggle to find enough hours in the day to accomplish your tasks? It can be hard, especially juggling a career and family life, as well as a social life and hobbies, to fit everything and indeed time for everyone into the day.
So what can you do about it? Well, there is a way to reduce your stress levels and find a better balance and that is through learning to improve your time management skills. If you can achieve this, then it could lead to you becoming a happier and more content person, so what’s not to like! Let’s get started on these 6 top tips for how you can go about making a time management adjustment in your life today.
1. Time Journal
You may be fed up with people saying ‘write this down’ and ‘keep a diary’, and if you did write everything down that people suggested, you would not have time to actually live and get on with things! So definitely keep doing this tip to a minimum. But if you possess the will power then this exercise is only short and it can really pay off in the long run.
So first things first, write down a brief list of the things you are spending time on in one day. This may include things such as eating, drinking, socializing, working, watching television, sleeping and so on. Try to be as specific as you can with regards to the duration you are spending on each of these activities, just to the nearest half an hour. If you are unsure, then a rough guess of the time spent on that activity will still be useful.
Now when you have done this, take a long, hard look at that list. Is there anything that stands out to you as excessive? For example, could you cut down on your television watching? Or in contrast to this, are you spending too short a time eating meals or socializing?
If you are unsure of how to judge your list, then ask a family member or friend to take a look at it for you. It would be even more helpful if you can make a weekly time diary just for one week, as you can obviously get a more accurate idea of your time distribution that way.
To record your time journal, it does not matter if it’s on a scrap of paper (which you will hopefully remember the location of each time), or a table in a word document, whatever method works best for you. The main purpose of this exercise is to get you thinking in depth about your time management, so that you can then act to improve it in the long run.
2. To Do List
Set a to-do list into your phone, computer at home or at work, iPad or any other technology you may use day to day. This way, you don’t always have to remember everything and the technology will remind you, freeing up your time to think about more important things.
In addition, use technology to help set reminders for you from birthdays in a calendar to reminding you about attending a doctor’s appointment. This is a very simple way to become extra organized and to improve your efficiency no end.
The key to successful multi-tasking is in prioritizing your tasks to the best of your abilities. You need to try to block distractions out through focusing in on the job at hand.
If it is possible, then in your work place or even at home, delegating specific jobs will not only decrease the pressure that is upon you, it will also help act to put your mind at rest and to stop you worrying as much. Your mind will then hopefully be able to settle down to focus in on what you have to achieve and not on what you have not achieved yet.
Getting better at multi-tasking comes with time, practice and patience! Even if you start by juggling just two tasks occasionally such as cooking and doing some washing then you will feel more productive. Too much multi-tasking is obviously detrimental however because the last thing you want to do is promote a more stressful existence. So as I say, start small with your challenges and observe and judge how you feel you are coping, and expand from there.
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4. Learn to Say ‘No’
Look at this picture of a beautiful sandy beach with crystal clear waters and a blue sky above for a few seconds. Do you feel calm and happy looking at it? Has your breathing slowed and your spirits lifted? You are probably thinking of holidays right now! But just think what some more ‘me’ time could do for you.
Saying ‘no’ to others is a common and frequently discussed issue. Whether it is pressure from work, home or even socially, we all don’t say ‘no’ enough because we are scared of the consequences to others, without thinking about the consequences for ourselves.
How many of you are putting the needs of others before your own needs and desires? Maybe it’s your husband or wife, your children or co-workers? You will only be able to help everyone else in your life when you can first help yourself. Saying ‘no’ will help you to become a stronger person because you can feel more empowered and in control of your life.
So stop and take stock, give yourself time to relax, unwind and escape from daily life. In doing so, you can return to your loved ones with a greater sense of happiness and a more content perspective with life in general. So switch off that phone, have a relaxing bath or book that holiday you have been thinking about going on for ages, and live in the moment a little more than you are doing now and you will reap the rewards by gaining far more perspective. You can get far more out of life by thinking in this manner.
5. Tidy, Clean and Organize Your Space
A tidy house is a tidy mind, and clutter is the bane of many people’s existence, so don’t let it control yours! Start with one room at a time or even one desk draw at a time because it is by small steps that you can conquer anything.
You will still gain a sense of accomplishment through doing this, and it will be enough to spur you on for the next organizational task! Write down your organizational goals for the day and mark them off once you achieve them, allowing yourself a sense of validation for completing such tasks. Doing this will help to motivate you to achieve even more the next time you tidy up.
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6. Get an Alarm Clock
How many of us use our phones as alarm clocks each day? Instead, why not try visibly placing an alarm clock on your desk or bedside table. This way, when you check the time, you won’t also be tempted to check your messages or emails which will only delay your sleep! Try as best you can to separate your sleep from other activities and you will be able to unwind more.
Another tip would be to track the time you are spending on various tasks. For example, use a kitchen cooking egg timer to monitor the amount of time it takes you to write a letter, cook an evening meal or watch the television.
Through doing this, you will become increasingly aware of the time you are spending on each individual task as we are creating a ‘time pressured construct’ and are essentially manufacturing a sense of ‘time pressure’. This will help increase your ability to concentrate and focus in on a task because you will become more aware of time deadlines.
We all have it within ourselves to improve our time management skills; we just need to tap into better understanding how we are spending our time on a daily basis. Time is precious so make the most of it.
Below are some more helpful tips on time management from the You Tube channel ‘watch well cast’.