By: Bridget C Lewis ©2011
For many of us, this time of year represents renewal. In many ways it’s like coming out of hibernation to prepare for the buzzing spring and summer seasons and all the activities these seasons represent. This is an indication that there will be significant withdrawals from our time bank accounts. We are constantly balancing personal and professional activities. Most of us spend most of our time at work. With the change in season, we have to find a way to fit everything in, and sometimes that can be overwhelming. How are you managing your time and your schedule? There’s so much to do and not enough time to get it all done.
No matter what role you play, be it on the job or even at home, below you will find some basic tips for maximizing the 24 hours you have in each day. You will learn how to get all your activities done and still manage to carve out some time to spend on YOU!
There are many experts on the subject of time management. Each has his own view of how to take on the challenge. The April 2010 issue of Performance Power! Newsletter featured expert Brian Tracy who encourages people to set and prioritize goals. He speaks of categorizing them into personal and family goals, business and career goals, and self-development goals. All three areas are critical to your success and sense of accomplishment. If one area suffers, there will be a trickle-down effect in the other two areas.
The trick is to balance all your goals to make sure that personal, business and intellectual needs are in harmony. Below are 8 simple tips that I use. See if there is a place for any of these tips in your own situation.
- Schedule your 24-hr day to begin at the time you wake up. Setting a start time that you have total control over will give you an advantage. You’ll wake up knowing you still have a full 24-hrs to go until your next day begins. This helps you to better maximize your day.
- Use the ‘pay-yourself-first’ principle when it comes to your time. Your first time block of the day should be used to do something purely selfish. Pick your favorite activity: be it having your morning tea or coffee, reading the newspaper, taking a morning stroll or meditating, whatever you like, schedule the time to do it and stick to it! You are worth every second.
- Use a single calendar program to schedule and manage your activities and commitments. By scheduling everything on the same calendar you will quickly see areas where you’ll potentially be overbooked so you can quickly make any necessary adjustments.
- Be realistic about how much time it actually takes to complete a specific task. If it really takes 2-hrs to do it, schedule 2-hrs since 30-mins will not be enough!
- Be O.K. with “putting off for tomorrow what you CAN’T do today.” Yes, that’s a twist on the old adage. Look. You are not super-human! No matter how hard you try, you will NOT be able to fit it all in one day! Set yourself up for success and let some things wait!
- Schedule your calendar for a minimum of 2-days at a time. If you can do more, that’s great. However, I recommend no more than 5-days at a time, as too many days can become overwhelming. Having at least 2-days scheduled gives you some flexibility where you can shift some activities around based on their priority levels.
- “No” is a good word. Learn to use it! People will respect you if you are honest and let them know of a pending inconvenience or conflict ahead of time. Of course, if you need to say no, you also should offer an alternative. This is a great way to manage expectations. The key is, it’s your time and you are in control!
- Schedule time to sleep. You will be better off for it. Personally, I recommend at least 6-hrs. I know some people can get by on 4-hrs, but this should be the absolute minimum. Your body will thank you, not to mention the people in your life! Set a time when you cut off all activity so that you can get to bed on time. Your sleep hours are the last few of your allotted daily 24 hrs. Use them wisely. You’ll be happy when you awake ready to face the next 24-hr time block.