Time Management and Sticking to Schedules
Easier said than done, right? Really the “secret” to time management may be simpler than you think. Sure, there are tools that can help us to make sure we’re at the right place at the right time, but what it comes down to is you. You make the commitment. If you are the type of person who volunteers (or gets “volunteered”) to do things that stretch you to the limit, then time management is less of a problem than learning how to say no.
That said, here are a few tips to help you organize and schedule the commitments that you do have.
- Schedule ‘Must-Do’s’ first. The first thing I always have on my calendar is work. Sure, it’s the same time every day from 7am-3pm, but I think seeing that chunk of time taken away puts the rest of my day into perspective. Your 9-5 job may seem like a no-brainer (it’s not like you’d forget to go one day), but it is probably your biggest time commitment.
- Exercise is a commitment. Falling under the ‘Must-Do’ category is exercise. I need it regularly during the week, and if I don’t purposely carve out time for it, it can be easy to skip it sometimes. On Sundays, I’ll look at my calendar and schedule runs, yoga classes, etc. based on my availability.
- Calendars are for fun stuff too. It can be really motivating during the week to know that on particular days/evenings you have a fun event. Seeing this on the calendar can help you push through the more tedious tasks. For example, I usually schedule “Pizza and Movie Date” for Friday nights. It’s really just pizza at home and some Netflix on Fridays after work with husbo, but I love it and I like to look forward to it at the end of the week.
- Leave free time, and if you have difficulty doing this, schedule it. I like to leave a little free time in the evenings after dinner if possible, and on weekends I strive to make my schedule pretty loose. ‘Free time’ could encompass anything – little tasks at home, reading, running some errands… having a chunk of time in which you don’t feel the need to do anything specific can be really restorative. If you are not the kind of person who deals well with downtime, schedule it. Have a favorite show? Schedule that viewing time as ‘free time.’ It’s a start.
- Be kind to yourself. No one is productive or happy when they are over-scheduled, over-worked, and exhausted. Know who you are. Are you happiest when you have lots of little tasks? Create to-do lists. Are you not really a morning person? Try not to schedule major events at that time. It seems obvious, but without realizing it, many of us (myself included) sometimes forget that we actually need to do the things we commit to.
One tool that really helps me schedule everything is Google Calendar. I love it, and seem to constantly find new ways it can help me stay on top of things. Talk about perfect timing, KathEats just posted a new KERF NERD video on using Google Calendar for time management. Whether GCal is new to you or not, it’s a really informative video. Check it out – it’s great.
A few other great posts on organizing, scheduling, and time management:
- Healthy Tipping Point posted a great entry about time management recently.
- Simple Mom has an excellent entry about tech tools to simplify life at home
- Here’s another Simple Mom post that focuses on managing emails. (Really love this blog – I’m certainly not a mom, but if anyone is an expert in organization it’s a mother.
I’m right on schedule today. With my free time this evening, I’ll be heading out to dinner with husbo. Have a good evening, and check in tomorrow for part IV which focuses on