How often do you wonder if there will ever be enough time in the day to complete your to-do list? If you find yourself running in circles most of the day, feeling incomplete and exhausted at the days end, then a simple tweaking of your time management will be worth the effort. If done correctly, you may even feel you now have more time.
Reality: There are enough hours in a day. Problem: How we use and perceive them.
Whether you work in the house, out of the house, or even if your job is to run the house, you know all about overload. If you are a stay at-home parent, once the morning rush of getting the children off to school is complete, the busy part of your day really begins. With laundry to do, errands to run, bills to pay, and volunteering at the school, there is barely time to finish the list, let alone have some time for you. If you head to the office each day, you find yourself in the same challenges, only with an added commute. And if you have a home-office, one more thing gets added as you struggle to find the line that separates work from home.
Regardless of what you struggle with during the day, the key is to manage all aspects tightly enough that you are able to distinguish the start of the day, from the end of the day and that at all times, you feel in control and balanced.
So what can you do create that balance for yourself?
- Look at your calendar with a pen in your hand. Before the week begins, look at your calendar and prioritize what needs to get done. Instead of creating a list of everything, write the list in order of importance.
- Use real time. Actually write in the time, especially for the things you don’t care for doing. Ex: 1pm-3pm cold calls, 10am-11am house chores. When you add it to specific times during the day your brain is more apt to complete them, just as if it were an appointment. You can even add reminders to your phone!
- Be realistic about your time. For instance, if the children get on the bus at 9am and arrive home by 3:30pm, does that mean you want to have every minute accounted for? Add in some extra time for the unexpected and don’t forget to pencil in lunch!
- Me time. Now that you have the pen in hand, when will you fit it in? If you’ve worked outside the house all day, but would love to take an exercise class or hit the basketball courts, commit yourself to which days you will exercise straight from work, and which days you will go straight home. Involve your family or spouse in the plans you make so they can help you stay committed to your goals.
- Volunteer time. Keep in mind that you are volunteering to be helpful, and that you should feel good about it, not resentful. If it takes away from what you need to get done, consider volunteering less frequently; perhaps once a week, or every other week. They will appreciate any time you give and you will be happier to help out.
Most importantly, know that you are human just like everyone else, and even with the best intentions; some things cannot get done in a day. Instead of feeling guilty, look at all the things you did accomplish and move everything else to tomorrow’s calendar.