Managing Time in Five Easy Steps

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Are you always feeling rushed, late for appointments, unprepared and stressed?   I frequently hear people say “there’s so little time” and “I have too much to do”.  Let’s try to look at time in a different way and change a few behaviors so we can manage time and feel more in control of our lives.  When you think about it, we can’t have “so little time” when time has always been measured like it is today.  It’s really all about how we think about that time that matters.  Let’s use this as a great example of looking at a problem a different way in order to solve it.  Here are a few tips you can use to be more productive and less stressed while living within a finite amount of time.

Rule Number 1Don’t overcommit.  Saying “No” is not a terrible thing. In fact, setting boundaries for yourself is healthy and people will respect you more for doing so.  If you feel uncomfortable with this answer then you can add “For personal reasons I can’t help out right now”.  I have observed that a lot of people say “yes” to volunteer activities because they feel they can’t organize their households as well as they would like to so they prefer not to be home too much.   If you’re of this mindset please know that you can learn organizing skills and apply them very successfully.

Rule Number 2Write down everything you need to do the next day on a sticky note or use your notes app on your phoneInclude on your list making phone calls and sending texts or emails so you don’t forget to make or confirm appointments.  Group your errands in order to save transportation time.  Attach the sticky note to the car dashboard or put in your wallet if you’re taking public transportation.  This tip works great because I do it myself.  If you don’t have the time to make a grocery list, take photos of the inside of your refrigerator and  photograph your spice rack and food pantry so you don’t duplicate items or forget a needed item.  Put technology to work for YOU.

Rule Number 3 Prepare your projects for the next day.  An organized tomorrow really does start today.  After dinner, access your calendar and actually prepare the all the things you’ll need in advance, including making lunches or defrosting tomorrow night’s dinner in the fridge.  For instance, I want to deliver two gifts to friends tomorrow so tonight I will wrap those gifts, write out the cards and find the right container to transport those items in.  Then I’ll put these things on the table near the door so they’re ready to go.  Putting them near the door provides a visual clue so I won’t forget them.  If you don’t have a table near the door, then actually put those things in the car.  Things like library books and dry cleaning will be half way to where they’re going once you put them in the car.  Lunches packed the day before will be a big help to you in the morning, and you’ll possibly make healthier choices.  Get store returns and receipts together and put those in the car, too.

Rule Number 4Put Your Rooms to BedBefore bedtime, do a visual sweep of your rooms, plump your sofa pillows, relocate any items to their proper homes and feel satisfied that you have put your home in order for the night.  Now you can relax and have some “me” time or just sleep peacefully.

Rule Number 5Teach your children to do more for themselves.  Encourage them to make their own lunches, select their outfits, shower or bathe at night and have their backpacks and sports gear ready for school or camp at the door.  It helps them think and act more responsibly and takes the burden off you to manage things that they can do themselves.  Encourage them to make their beds every morning to develop an organized mindset.  With a little help from you, children as young as four years old can make their own beds.  Encourage them to carry their dishes to the sink, rinse and stack the dishwasher.  Don’t forget to praise and encourage them, too.