Planning and time management tips
“I must rule the clock, not be governed by it.” ~ Golda Meir
“Time is something that can never be recovered. One can lose and get friends back. One can lose and get money back. Opportunity, once rejected, can reappear. But the hours lost in inactivity can never be recovered. to be used in profit-making activities “~ Winston Churchill
We all have the same amount of time in a day, without conditions or goals. Some people are capable of doing so much in their days, while others seem to stagger and barely finish eating. We all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What we do in those minutes, in those hours determines where our time goes, how our days are spent. Simple? Yes and no. What are others doing with their time that allows them to do so much more? What is the secret? I think it involves planning.
Planning is the best time saver there is. Take your time one day a week and see what awaits you. Are there appointments I need to keep? Are there birthdays, holidays, special activities, games, and / or practices this week? Take notes, mental or written, of the things you have to save for the next week. Also, look forward to things to come. You don’t want to wait until the week before something to take action for special events ahead. If someone’s birthday is coming up with three weeks to go, you can add some preparation for this week’s birthday. Now you can look ahead and schedule those things into your week this week. Even if you just bought some plates, streamers, and candles for the upcoming birthday, you’re a bit more prepared. It also doesn’t cost that much money at one time. By looking ahead and doing simple planning, you are not procrastinating. This is something that people do who seem to be on top of things all the time; they don’t put things off until the last minute and make sure they know what’s coming. They stay ahead of the game.
You can use an elaborate daily planner system, printable calendar pages, a wall calendar, a desk calendar, a pocket calendar, etc. to do your planning. To be honest I just use a very simple system at the moment. All appointments that we must keep are written on a wall calendar. As soon as they are done or as soon as I know them, I write them down on that calendar. I also have a home notebook (also known as a home management notebook, family notebook, and I’m sure of other names) where I do my planning. With 5 kids, my dh’s birthday and our anniversary, plus all the holidays to come, I need a place to keep ideas, suggestions, and plans for what’s to come.
Since I teach at home and stay at home, my days are not filled with outdoor activities or many gatherings. I use a basic daily schedule and try to follow it as closely as I can. I have devotions, exercise, grooming, cleaning, cooking, meal prep, and of course, education on my schedule. We don’t follow this exactly, instantly, every day. It is a guide for our day. You may need something different. What works for me may not exactly work for you and vice versa. A plan is a good idea for everyone, no matter how busy or not we are. If you are a busy person with a lot of meetings, a daily schedule may not work for you. A daily planner of some kind would be a good idea where you can write your meetings and various appointments in pencil. Your weekly planning session would be longer than mine but still very important to both of you. But be flexible with your plan. Remember that you are not a slave to your planner. It is there to serve you. If your time management system does not work, modify it. I know I said a lot in these few paragraphs, but I think they are important if we want to control our time and make the most of it.
25 tips for time management:
1. Keep track of time. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. Write the hours you are awake on the paper. Now, write down what you do during those hours. You can see where your time is going and what you are spending it on. This really helps you keep track of where your time is going. Do this whenever you feel like you can’t keep up with everything.
2. Know what your values are and live them. Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? Where do you want to go in life? Your life can feel miserable and empty if we don’t live a life that flows with our values and priorities.
3. Learn to say no to what is not in your mission or your values. Many of us have the yes syndrome. That’s where we say yes to too many people when we know we should politely say no to them.
4. Do the best you can now. Focus on the moment, or focus on the task at hand (as a former pastor used to say). If you are working, focus on the work, do it. Just like when you are relaxing. Focusing on the moment is a good habit to learn. Have fun now, no matter what you are doing.
5. Forgive yourself for the past, don’t hold on to the mistakes of the past. How often do we waste time over mistakes we made in the past? If you can learn from him, learn and let him go. Not only is it liberating, now you are not wasting time holding on to something you cannot change, you are not wasting time worrying about it.
6. Listen to audiobooks while in the car. One thing I’d like to do is have a CD player in the truck (yeah, it’s a little late) and put out audiobooks for all of us to listen to. For those of you who can, take advantage of that time in the car to listen to books you would like to read or when the kids are in the car, put on a family favorite audiobook, and enjoy some family read-aloud time as you ride the la highway.
7. Use a planner. It can be a cheap homemade one, one bought at Wal * Mart, or an expensive one ordered online. I use one that I made myself. He used a 3 ring binder and printing paper. I’ve made this work for me
8. Prepare sooner than you think you need to. Leave sooner than you think you should. How many of us put those things off until the last possible minute and then are in a rush and stressed because we’re going to be late? The concept is simple and should be relatively easy to implement. It will require you to become aware of what you are doing and why. This will result in less rushing and yelling around the house and less stressful driving.
9. Set the time while you are on the phone to do something. You can clean your bag, organize a drawer, straighten your desk, etc.
10. Make an eating plan and stick with it. Plus, doing things ahead of time will cut down on hectic dinners and outings. You can do something as simple as sear extra ground beef and freeze it to really make OAMC.
11. Create a bedtime routine and stick with it. This is a great savings for the morning rush. If you follow this, you will see a big change in your morning. I have been doing this for years and I love it.
12. Stop procrastinating. Procrastination is a bad habit and it is difficult to get out of it. People who are on top of things, who are not late for appointments, have time to prepare meals for other families, communicate with neighbors, etc., are people who do not procrastinate. Procrastination is a time thief, a joy thief, and it doesn’t let you have peace of mind. Do whatever you’ve been putting off and you’ll feel better when you’ve done it.
13. Reduce the amount of time you spend watching television. The TV is a great zapper. We use a device like a Tivo and also closely monitor what we allow into the house. With the Tivo, we can watch a show we like every time we have time and skip all the commercials.
14. If you need to call someone who really talks, call when you know you could quickly hang up the phone. An example would be at lunchtime and at the end of the day. Also, if you don’t need to speak to them directly, you can always call when they are not at home and leave a message on their answering machine.
15. Use your biological clock. When are you most productive? When are you least productive? Plan the items that require the most energy from you when you have the most energy. And the same with your time of day with less energy. I am less energetic at night so I try not to do much at the time. That means I need to do a lot before then.
16. With your priorities in mind, make a checklist of the things you want to accomplish each day. Take a look at your goals every day and then prioritize your list.
17. Clean your desk at the end of the day. Put everything away and when you go the next day everything will be organized and neatly ordered. Who likes to start the day in the middle of a mess?
18. Keep a calendar on your desk. I have one hanging above my desk, but I have also used a desk calendar. Correct important dates there and appointments. Now you can see what’s coming up at a glance.
19. Don’t leave it, keep it. One of the reasons we have so many stacks of paper is because, well, we stack them. All garbage must go to the garbage immediately. The mail should have a place to go and only store what is needed. Have a designated area for the paper and make sure it gets there.
20. Continually reevaluate your system. If something works, throw it out. If you see someone doing something different, give it a try. Read books on the subject and change what you think will work. Nothing is written in concrete, it can be changed, adapted when necessary.
21. Once a week clean your purse and your organizer.
22. Always put away whatever you are using when you are done. We waste so much time looking for things because we don’t put them away when we’re done with them. Have a place for your keys, wallet, cell phone, etc.
23. Delegate! This is something we should be doing. When a mother does all the household chores, she doesn’t delegate enough. This does not mean that we should not work, but when we collect everyone’s waste, we do everything for each meal, all parts of the laundry tasks, etc. then we are doing too much for ourselves. Two or more people can achieve more than one.
24. Believe in yourself. Most of the time we are our own worst enemy. I know you’ve heard this before, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
25. Let go of perfectionism. Not everything has to be done perfectly and some things are out of your control.
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must.” ~ Charles Burton
“Everything becomes different when we choose to take control instead of being controlled. We experience a new sense of freedom, growth and energy.” Dr. Eric Allenbaugh