Time management and productivity are something that everyone has struggled with at some point or another. I have struggled with it as well but I have a pretty good handle on it most days. (except today!)
Time is interesting because its something that can go by incredibly slow, like when I was pregnant and anxious to have my babies or the 6 months leading up to my vacation, etc. It can also speed by though like it did for the 5 days I was ON my vacation or the way it does for the 4 hours my oldest is in school and I’m trying to hurry and get 6 hours worth of work done before I have to go pick him up. For me, it is flying by more often than it is going slow, but that’s probably the norm for most parents.
I’m going to share with you a few things I do to help better manage my time and hopefully help you to get a better handle on your time as well so that you can be productive and fit more enjoyable things into your day!
time management is something most people have to learn…
You have to learn it and then practice it to perfect it. Don’t get discouraged if this doesn’t work out perfectly for you on the first day because you have to get into the groove of it to really see the results. So first thing and most important thing (to me) is:
- PLAN THINGS: You HAVE to plan stuff. I am a planning junkie, I have a plan for everything. When I met my husband twelve and a half years ago, he never planned anything (he plans A LITTLE now). They say opposites attract (I believe that now). I must admit, his spontaneity was fun, but it drove me bonkers that he never had a plan. You don’t have to be a planning addict like myself, but some form of a daily or weekly plan is helpful when it comes to effectively managing your time. Whether it’s on your phone calendar or in a physical planner, something you can refer to is helpful. Sometimes I think I’m falling into something I refer to as digital dementia (over-dependency of a digital device, ie: my phone calendar) because I put everything in there, but I also have a physical planner that I use occasionally too.
- MAKE YOURSELF A LIST: My husband used to give me a hard time about this because I make a list of everything. It really helps lighten the load on my brain (and who doesn’t want that). Technology has made it so easy to make a list and quickly jot something down. Whether it’s on paper or on a phone, it helps to not have to store it all.
make life easier for yourself, you deserve that…
- STREAMLINE PROCESSES: If you are one of those people that goes to the store a couple times a week for a few items, stop that now! Try making a list of everything you need for the next 7 days and use a service like HEB’s curbside to you or Shipt. Maybe you are an Amazon person? Try Amazon Pantry and boom, you’ve saved yourself a minimum of 2 hours right there. Unless you are like me and enjoy the quiet time at the grocery store, this can be a real time saver.
- THE 5 MINUTE RULE: I have a rule (a personal rule in my head, that is) that if it can be done in 5 minutes or less, do it right away. Rinsing the dishes and loading them in the dishwasher takes less than 5 minutes if you do it right away. Or it can take 5-10 if you wait and then have to soak and scrub the food off later. This is a rule that men (ahem, my sweet husband Marcus) have a hard time with, either way, it’s helpful.
- TIME BLOCK: Set aside certain time periods to do things. Its important to me to workout at least 4 times a week, but that doesn’t always happen. It’s more likely to happen when I stick to my daily plan and get the kids to bed before 8:45. Then I can be ready to hit the gym by 9. The time block I have set aside for working out is 9-10:30. If I get behind in my kids’ bedtime routine and it’s already 9:30/9:45 before I can start working out, it’s not going to happen. Reason being, it’s gonna snowball into being behind for EVERYTHING after that and result in me getting to bed even later.
Multitasking. I tend to situationally multitask. I multitask about 80% of the time, but sometimes (depending on what I’m doing) it pays to give my full attention to that one thing. It results in me getting it done quicker and ultimately saves me time. I listen to a couple of podcasts and they all say DON’T MULTITASK because it takes more time for you to refocus on all the things you are doing but I just haven’t been able to convince myself of that.
So there you have it, those are just a few of the things that work for me. They may or may not work for you. Try it out and see if you don’t have a little more time in the day to relax or read a book or take a walk, whatever it may be.