07 March 2014
Not Enough Hours in the Day? Tips to Help You Manage Time Better

With work, the house, picking up the kids – sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. You run from the morning alarm until you collapse into bed exhausted, knowing the whole rat race begins again tomorrow.

You probably need to manage time better. It may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but by changing a few habits and getting organized, you may be able to get it all done and still have time to put your feet up before bed.

Here are some tips to do more in less time each day, eliminate that constant stress, and enjoy life more because you’re on time and on target with that chore list.

Put your most productive time to most productive use. If you’re a morning person, get the most difficult chores out of the way at the beginning of the day, even it means setting the alarm for a few minutes earlier.

More of a night owl? Save the tough stuff for later in the day instead of forcing yourself to tackle important projects when you’re not fully awake. You know “your best time of the day.” Put it to best use, and be more productive on the schedule that works best for you.

Just say “no”. You may be over-scheduled because you just can’t say “no”. You run errands for friends and neighbors, get roped into committee assignments, and stay late at work because “someone has to.”

Want to add some time to your day? Just say “no”. “Sorry, I just don’t have time to bake for this year’s bake sale.” “I’m booked on Saturday.” No one can do it all every day. When the to-do list is three pages long, it’s time to give yourself a break and just say “no”.

Do the important tasks first. Even if they’re the tasks you like the least. If the fridge needs restocking, move shopping to the top of your priority list and move something less important down the list.

Keep revising your to-do list to keep the most important tasks at the top of the list, and less important matters at the bottom.

Hang a big calendar on the wall where everyone can see it. Get one of those calendars with the big boxes for each date, and post what needs to be done that day, and who’s going to do it. Get the entire family in the habit of checking the calendar each morning before leaving for school or work to see what each family member is responsible for that day.

At the end of the day, make sure all errands have been completed to prevent them from piling up.

Break big jobs into a series of small jobs. Facing a big job, like painting the kitchen, is one of those things we all tend to put off. Oh sure, the kitchen needs a coat of paint, but it can wait – again.

Instead, take that big job and break it into a series of smaller jobs. Create a list of 10 steps to get the kitchen painted over two weekends. As you complete each small job, cross it off the list and enjoy your progress. Slowly, but surely, that kitchen is getting painted.

And after two weekends, mission accomplished – without excess stress.

Create a clear division of labor. Create chore lists for all members of the family. Daily chores, weekly chores, monthly chores and make sure the family knows their personal to-do list for each day. Teach your children the basics – how to make a bed, fold clothes, empty the dishwasher, handle the recyclables.  Even the little ones can help.  Don’t expect perfection at first.  Remember, it’s a learning process, but it will eventually free up more of your time.

Know when to say when.  It’s important to know your limits – how much time you have, how much patience, how many items on the to-do list that day. Pushing yourself beyond those limits actually cuts down on productivity, and procrastination can increase as you ponder the long, long, long list of things to do.  Give yourself permission to cross some things off the list to free up time and reduce stress.

Managing time isn’t easy, but you can create more time for the things you enjoy – and, maybe even relax a little.

 

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.

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