If you’ve checked out our earlier post, Time Management 101, you are ready to move to the next level. Here are six strategies you can ace so you can find more time to do the things you want to do.
Strategy #1: Create a To-Do List for Each Major Area in Your Life
At the beginning of the week create short to-do lists for the four main areas of your life:
- personal self
- the people in your life
- home management
- business projects
To help you avoid long lists write about what you want to do in a journal when you think of them. Then at the beginning of the week you can enjoy reading about the creative ideas you thought of and planning them out for the upcoming week or further out in the month or year. Keeping this list is great for when you need direction or a boost of motivation to keep on track with personal and professional goals.
Strategy #2: Make Each To-Do List Extremely Specific
The more specific you describe the task the more likely that you will complete it. For instance, under home management instead of writing “laundry” write “wash, dry, and fold <kids name> laundry”. This helps estimate how much time it’ll take to do the task. It is so much more satisfying to cross things off the list when it encompasses all that you actually did.
Strategy #3: Know Your Time Wasters
Some of the biggest time wasters are checking email, and/or any social media platform you are on.
So schedule a time when you'll check these items and stick to that schedule. This way you can satisfy the urge to see what is going on with friends, family, and co-workers when the time is right.
To help you break the habit of abusing time wasters train yourself to recognize that you are procrastinating.
When you recognize that you're wasting time ask yourself a big question, "What am I trying to avoid and why?" If you can't answer the question, that's OK. You're aware that you were procrastinating, will get back on track and the answer will come to you later on.
Strategy #4: Follow Your Personal Energy Cycle
There’s a time and place for everything, right? Start to take notice when you are most productive and when you're not. Is there a certain day of the week you tend to get the most quality work done? What time is it when you get a feeling like you could tackle any project that comes your way? These certain times are when your personal energy is at it's peak and it'a an opportune time to get work done. If it's possible, schedule hard to tackle assignments during these peak periods.
Strategy #5: Set Personal and Professional Goals
Goal setting gives you a sense of direction. You'll be more inclined to say no to others when you have goals set. Time can be wasted fulfilling other’s people to-do lists. It’s easy to say no to someone when you know you have important things that you want to accomplish. It also helps to have goals so that when self-negative talk starts you avoid wasting time listening to it and instead move on to getting things done.
Strategy #6: Set a Timer
Once you start working according to your personal energy cycle set a timer before you begin your work. For example, let's say you are most productive at 4 A.M. Your children won't wake up until 6 A.M. so you'll have two solid hours of work. To help you stay on track set a timer.
This works particularly well if you set it on your phone because if you go to use your phone to procrastinate you'll see the timer running on it! When you set a timer you are less likely to indulge in the time wasters you’ve discovered in strategy #3 and more likely to finish what you’ve set out to do.
To effectively manage your time you have to take your energy into consideration. When you run out of energy it doesn’t matter what strategies you’ve followed. So be sure to find time to rest your mind and body so that you can be the best working mom you can be.