I just now found this out through an article, but February is National Time Management month, sponsored by the National Association of Professional Organizers. (I love the sound of that group’s name!) As Judi Gerber wrote in her article, 5 Easy Ways to Manage Your Time, the holidays are over and the New Year is well under way, making February the perfect time to take control of your time and rebalance your life.
If you’re like me, finding balance in all you do is quite a task sometimes!
Ms. Gerber gives 5 practical tips in her article with time management. Here they are, sprinkled with my own thoughts:
- Planning ahead of time. Don’t try to cram too much into your day. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of feeling better about ourselves with the more we accomplish, but God loves us just the way we are. We don’t have to do anything to make Him think higher of us, to earn His approval. Yes, we want to reach our dreams and goals, and accomplish a lot in life, but don’t become performance-based in your mindset to feel like you have value and worth! You are wonderful! Ask God to order your day, helping you to plan it according to His will. Allow spaces of rest and fun in between necessary activities.
- A planner to schedule appointments and tasks, and sticking to it. I use the Franklin Covey Dayplanner and the online tool, Manymoon. My Dayplanner is what my writing coach Cindy Rushton calls “your brain in a binder.” Everything goes in there – the daily and monthly calendars; addresses, emails, and phone numbers; to do lists; important information like driver’s license number, car insurance policy number, and bank account numbers; quotes I love; ideas for articles, books, and other projects. My planner is small (small book size), so that I can carry it easily wherever I go.
- Prioritize by making lists. I use to-do lists daily. I write them on my beloved sticky notes. They help me stay on track each day. It also helps my husband and our daughter Leah when I write down my to-do’s on the dry erase board in our kitchen, so they know what “the plan” is for the day. Brian Tracy also recommends that you “eat that frog” each morning – doing your most difficult task first thing, the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on, and you’ll have more energy and momentum for the rest of your day.
- Get moving by breaking up your tasks into smaller, sequential steps. This lets you see progress faster. This week our oldest daughter Heather taught me and our youngest daughter Leah how to knit a scarf with the knifty knitter. One reason I am enjoying it so much is that I can see the results immediately. In fact, Leah already finished her first, pretty blue scarf! We all want to see progress with something we’re working on. Breaking your tasks into smaller chunks – what some call eating the elephant one small bite at a time – helps you to reach your goals faster.
- Allow twice as long to do it. This especially is true with driving somewhere, at least from where we live (out in the boonies!). When we’re in a hurry and rushed, it causes us a lot of stress. My husband Ray has our bedroom clock set 10 minutes faster to give him a little “breathing room” in the morning, getting ready for work. That way he doesn’t feel so rushed. Don’t wait until the last minute to do things; give yourself more time to get things done. Also, deliberately take a few minutes out of your day to pray, to enjoy nature (I love bird-watching from our kitchen window), or to just take some deep, relaxing breaths and stretch.
Did you find these tips helpful? What do you do to manage your time better? Please leave your comments below.