The top two things that people seem to want more of are money and time. As a matter of fact, more money and more time are the top two issues people come to life coaches for (they also happen to be the top two excuses people use for not hiring a coach). It would be great if we had a money tree and a time tree in our backyard. That way if we ran out of either, we could just walk outside and pluck some off the tree. Unfortunately, God didn't make those kinds of trees. Probably because He wanted us to become good stewards of our money and time. Just like we can learn to better manage our finances, there are things we can do to improve our time management. Outlined below are seven tips for gaining more time.
Prioritize, Schedule and Focus. Make a list of all the things you have to do and want to do for a given time period. Prioritize each of the items on your list. Assign high priority, moderate priority or low priority to each item. What are the most important things to you? Spend most of your energy and time on your high priority items and schedule the moderate and low priority items around your main concerns. Stay focused on what's most important to you at all times.
Eliminate Some "Have Tos" in your Life. There are things in life that we want to do and have to do. Some "have tos" simply can't be eliminated such as laundry, cleaning the house or grocery shopping. Other "have tos" are negotiable. You don't have to volunteer your time every time someone needs it. You don't have to participate in all social activities. Look closely at all the "have tos" in your life. Which ones can you drop?
Pay Attention to Time Stealers. Sometimes we're not aware of all the things that eat up our time. Take the friend who calls to chat. Next thing you know 30 minutes have gone by. What about the internet? I don't know about you but I can spend hours surfing the net. In line with the internet are e-mails. Reading and responding to e-mail is a real time stealer. Watching television and poor communication also rob you of valuable time. Set aside only a certain amount of time each day to tend to these items.
Delegate Tasks. Not everything has to be handled by you. Sometimes it's helpful to let go of the notion that you are the only person that can manage a particular task. Children as young as three can help around the house. Husbands can run errands and do chores as well. Friends and family can lend a helping hand. If money permits, consider hiring help. Teenagers love to make money. Many tasks such as housecleaning, laundry, ironing, organization, lawn care, and home projects can be farmed out to the professionals.
Cut Back on Commitments. With so many activities to choose from, it's easy to over schedule your time. The church and community offers many opportunities to volunteer. Children are involved in sports, music, dance and school activities. Friends and family members are often good at booking your social calendar. Add home and work commitments and you have to start using multiple calendars to keep track of everything. Consider limiting the amount of activities you and family members are involved in. Cut out volunteering for a period of time. Carefully select which social activities you want to attend.
Increase Organization. Believe it or not, lack of organization eats up a lot of time. You spend time looking for things. Poor planning results in mismanaged time. Eliminate clutter from your life and organize the rest of your belongings. Keep a calendar and "to do" list. Set up daily routines. To maximize your time, take 15 minutes at the end of each day to plan for the next day.
Conquer Procrastination and Perfectionism. Perfectionists spend way too much time getting things "just right". Procrastinators waste too much time avoiding things they don't want to do. If you fall into either of these categories, making a commitment to tackle these self-management issues will go a long way towards giving you more time.
How can you better manage your time? Pick an area and commit to working on making some changes that will give you the time you want. Take that extra time you create to nurture your relationships, have some fun, or take better care of yourself.
About the author:
Lori Radun, CEC (C certified life coach for moms. To receive her FREE newsletter and the special report !0155 Things Moms Can Do to Raise Great Children, go to http://www.true2youlifecoaching.com