Often it feels like life is just a struggle to survive chaos. Chaos creates insanity and before you know it, you are completely overwhelmed.
We want to enjoy life and be more engaged in each of our zillion roles, but we get stuck dealing with emergencies.
The solution is to create a time management system that?ll help you overcome the chaos of the day-to-day.
I sometimes get caught up in feeling overwhelmed about running my own business. Just a few days ago I said out laud: ?I need 5 more hours in the day. Can anybody add 5 hours to my day?? Of course I’m human and I have my ?low? moments but in general, I use a time management system that makes my life less stressed and more balanced. By using this system, I take control over my time and my schedule instead of allowing it to control me.
Here it is:
- Put your butt in the chair, take out a piece of paper and take inventory of your time.
Start by looking at a typical week, or this coming week. Make a list of all of your activities. When you’re done, start moving things around and check what’s missing. For some people ?rest? and ?fun? are missing from their lists, for others it might be ?exercise? or ?cooking?. Make sure that you add the following to your weekly plan:
- Fun time
How can you add these when you have absolutely no time already? Keep reading.
- Categorize and prioritize: urgent, important, not today.
When you have a realistic plan for the week, start looking at your daily tasks.Next to each task, write U for urgent, I for important and NT for not today. Let’s distinguish between the 3:Urgent ? activities that demand your immediate attentionImportant ? activities will you move towards your goalsNot today ? stuff that can wait or doesn’t help you achieve your goals. You can remove them completely from your list, move them to another day, or let somebody else take care of it. Don’t leave these on your list as they are!You can avoid a lot of urgent tasks if you don’t procrastinate and learn to delegate certain tasks or say ?no?.When you’re done categorizing your tasks, prioritize your list with the urgent tasks at the top. Start by working on those.
- Set Boundaries
When you say NO to others you say YES to yourself. (Click here to retweet!)
When you are asked to do something say: ?let me check and get back to you?. Ask yourself if saying YES is respectful of your goals and values. If it isn’t, say no! Make sure your NO is communicated in a kind way: ?I wish I could but I have to say no because??, ?I would like to do it but I’m saying no because??
- Stay on track
Work on one task at a time. This will help you get to the finish line. You will be a lot more productive if you focus on doing one task well rather than doing five poorly at the same time.
- Identify time traps and get rid of them
Take a look at your daily schedule. What kind of activities can you take off your plate (or at least limit) simply because they prevent you from reaching your goals? It’s all a question of balance. What part of your day do you spend on those activities? Here are some examples:
- Checking your emails and text messages ALL THE TIME.
- Surfing the web.
- Social media.
- Watching TV.
- Writing long emails.
- Getting groceries and running errands every day.
Start by limiting the amount of time you spend on these activities and by scheduling break time: smart phones away from dinner table, TV for X minutes after finishing Y, Z?
Once you’ve started to pay attention to time traps, non-important tasks, priorities and of course the fact that you are a human being (not a superhero!) the next step is to ask for help and to accept help when it is being offered. Your natural tendency might be to say no because you would like to do everything yourself. Often, life feels more balanced when you give yourself permission to delegate.
- Know when to stop and stop!
If you’re sitting at a desk or a computer for a long time, take walking breaks every 30 minutes.If your work-life balance is lacking, set time boundaries and decide ahead of time when you’re going to leave work or stop working so you can have space in your life ? to simply live!
In order to be able to choose your life moment by moment, take responsibility over your time. Create a system that works for you. Make sure this system fits your personality, your lifestyle, your schedule and your needs. This is my way and it may not work for you, but it can give you a place to start!
What’s missing from this list? What’s your favorite time management tip?