By Sophia Noll
I have heard that for every minute you invest in planning, you save ten minutes in execution. Studies suggest people who define their goals are more likely to accomplish them and in less time too. It sharpens their vision for attaining them. Last month we took an honest look at how we spend our time and if you did your homework you have identified the goals/activities that you want to achieve in your daily life. Productive people treat their commitments, activities, and duties in life as an appointment by writing them down and giving them a time slot.
Ready? Grab your list of goals/activities, a pencil and a blank piece of paper or pull up Excel on your computer. Make a graph that covers a one or two week period. Make the graph with columns for each day of the week with a column labeled “Time” which goes before the Monday column. Then have 24 horizontal lines in the graph.
Start blocking out the times that you sleep, wake up, go to work, and all of the other constants in your life (mealtimes, kids activities, regular doctor visits, soccer practice, etc). The time in between those events is what you have to work with.
The first couple lines might look something like this:
Once that is done you get to decide how much time you will give to each activity in your day, week, or month. Let’s say you have a goal of getting back in shape so you will be taking some classes at the local gym. Learning to play the guitar is another one of your goals. And let’s not forget your significant other who would like to get reacquainted with you ;-))
Take the exercise class schedule and plug two or three classes a week into your schedule of left over time. It might be possible to go during your lunch hour or in the evenings. Perhaps you will only be able to go twice a week every other week instead of three times. If your guitar practicing/lesson goals include four hours a week then depending on your left over time you could play one hour at a time for four days or for two hour slots twice a week. Your date night could be in the middle of the week instead of the weekend. Be creative! However you create your schedule make sure that you do take the time for these goals that I like to call “self” activities.
Taking the time for your “self” is probably the most important scheduling on your calendar. It’s like putting in a reward system for all your hard work. Without those moments the rest of your daily life can become an energy vampire. We need these “self” moments to make us feel balanced and complete. It will energize you for the rest of the week.
If you find that there isn’t enough time for everything you can pull double duty. You can make those phone calls while paying bills and washing clothes. Or practice your guitar chords while reading your child’s note from the teacher and while helping your child with homework. However let’s take a moment to talk about “multi tasking.” We women pride ourselves on this skill but in reality it’s not always the best approach. It’s the ticket to exhaustion as far as I’m concerned. As with household organization… less is best. Less things that are trying to get done at one time gives more focused attention on an activity and better results. Find the balance that’s right for you.
Delegating is an art in itself. Allow your family to chip in and take some of the load off of you. From dishes, to cooking, taking care of the pets, yard work, older kids helping younger kids with homework, the sky’s the limit!!! Learn to let go and let others take up the slack. This will allow you more free time for those goals and activities you are wanting in your life.
Be reasonable in scheduling your time… unless you are “Super Woman” you only have a certain amount of energy before you crash. Pick the most energy depleting activities/goals for when you are at your best… is it early in the morning or later in the day? Be clear about how much sleep you need and schedule that into your routine. It will take some juggling to design your map… you might have to move some things around before you get it to fit just right. Once you have it worked out try it out for a week or two and adjust as needed. Here are some questions from, Time Management From the Inside Out, by Julie Morgenstern which when answered will tell you if your map is working to your advantage:
My Time Map reflects my big-picture goals. T F
My time Map includes time for all the categories I want to get to. T F
I am able to concentrate on my chosen activity. T F
I am doing my activities at the right times for me. T F
My schedule makes me feel balanced and energized. T F
Keep adjusting if you answered false to any of the above. Life has its way of derailing us and there will be times when your best laid plans will be tossed out the window and you will deal with the urgency of the moment. Know that this map will not work 100 percent of the time… it’s a guide/resource for you to always come back to.
“This kind of structure doesn’t enslave you, but propels you toward your life goals and liberates you to feel good about how you spend every day.” Julie Morgenstern.
If you find that putting together this time puzzle is more than you want to deal with by yourself then you can hire a Professional Organizer/Personal Assistant like me. I can help you sort your time out and help you get things into perspective and find a plan that works best for you :-))
I would like to take a quick moment to thank my readers for your kind remarks. I am so grateful that you have enjoyed reading my articles. If you have any questions that you would like for me to answer please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try my best to answer them in an upcoming article.
Sophia (In Its Place) has been organizing people’s lives for the past eleven years from Maine to Asheville. She specializes in Organization, Personal Assistant, Household Management, Staging Homes, Senior Downsizing, and Concierge Services. Sophia offers free consultations and can be contacted at 828-333-3045. The Holidays are almost upon us … give the gift of Organizing!! Gift Certificates Available.