Why is it that some people seem to get everything done effortlessly and others feel that time constantly eludes them? While we may claim we “just don’t have enough time,” the secret to getting more done is in prioritizing the important things and learning to use the time you have more efficiently and effectively.
Some of us, by nature, are just more organized. This kind of personality gets important tasks out of the way before they go on to other things. Others of us tend to do the “fun” things first, putting off the “work” until later.
It is important to first recognize which type you are and whether your style is allowing you to have the life you really want. Maybe you are super-organized at work, but tasks around the home and preparing nutritious meals fall by the wayside because you are burned out, not making enough time for yourself. Maybe you are naturally a less organized person who knows how to relax, but you are dissatisfied with what you are able to accomplish because you aren’t fulfilling your goals and dreams.
Whatever your personality type when it comes to time management, don’t beat yourself up with unnecessary name calling. Telling yourself that you are a “terrible homemaker” or labeling yourself as “lazy” is counterproductive. Instead, take a good look at your daily habits, and decide to take action to strengthen the areas of your life that need attention. Like a new muscle, it takes practice and repetition to make your time management stronger.
To help you get started, here are 12 tips for getting more done at work and at home. Try the first one or two that jump out at you:
1. Allocate time for planning and organizing. This step is critical.
2. Create to-do lists that are realistic, not intimidating. Use only one to-do list.
3. Under-schedule. Leave time for unexpected interruptions. When you estimate how long something will take, add on a third of that time.
4. Schedule your time in a way that reduces interruptions that lower your productivity.
5. Practice the art of intelligent neglect. Eliminate trivial tasks. Stop checking your email every 2 minutes.
6. Prioritize what is most important and do that first, especially if it is a task that you would rather put off until later.
7. Consider your biological prime time. At what time of day do you work best? Plan to do your most important work at that time.
8. If you say yes to everything that comes your way, learn to say no.
9. Ask for help and delegate. Other people in your household can probably run an errand on the way home.
10. In the evening make your to-do list for the next day, so it will be out of your brain and on a piece of paper or Evernote.
11. Leave work with a clear head and a clean desk.
12. Acknowledge yourself daily for all that you have accomplished. Do not skip this! It is the key to experiencing completion for tasks that have been done, and eliminating the hamster-on-a-wheel feeling.
As you evaluate how you use your time, address the two biggest hindrances to using time effectively – procrastinating and lack of purpose.
We usually procrastinate when a task seems too daunting, too large or too complex, or when we feel we won’t be able to handle it. When you get that “scattered” or overwhelmed feeling, try breaking the large task into smaller, manageable action steps and start with the first one.
You may find that you put off some tasks and waste time because you are bored, unengaged and uninspired. The most effective people will tell you that they love what they do and are aligned with a greater purpose. When it comes to managing your time, you may need to ask the larger questions, “Am I doing what I love to do? Am I doing something meaningful to me?”
As you strengthen your new time management muscle, keep your focus on getting organized so that you can live life with clarity and purpose. Instead of being a chore, good time management can be your ticket to more fun, greater satisfaction and a vibrant, exciting life.
Could you use some support? As a Certified Health Coach, I work with busy women that want to improve their health and happiness. Contact me today for a free 50-minute Health Consultation.