Where has the time gone?

Do you ever think about how much you did or did not accomplish in a day?  We have our routines and things we need to do.  In the morning do you wonder how you are going to conquer all the tasks on your “To Do” lists?  At the end of the day do you wonder what happened to those hours and minutes?  America’s Family Manager, Kathy Peel, discusses ten principles of time management in her book The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home.  These ten principles are things everyone can add to take control of their schedule.

  1.  Write it down. I’m so guilty about forgetting about appointments, stuff my husband or a friend has asked me to do and plans I’ve made with friends.  I’ve had to make it a habit to write things down.  Various methods you could use are your iPad, a notebook you carry with you, your smart phone or a dry erase board.
  2. Do it now. Have you ever said, “I’ll do it later”?  Later comes around and you have a handful of things you MUST do and you MUST do them right then?  I’ve been there and wished I had just taken care of those tasks earlier and not put them off.  If you have time to do a task than do it.  Make this a habit.
  3. Have the right tools. Don’t you hate it when you start a project and you have to stop to get necessary items to complete?  That is such a time waster and, for me, a de-motivator, which than makes me put the task off to do later.  Plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need to complete your tasks so you don’t have to break your rhythm and waste time.
  4. Believe in buffers.  You know when you make an appointment at the health clinic you are asked to come 10-15 minutes early?  I believe that this policy is a buffer the clinics have built into their method of operation.  We should build in buffers, too.  Plan to leave early when you have kids in tow and you know they are going to move at a slower pace or when you know you will be driving in rush hour traffic to get to an appointment.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You might be a few minutes early.
  5. Set deadlines.  Deadlines are a great way to guarantee you will get a job done.  Mark the deadline next to your tasks on your “To Do” list, on a calendar or even ask friends or family members to hold you accountable.
  6. Do advance work—don’t wait until the last minute.  You know you have a project due or a dinner party planned.  Create a time line of what tasks need to be completed and follow the time line.
  7. Work with your biological clock.  What?  I know I’m a morning person.  I get the most accomplished before lunch time.  So, the morning is the time I research, write, clean the house and exercise.  In the afternoon, I’m slower and less motivated.  Pay attention to when you are most productive.  Use that time to get tasks done.
  8. Create boundaries.  Don’t let other people’s priorities keep you from your priorities.  It is ok to say no.  We don’t have to do it all, nor can we.  Make a list of what is important to you and what is fulfilling to you.
  9. Take charge of your own life and schedule.  Let phone calls go to voicemail.  Turn off your email alert.  Maybe even consider not answering the door every time someone knocks or rings the doorbell.  Sometimes it isn’t convenient and these interruptions can derail you from accomplishing your tasks.
  10. Don’t wait for time to “free up”.    If you have something big coming up, schedule time to work on the project in 30 minute to 1 hour increments.  Use that scheduled time to really focus on the project.  Before you know it the project will be done.
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