Since I started this blogging spree, I've been surprised at how many people say something on the lines of "How do you make time for all the things you want to do"? It seems that many of us struggle with how to juggle the demands of our lives. I know I certainly do. 'd love to discuss this over several posts.
The thing about time management is that each person's schedule is so different- it is dictated by a multitude of factors like the nature of our jobs, the composition of our families and our location and lifestyle. I'm posing these three questions as a thought exercise. Feel free to grab a pencil and paper and see if they help to clarify your thinking about how you spend your time and how you want to spend it.
1. What do you want to make time for?
If you had more time, what would you do? What do you want to include in your life? What's missing in your life right now?
These should be things that are meaningful to you, and only you know what those are. There's absolutely no point in wanting to do something just because it is trendy or because someone else thinks it is fun.
Maybe you want to make time for a new hobby or to practice an existing one. Maybe you're just tired of always being late for everything. Maybe you know that your health is suffering from a lack of exercise and you want to make time for it. Answering this question will help to identify 2 or 3 things that you want to work on making time for.
2. Where are you currently spending your time?
This may require quiet reflection, or it may require keeping a diary for a couple of days. The point of answering this question is to identify problem areas in time management. Maybe you're spending too much time idly surfing the internet (ahem) or checking e-mail 25 times a day. Maybe your kid dawdles and stretches bed time over 90 minutes. Maybe you're making 4 times to the grocery store each week. Know your time-sucks.
3. How can you make time?
Once you identify a couple of problem areas, you can work on them by trying a different approach to doing that task. Writing them down methodically gives you something concrete to work with.
Here are three small ways I've streamlined my routine.
a) Learn to say no. If you find you don't enjoy something, you don't have to do it. I politely decline invitations to large gatherings but always make time for smaller get-togethers because I know what setting I enjoy.
b) Combine things you have to do with things you want to do. I enjoy watching TV and doing so while folding laundry, washing dishes and putting away toys is the perfect way to get chores done while giving myself a mental break.
c) Simplify. I can get ready in the morning in no time at all because I only own a handful of clothes, the only jewelry I wear is earrings and the only make up I use is lipstick. No one has ever praised my fashion sense and no one ever will but it sure makes my life easier and allows me to focus on other things that interest me more.
Feel free to use the comments in this post if you want to discuss your time management challenges. Let's put our heads together and come up with some solutions to kill those time-sucks and make way for something fun.