Time is a precious, finite gift and it is something I think a lot about since having children; I seem to have less of it! I am constantly pushed and pulled by competing priorities and never feel as though I have enough time. Time is unlike money as we can’t make more of it and in fact, we actually trade time for money.
I regularly check in with myself to evaluate how I am spending my time as my time should progress my goals and reflect my priorities. If something is not a priority, I don’t action it. Yet I often feel as though I fail someone or something.
There is so much I want to do, yet I have the same amount of time in a day as everyone else from the Queen to Richard Branson to Donald Trump! For me to achieve, it is use time wisely.
I’ve read many books on Time and Time Management and I’ve learnt something from each one. Here are a few tips and musings in no particular order, hopefully one or two might help you.
- We can’t do everything and achieve all our goals in one day but across a week it is generally possible to find some sort of balance. For example, you may not have any rest and relaxation during the week but it is possible to carve out time on the weekend.
- Routines are saviours. Sticking to a routine helps keep things in proper order. It helps me exercise, keep the house tidy, complete admin tasks, get the sleep I need and meet client’s needs.
- It is good to say no. Guard your own time by saying no more often. For example, I know I operate best with one social activity a weekend. Any more is too hectic and something else gives instead, generally exercise or housework, so I need to say no to more than one invitation.
- There is a time and place for outsourcing. Outsourcing is a way to buy more time so to speak. For some this may be a cleaning service or a virtual assistant to help in your business. At the moment mine is tuckshop. I am very happy to pay for the school tuckshop service as it takes away another task, from planning, shopping and preparing. There are some things we can’t outsource though such as sleep and exercise. These are important for our bodies and have to be done ourselves.
- I like to use the TIME acronym by Mike Schultz of RAIN Group. TIME stands for:
- Treasured – treasured represents those things which you enjoy.
- Investment – investment is for activities which will result in rewards later.
- Mandatory – mandatory or necessary tasks such as personal hygiene, cleaning.
- Empty – empty actions are things like watching Netflix and surfing the net.
All at different times are necessary and good, including empty time as we all need to rest and recuperate and give ourselves permission to have down time. However, when too much time is spent in any one area, I think you’re less effective.
- Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants is also very helpful. I will often focus my day by asking myself what is important and what is a priority. I try to minimise other people’s disorganisation becoming my problem.
- My most productive mornings occur when I have written my to do list, in order of priority the night before, ready to attack first thing in the morning. I seem to be more focussed and spend less time thinking and more time doing.
- There are lots of apps on the market to help organise time – Trello, Monday, etc. Personally, these apps don’t work for me as I feel like they are yet another thing to manage and keep up to date! You may be different and that’s great.
- As a family we use a shared calendar and that certainly helps. I like how an electronic calendar syncs across all devices, so I don’t have to manually update calendars separately.
- Relationships take time. Relationships are extremely important to me so I will always prioritise time for them. People take time and we can’t rush that process.
- I like to be results orientated. When working I like there to be a completed outcome. It helps prevent wheel spinning which is busy for the sake of being busy.
- Perfection can be brutal with time. I work on the premise if it is better than before then it was worth doing.
Managing my time is a constant work in progress and my habits will continue to change, mostly as my family needs change. I am the mother of teenagers and my routines are very different now compared to when they were toddlers and primary school aged children.