I am a professional at staying busy. I love seeing a big, fat to do list staring me in the face, and I love it even more when everything has been crossed off and I can enjoy my rest with a feeling of accomplishment. What's my secret? Good time management! With classes returning and life speeding up now that summer is concluding, there's no time like the present to share my top seven tips for time management.
1. Start your day off right
If you need a slow start in the mornings, let yourself sip your coffee enjoy the sunrise. If you need sleep, try to do as much as possible the night before so that you can catch a few extra minutes of sleep. Pre-pack your lunch, set delay on the coffee maker, and pick your clothes out for the next day before you snuggle up for the night.
2. Take a little extra time to plan
If you are list maker or planner keeper, take the time to make the lists and plans that help you succeed. Write down the big tasks for the day, make note of the short or long term goals you have for yourself. This gives you an opportunity to check in and use your time mindfully to achieve what you're hoping for this week.
3. "Do it today, or later you'll pay."
If it takes a five minutes or less, do it immediately rather than putting it off for later. This will help you avoid having work piled up later. Pre-rinsed dishes are much easier to do than the ones that have set for a day or two. Freshly dried laundry won't need to be ironed if you hop on it and homework is easier when the information is fresh.
4. Don't turn it on until you're done
Save your entertainment for when you are done so that you can actually enjoy your new show! Once your to do's are done for the day, the list won't be looming in the back of your mind. You can take comfort in time well spent and free time well earned.
5. One thing at a time
Don't multitask; focus on one project at a time! There's no need to read while you cook or watch while you write. Doing one task at a time helps ensure that your task takes less time and is done correctly. This means that you can get more done and be satisfied with how it was done rather than leaving a chain of half-done tasks throughout your day.
6. Make it count
Along the same lines of 4 and 5, when you are doing something fun but all in! Put down your phone while you watch your show. Turn off the TV and just enjoy the time with your friend, partner, or child. Be mindful of the moment instead of trying to cram as much in as possible.
7. Know your limits
You don't have to do it all, every single day. Be aware of how you are feeling and how much "to do" you can handle before you start feeling overwhelmed. Make each day attainable so that you feel accomplished and ready for the next. Piling it on will eventually lead to disappointment, frustration, and burnout. You can achieve more in the long run by only biting off as much as you can safely chew!
Most importantly, take is one small chunk at a time. Whether you think week by week, day by day, or even every few hours. Divide it into "bite sized pieces" so that each period of time is an opportunity for good, hard work and quality time with what you enjoy!