Do you manage your time or does time manage you? We can not control how fast time goes or add more time to our day; however, we can control the way we spend our time. My approach to time management is similar to that of managing your finances. In my work with clients, I have noticed that many people struggle with both areas of their lives.
"Waste your money and you're out of money, but waste your time and you've lost part of your life." ~ Michael Leboeuf
I have worked many clients who express that they want more time for themselves and that their hectic lives are out of control. They have careers, children, chores, parents to care for, business to run and may be working on a degree. When I remember my childhood and the schedules that my parents had; I am stunned. We have managed to load up every minutes of everyday and do not know where to find five minutes for ourselves.
Many times when I have a client express their displeasure at their current work load and time committments, I ask them to list every thing they do in a typical day and the amount of time they spend on each items. Here is an example as to what your list may look like:
Sleeping 7 hours
Eating & Preparing Meals 3.5 hours
Housework 2 hours
Childcare 5 hours
Make your list now...
Your list may be completely different than the one above.
Now, total the hours...
If you are honest you will come up with more than 24 hours. I have never had a client that had less than 30 hours. What does that say? It reminds me of too many bills at the end of the month and not enough money to pay them. You have to budget your time, just as you budget your money. You must set priorities on the items that you put on your schedule. I do not recommend multi-tasking but there are times when you have to handle more than one thing at a time. However, remember that when you are trying to do two or three things at a time...something get neglected.
Think about what is the most important thing that you do all day...is it caring for your children, doing your job, caring for an elderly parent or caring for yourself.
I know that this will be hard to understand, however caring for yourself should be the most important part of your day. If you have ever flown on an airplane, the flight attendant always instructs the passengers to put the oxygen mask on themselves before assisting their child or someone else. What happens if you do not care for yourself?
Making your self a priority in your life will show your spouse, your family and your children that you value yourself and deserve their respect.
Go through your list of priorities and mark the items with the amount of time each item needs by recording a daily log of the time spent. Just as you would pay your utility bills before you would go out to dinner, you pay yourself with time. Set aside a daily time for doing your schedule. Review and revise daily. You will soon have developed a clear idea of where your time is going.
Look for more about time management in my next blog!