Every single person on planet Earth has something he or she is better at doing in comparison to everyone else on this giant blue marble. My bragging rights come in the form of time management. Perhaps it is my aptitude for spreadsheets or my incredibly anal-retentive attention to detail, but I manage time, like a boss. And I have five hints for amateur jugglers out there who might want to improve their skills.
Juggling Act #1: I map out (and track) every 15 minutes
This might seem daunting, but I can assure you that it is not. Before I went pro, I managed to keep a task list, but not a roadmap to help me finish my list; this made my task list about as effective as eating soup with a slotted spoon. Then, I learned a time management technique called "time mapping". From then on out, the words, "I can't find the time," disappeared from my vocabulary.
I made a spreadsheet and began tracking what I was doing every 15 minutes, every day for a week. I "found" an extra 3 hours a day using this technique.
From here, I drafted a plan. I keep manage my work and personal appointments in my Outlook calendar and synchronize that calendar to my iPhone --and I map out everything. Which leads me to my second act….
Juggling Act #2: I use technology to my advantage
Advances in technology have made me more productive, a better mother and probably even an all-around better human being. As I remember something, I need to do or to buy, I tell Siri (my iPhone personal assistant) to make a note of it for me or put it on my calendar. Having a personal assistant in my pocket has given me my life back.
An investment of $164 to upgrade to my refurbished iPhone 4S saved me oodles of time.
Juggling Act #3: I involve the entire household in the schedule
My knowing what is on the schedule is one thing, but I make a point of involving the whole family in the schedule, thus avoiding conflicting appointments or activities. As I add each item to my outlook calendar, I make sure to add it their portable calendar as well.
My entire clan is synced up and mobile. With two teenagers and a pre-teen, this is non-negotiable.
Juggling Act #4: "Me" time is non-negotiable
"Me time" has been non-negotiable since my kids were little tykes. I recognized early on that I needed time each day to decompress and do something for myself, because if I want to be a better mother, I have to be a woman first.
My time consists of workouts, reading for enrichment and time spent with my friends. I pencil these items into my schedule, and make sure they are on the kids' calendars as well.
Managing time is one thing, managing it effectively is quite another, and when I manage mine, I never forget to pencil in a little happiness and personal enrichment. After all, that is why I am a pro.
How do you organize your time?
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