I’m sure you’ve heard over and over how a To Do List can help you get through your day. What happens though, if you keep making one and things aren’t getting crossed off because there's just so much that needs done and you're not sure where to put your focus?
I don’t know about you but that has happened to me more than once. Luckily, I found that there is a way to master my To Do list, get things done and feel good about crossing those tasks off so that I could feel as though I was reducing the amount of stress that I felt under.
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With that said, today is an EXCITING day! I’m going to share with you how you can reduce the stress in your life with these time management tips. These are the same ones that I use!
Are you ready? Let’s GO!
Create a daily plan. It’s easier to stay on track when you have a plan. Before you begin the day, jot everything down that is scheduled as an appointment and everything that is on your mind that you feel you need to work on. You can then take this list of things and schedule accordingly. I like to do this each and every night before bed, reviewing what the next day will look like so I can plan around it. I also review on Sunday nights, the schedule (appointments and such) with my husband so he's aware of whats going on too. I basically dump anything in my brain onto paper so that I'm not trying to remember that it needs to be completed.
Delegate. Not gonna lie here but this one was hard for me because I like to control pretty much everything. But.....here's the thing. I'm not good at everything and there are a lot of things that I don't enjoy doing. Also, for some things. it's actually better for me money wise to delegate in the ling run. Ask yourself these questions....
What things are you good at?
What things are you not so good at?
Are there items that can be outsourced or given to someone else to complete?
This can take a load off you so that you can stick to the important things that you’re working on. Sometimes, you can even involve the kids with helping. There is no shame in teaching responsibility and self care to them at an early age.
Know your deadlines. When making your to do list, write down your task or project due dates on your paper calendar or schedule them in your online calendar. If you don’t have a deadline, decide if one needs added or not.
Prioritize. What needs completed first, then second and so on. Prioritize the tasks that need completed for the day and work in that order. Rushing to get a task or project completed is stressful and can lead to sloppy work.
Batch similar tasks together. I try to group similar tasks together. For example, I’ll do all of my Administrative tasks (email, phone calls, etc.) in the same time block. This helps keep me focused on those things.
Assign a time limit to each task. If you have multiple projects that you are working on, assign a time limit to each one so that you are accomplishing more throughout the day. An example: project X needs to be completed by 10 am, project Y by 3 pm and project Z by 5 pm.
Have a clock visibly placed before you. Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Place a clock in front of you so that you’re aware of what time it is and how much time has elapsed.
Set reminders. Most digital calendars will allow you to set reminders as you schedule appointments. When I have an appointment, I’ll set the reminder so that it alerts me prior to the appointment. Depending on appointment type and where it's held, I can choose to have an alert or reminder ding 15 minutes beforehand or even an email sent the day before. This is great because it tells me that I need to finish what I’m working on and get ready for my appointment. I can even have texts sent to my phone to let me know that my appointment in up and coming.
Focus. It’s easy to get side tracked by distractions. Focus on one task at a time and block the things that you know will distract you. For me, I know that instant messaging or texting can become a distraction so I log in a few times per day to check in and then log back out so that I can get back to the actual task on hand. I can also put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” for group chats and now use the FOCUS feature which has been wonderful!
Track your time spent. Most smartphones come with a timer. If you know that you only have 30 minutes to work on a task, set your timer and hit start. It will count down in the background while you’re doing your work. When the time is up, the timer will go off. Another way to count back time is the timer on your stove top. I use this often when working and did so too while the girls were younger. We'd all work on chores together and when mom said...we have 15 mins to do XYZ and then we get to do ZYX, we all worked hard to get those things done.
Use a calendar. Having a calendar with your appointments scheduled is one of the most important pieces to the time management puzzle, especially if you’re always busy and feeling stressed. You can input everyone’s activities here so that you have it all in one place for everyone to see what's going on throughout the days, weeks or months.
Use an organizer or planner. A planner helps you to be on top of everything in your life. Without mine, I honestly don’t know which direction I’d be headed. Just kidding but in all seriousness, an organizer/planner can be your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items. I even have all of my bills in mine and it helps me see what’s going on all the time. I keep my business expenses and mileage noted as well and it’s great having this all in one place come tax time. A planner is extremely helpful if you’re a visual person like me. If you would rather go the online route, there are varieties of time management software programs online or for purchase. Do you research to see what works best for you.
and my two favorite tips…..
Learn to say “No”. Okay, here’s one of the best pieces of advice that I was given and I’m going to share it with you. You don’t have to accept every invitation you get and it’s gonna be alright to say no to people, projects and anything else in life that doesn't feels right and causes you stress. You have permission to do this no matter if anyone else agrees with you or not. If it’s something that will cause you stress, cause you discomfort, etc. than just say no. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
Let it go! There was once a time where if I didn't get everything accomplished, I'd beat myself up mentally over it. Over the last few years between Bob's health issues and now my own, I've come to realize that it's okay if not everything gets done. I simply do what I can with the strength that I have for that day. What tasks are left are moved over to the next day or I choose to delegate them or remove them completely for another time/place in my life.
There you go…Time Management tips to help you reduce the stress in your life. Start with one and then add to it. You’ll soon be a master of your time.
In this together...