"Where does the time go?"
You suddenly realize it is 9 pm and you haven't completed anything you planned for the day. You got caught up with one thing, and one thing led to another and another. Then your day is over. It happens.
But what if it happens every day? You notice yourself missing important deadlines, appointments and not meeting personal goals.
You might have said the words, "If only I had more time!"
The thing about time is you only get 24 hours in a day — no matter who you are. No matter if you're organized or not — just 24 hours.
You don't need more time.
You need to learn how to manage your time better.
What Are the Effects of Poor Time Management?
Missing deadlines and appointments
Poor quality of work
Constantly stressed and anxious
Lack of sleep
Settling for fast and unhealthy meals
What Are the Effects of Good Time Management?
Time for things you love to do
Easily meet deadlines
Never miss appointments
Excel in your career
Produce high-quality work
Less stress and anxiety
It's how you use and plan your time that makes all the difference. When it comes to time management, chronically disorganized (CD) people are at a disadvantage because they may have weak time management skills (1). But because you have poor time management skills, it doesn't mean you can't learn how to manage it better.
8 Tips to Manage Your Time and Live the Life You Want
1) Find Out What Kind of Learner You Are
How do you learn best? Are you a...
Visual learner - Watching a video or someone complete the task
Auditory learner - Listening to the person explain the task
Hands-on learner - Going in and doing the task yourself. (2)
By understanding which learning style is best for you, time will be on your side. You will accelerate your learning time and understand how your brain best retains information.
As a result, you will quickly identify your strengths and weaknesses and find ways to take advantage of your unique skill sets and apply them to your life.
2) Imagine and Create Your Ideal Routine
Create a routine you want.
Routines help you establish a foundation for your day to go as smoothly as possible. For tasks like laundry, tidying, or dishes, having a routine can almost automate these habits, so you can do them without overthinking them.
When these errands and chores are finished, you can spend time doing things you want to do.
A morning routine can include anything you want. Do you want to wake up and get the coffee going right away? Do you want to brush your teeth and then go out for a quick walk before starting work?
A morning routine can be as easy as:
Wake up & brush teeth
Go for a quick walk
Head to work
How do you want to wind down for the day? Curl up and read the book you wanted to read for a long time? Put on a face mask before crawling into bed? A nighttime routine can as simple as:
Cook & eat dinner
Put dishes in dishwasher
Take a relaxing shower
Read for 30 minutes
Take a second and think about what your ideal routine would look like. Once you have it down, try to follow your routine the next day. As you go through your routine, think about what feels right and change as needed.
Everyone is different so take your time to create and edit a routine that aligns with your needs.
3) Create a To-Do list
Write down 3-5 things you need to do the night before, so you have time to digest and figure out what you need to do. When morning comes, you can start your day strong.
By writing a to-do list, you use your brainpower to focus on tackling the task instead of trying to remember what to do next.
4) Say No (It's Okay!)
Saying yes and overcommitting leaves less time for what you want to do. If you are invited to go out, but you don't want to, politely say no or ask to reschedule.
If you don't control your own time, someone else will.
5) Allow For More Time
How could I allow for more time when I want more time?
When planning out your schedule, leave some room to breathe between tasks.
It is common for us to think we can complete a task in 30 minutes, but it ends up taking one hour to finish. Take your time to finish the tasks as needed.
Beating yourself up for not using time efficiently will make you feel more stressed and anxious. Acknowledge the extra time needed and be aware and ready next time.
6) Remove Distractions
Identify your biggest distractions that take you away from important tasks. Some examples include social media, phones, notification noises, and TV.
You can limit your screen time by:
Turning off your phone
Placing your phone in another room
Putting it on airplane mode
Deleting social media apps
Downloading an app that limits your time on your phone
Turning off or unplugging your television
7) Use a Planner or Calendar to Organize Your Goals and Plans
Having a layout of what you want and need to do every day. It allows you to have expectations and a better grasp of how to fit our time. This will enable you to include breaks too.
Digital or paper planner? That's up to you.
There are many digital and paper planners on the market, so feel free to choose what works best for you.
With your planner or calendar, you can break down your big goals into bite-sized, achievable goals and tasks to tackle and cross off your list.
8) Don't Strive For Perfection — Strive for Good Enough.
Last but not least, don't strive for perfection. Strive for good enough.
Many people procrastinate not because they are lazy but because they are afraid of making mistakes and not doing the task well (3).
To curb the fear, allow yourself to start for just 5 minutes and see where it goes. If you don't want to do it anymore, stop and do something else on your list.
Don't sweat the small details. If you do mess up, learn from it and continue going.
9) Delegate Tasks You Don't Want to Do
If there are tasks you don't like or want to do, delegate them. Let someone else with experience handle work you don't like doing.
Delegating tasks gives you not only more free time but also peace of mind.
For example, if you don't know how to do your taxes or don't want to learn, hire an accountant. You can enjoy your free time while they crunch the numbers and file your taxes for you. Since they have knowledge and skill set, you know they will be doing it correctly the first time.
Not sure where to start?
As a professional organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, I help support and help those struggling with managing their time by:
Working with them to set up a basic system to fit their unique needs
Creating a system to address their learning style, strengths, and personality
Carefully listening and understanding what system they tried in the past and what worked and didn't work
Suggesting solutions specific to the their needs and style to create the life they want
Time management should be simple and personalized so you can focus on spending more time doing what you love with the people you care about.
Ready to get your time back, but need some help? Contact me today.