Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Manage Your Time

The summer is over, children return to school, coworkers return from vacations, and everything seems to move faster. If you’re grappling with how to manage your time better, to have the quality life you want, here are some tips to get started.

Set goals and priorities.
If you have an idea of how you want your life to be, it’s easier to make decisions on how to spend your time. Write a list of important things in your life, such as career, children, spouse, friends, education, hobbies, etc. Then write numbers next to each item, assigning number one to the most important item, number two to the second, etc. When you get two invitations for one night, refer to your priority list to decide which is the best choice.

Create a “task block” schedule.
Have you ever seen network executives working on a TV programming line-up? They take names of TV shows and put them into a schedule to see how the week looks. You can use a similar exercise to look at your personal schedule. You can use Outlook, Palm, Excel, a paper calendar or even a piece of paper with times written on it. Make sure you have space for 24 hours in each day. Input items on the schedule, until all space is filled, using categories such as such as sleep, eat, work, travel, chores, errands, family time, personal care, entertainment, etc. It may be good to overestimate time for items like travel and chores. Take a step back and look at your schedule. Does it line up with your goals and priorities?

Your health is #1.
Everything you do gets harder if you don’t take care of yourself. Try to eat well, sleep and exercise. Set aside at least one or two hours a week to treat yourself to some “me time” by going to the gym, reading, watching a movie, going to a museum or doing something else that feeds your soul. Take time to recharge, and it will carry you through the stressful events of the week.

Say “no.”
It sounds easy, so why is it so hard? Saying “no” more often will give you time to concentrate on how you want your life to be. Have you ever looked at your week and realized that half of the things you do don’t meet your vision for your life? You may think people will be angry or disappointed with you, but I think you’ll find that they respect and value you more when you stand up for yourself.

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