You’ve heard it said – time is money. You can’t make money without time and when your time is already stretched thin by work and children, a few minutes of free time are more precious than gold. But what can you do to find that free time? By following the tips below, you’ll squeeze more seconds out of every hour and more minutes out of every day. Those are minutes you can use to have more fun, or to just take a nap. Remember naps?
Stop trying to do it all. Trying to do absolutely everything will leave you exhausted, and exhaustion puts you at risk for getting sick – and you definitely don’t have time to get sick. So listen to your body. Maybe your kids have friends whose moms volunteer for every fieldtrip and make their children lunches with fruit cut to look like flowers. Resist the urge to compete. A strawberry that looks like a rose still tastes like … a strawberry.
Get up on time, and make your bed. Save yourself the stress of playing catch-up all day by getting up on time. Making your bed sets an organized tone for your whole day.
Make a plan and tackle similar tasks in batches. Writing down everything you have to do and grouping similar tasks together makes life easier to manage. Consolidating your activities will allow you to push efficiently through one set of tasks and then move on to the next. Sit down and make all of your phone calls in one setting, then respond to all of your emails, then pay your bills, each at pre-determined times during your day. This week keep you from ping-ponging from one task to another, and wasting valuable time.
But build in buffer time. Don’t assume there will be no traffic, that you’ll leave work on time, or that your child will happily jump into homework and finish it exactly 30 minutes later. Give yourself some wiggle room in your plan so that you won’t have to constantly rearrange your schedule.
Make a daily to-do list. Use an old-fashioned written planner to jot down all the things you need to do each day. Write down the big things and the small things, even tasks as small as unloading the dishwasher, and cross off each thing as you finish it. It is incredibly motivating to see all that you are accomplishing and it will make you push yourself to mark off each next thing. Don’t be surprised when your list is finished before the day is done.
Create a routine, then stick to it. Having a daily routine is a great way to protect your time. Instead of flailing about from one thing to the next, you’ll find yourself automatically accomplishing the things that need to be done.
Adopting a few of these habits will help you organize your day and your responsibilities and maximize the time you have so that you find yourself with time for the things you really want to do.
Want some help getting your financial life in order? Ronald J. Drescher has been assisting clients with their legal and financial troubles for more than three decades.