Time management is a concept that has been used by a lot of employers in order to get the best from their staff, usually resulting in dull training and over informed courses which we gain little from. However, if used correctly especially in your personal life it can have very positive effects in reducing the stresses and anxiety that modern hectic life can cause by giving you more free time.
Simply, good time management means spending your time doing those things you value or those things that help you to achieve your goals. This is not to be mistaken as a direct invitation for selfishness. Especially if you are an altruistic person, like myself this can appear difficult until you realise that helping people is a value or goal of yours and can be combined healthily into your life.
Most of us would admit to doing things we neither value or support our goals, this in some circumstances is unavoidable and part of life therefore it is so important to clarify what you want, so that when we do have precious free time we use it wisely.
Try these thought experiments to help you to understand clearly what your values and goals are in order to create a fulfilling 2019:
Imagine three years from now asking the most important people in your life to write a sentence about you. What would they say?
Think about this literally, it must not be based on what you would like them to say but what they would defiantly say about you. Focus on the kind of person you want to be and the things you would like to achieve. This will help you outline the things that are important to you.
The next thought experiment is to think about the percentage of time you can, do or are willing to give in order to achieve each value or goal. For example this could include work, couple time, family time, health and wellbeing, socialising, hobbies and chores. Try to distribute your time realistically because failure to complete a target can be an additional pressure and guilt.
Create your designer week.
You should now have a deeper understanding of your values, the goals you wish to achieve and the amount of time you have free or are willing to spend meeting them using this information you are ready to create your designer week. Build this into your week by making it a pleasurable experience, buy a new day to page diary, highlighters, stickers or anything that will increase your desire to complete a plan. Always remember managing your time will help to centre your life, help you to feel fulfilled and can be completed whenever suits you daily, bi-weekly or weekly. I like to plan my week out on a Sunday, I do this to ensure that I have given plenty of time to do activities that I value such as working out, reading and self-care. It helps massively in managing my anxiety and when I wake up in the morning I feel I have a little more control over what my day might throw at me and it makes me happy to know I have something I value to look forward to each day.
Helpful hints to get the most from your time.
Don't waste time in limbo.
Get to the task in hand rather than spending time in limbo neither getting down to it or enjoying your leisure. We all know that feeling when we get up in the morning lazing around on the sofa, willing ourselves to be motivated which results in our mind convincing us its okay if we don't complete today's tasks they can wait until another time but then we feel guilty. This is LIMBO. If this is you recognising it and planning time to wake up and motivate yourself into your designer week can reduce the negative emotions limbo can bring up as you have allowed it for example, I will wake at 9.00am eat breakfast, have a cup of tea, get washed/dressed and watch some morning television. I give myself an hour to enjoy and value this time then at 10.00am I know my day starts.
Master your routine.
I am a huge fan of having a routine you but you must be its master not its servant. When used mindfully routine can create more time and energy. Routine and habit go hand in hand, creating a good routine is about creating habits.
When saying yes, think to yourself 'if I say yes to this, what other activity will it take time away from.' The mistake most of us make is to say yes without thinking of its impact on our values, so then end up living according to the values of others rather than our own. The problem is that lots of us find it super difficult to say no to other people but when we constantly say yes to others we are actually saying no to ourselves.
From far away, even elephants look small; but when they come up close, they are as large as they always are. Remember this concept, when you make plans for the future they may seem small but as they get closer the actual magnitude maybe very different so do not commit yourself to unimportant activities no matter how far ahead they are. Think how you would respond if the plan was in the short term, if the answer would be no, it should still be no for the long term.
When faced with a large task it can be overwhelming and very daunting so much so that you never start them but trying thinking of a large task like tapas, a large task (meal) broken up in to a series of small tasks (dishes). The large task will be completed in small manageable tapas chunks rather than attempting to eat everything all at once.
A place for perfectionism.
Perfectionism can result in time wasted and goals or values never been met. There is a place for perfectionism but for most activities, there comes a stage when there is not much to be gained from putting in a great deal more effort.
Recognise the activities that do not require perfection to save time.
So, my advice would be try not to set resolutions for 2019 because they can be limiting instead think about what is important to you and use this to fulfil and centre your life. Making more time in 2019, for the things that will help you to grow in whichever way you wish.
Author Faye Johnson