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In these modern and demanding times, time management is a skill that everyone should be building. We all have the same number of hours in a day, but how does one use this time more effectively?
As a mom with a toddler, full time career, and branching out into a few entrepreneurial ventures (i.e. “side hustles”), I was desperate to find better ways to juggle it all. I wanted to manage these activities, but not at the expense of my health and family.
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it seemed like we had all the time in the world but I didn’t have the skills to manage it in the most productive way. I started researching and reflecting until I found some specific strategies.
Here are three that were most helpful.
It’s one thing to say that your top priorities are your health, your marriage, your family, or your career. However, if you do not have regular activities or routines to build these areas, then you might need to take another look.
Sit down and make a list of what you believe your priorities should be. Then decide on what activities you will do to develop or strengthen those areas. It could mean attending a webinar for professional development, going for a run for physical health or having a date night for your marriage.
Bonus tip: Your physical, mental, emotional and physical health should be at the top of the list. Learn from my own mistake of putting that at the bottom, which serves no one and puts your other priorities at risk. Remember that you cannot pour from an empty cup.
It’s not enough to know what you should be doing; you need to actually do it. Be intentional. On a weekly basis, add these activities to your calendar. Use reminders if you have to. Get into a routine.
A useful tool is the Google calendar, where there is an option to create categories and colour code them. For example, you can create a category for exercise in the colour red and one for family time in green. This helps give you a visual on whether you are spending enough time on each priority. If you start seeing a colour dominating much more than the others, then you need to revisit and figure out a more holistic strategy.
This holistic strategy may vary based on the specific goals you are working on at that time. Your goals would determine whether your activities would be routine, occasional or project-based. At the beginning of each month, define your daily, weekly and monthly goals based on your list of priorities. A rewarding way of doing this is in the form of a checklist (daily, weekly and monthly). There is nothing like the satisfaction of checking things of your goal list! It gives you extra motivation. You can then plan activities towards these goals and plug them into your calendar.
There are also many web and mobile apps like Asana and Todoist that help you stay on track. You can even set deadlines and see your progress.
The key to time management is planning around your priorities. Once you decide on what is important to you, then getting things done more efficiently and effectively comes easier. However, you also need to find tools and techniques that can keep you on track and give you a sense of accountability.
As Peter Drucker said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
Note: These tips and some other useful tools were inspired by the Conquer Your Calendar course from mom of 8 and coach, Lisa Canning. You can read my blog review here - https://www.mindofyash.com/how-i-conquered-my-calendar-during-quarantine/.
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