SHOP THE POST
In the past year, my life has changed a LOT. I've moved twice, gotten married, and completely changed my career path. In the midst of it all, one thing that I've been constantly chasing, is time.
Not enough time to plan a wedding, needing more time to move homes, and managing a timeline to change jobs... our lives revolve around time, yet it seems to escape us so easily!
On a daily basis, I find myself in a perpetual battle with the clock, never getting that coveted free time I had hoped for.
I'm beginning to realize how precious my time is, and that if I can manage it properly, my life will be a heck of a lot easier. I can have date night with my hubby, keep a clean house, cook dinners, pursue my career, and maybe even get a little me-time ;)
I've come up with a few time management tips that seem to be working for me right now, and hopefully can help you earn that little moment for yourself that you are seeking.
I think the biggest determinant for each of us, before beginning to plan, is to rank what is MOST important to you. In other words, prioritize. Since getting married my priorities have changes a bit, and I make sure to put things involving my husband in the upfront of my to-do list. Another thing that is very important to me is my own health and wellbeing! That being said, trips to the gym and to the farmer's market are towards the top of my list. Whatever your priorities may be, define them first, before diving into a plan.
Use an Agenda/Planner
This is a tactic that I have been using for YEARS! And when I say "years" I mean I think I came out of the whom with a planner in my hand, lol. But seriously, I live by my planner, and it is the holy grail of my life!!!
My older brothers and my husband always poke fun at me for being so serious about my planner, but in all honesty, it just makes my life simpler. I'm really bad at making mental notes, and trying to remind myself of things, so with my planner, I write down everything that I have planned, need to plan, need to do, etc., and then it isn't clouding up my brain and taking up any space (lord knows I've got plenty up there), haha.
Within my planner, I write out several different lists. On the "month at a glance page," I write out my appointments, travel dates, birthdays, etc.. Then there is a section where I can write out a list for each day of the year, and this is where I write my daily to-do list. This includes tasks such as paying bills, going to the grocery store, reminders to email someone, and so on. Throughout my day I check off what I get done, and the tasks that are left get pushed to the next day. Lastly, there is a "Notes" section in my planner, and this is where I write down random thoughts that come to me, like blog post ideas, something I saw online that I want to buy, ideas for my house... you get the idea.
My method probably sounds a little overboard, but that's just how my crazy self functions, haha!
Now my oldest brother is very tech-savvy and uses his iCal, and Google Drive as his planner, but for some reason I have to write it out in a physical planner.
There is no "right" way to do it - just find a system that works for you and try to be consistent with it!
Take the first 30 minutes of your work day planning out your to-do list for the day. Maybe write down your day at a glance, a few goals you'd like to reach, or even some ideas that you had in the shower this morning, lol. Get focused before you start working, and you will be so much more productive.
Do Some Prepping
Sometimes I think I am a total nut because I find myself thinking like 50 million steps ahead of myself, but in some instances is does work in my favor! Planning ahead is something I've always done, ever since I was a little girl in grade school. My mom would have me pick out my outfits every Sunday night, for the entire week. Now granted, I changed my mind on my outfit everyday, lol, but this was still a major time saver for both of us. My mom would also take my brothers and I to the store on the weekends to pick out what snacks we wanted for our lunches for the week. She would have everything packed and ready to go the night before!
Though I hated this as a kid, I've now adopted it into my weekly routines.
I even still pick out my outfits for the week on Sunday nights, lol. Most days I am running around in athletic clothes, and my hair in a messy pony, but when I know I have a shoot, or an event, it makes it so much easier to know I have a few outfit options already picked out and ready to wear!
I've recently been getting into meal prepping as well, and I'm totally loving it. I prep on Sunday and Wednesday nights, and it's making my life so much easier. Now I'm not wasting half of my day staring into my bare pantry, wondering what I'm going to eat for lunch, but I am saving time deciding on a meal, grocery shopping, AND cooking.
Plan A Little "Me-Time"
I know that undistracted, peaceful, alone time is hard to come by for a lot of us. Most of the time if you're alone, you have a million things to do, or your phone is buzzing with emails and calls. It's difficult to get away entirely.
For me, I like to use my daily workout as my me-time. I workout for an hour a day, first thing every morning. I put my headphones in, and simply focus on myself. I love starting my day this way because not only do I feel accomplished, but I've had the time to think through my day, clear my head, and now I'm ready to get going!
There are so many things you could do to sneak in a little time for yourself. Change it up, and find what works.
Plan Specific Time for Family and Friends
If you're married or in a relationship, I think it is so important that you carve out a specific night each week to have a date night with your significant other. This may be as simple as cooking dinner at home and catching up on your favorite Netflix series, or as fancy as hitting up a five star restaurant! I know my husband and I are guilty of getting too busy sometimes, and we often just catch each other in passing. When we realized we "didn't have time for date night," that's when we decided to MAKE time for it.
We've recently decided to plan date night on the same night every week, and do something different each date night. This keeps it interesting and fun for both of us! You can even take turns picking the date night activities!
As for your family and friends, don't get too busy that you don't make time for them. Maybe decide to have a once a week GNO! Get creative with your plans!
Clean When You Can
I am a total clean freak, so when I get to cleaning, sometimes I just can't get myself to stop, lol. Hoping there is someone else out there that can relate to me, HAHA! For me, there is always going to be a mess to clean up, or something that can be tidied a little more, but I take one full day in the week to do a deep clean. I catch up on my laundry, run the dishwasher, organize, all the works! This makes it easy for me to just simply maintain the house for the rest of the week.
For some of you, you hate cleaning, and it may be more effective to split up your duties through out the week!
Plan for Interrupted Time
I think we have all had days where we had so much to get done, and every intention to get it done, but somehow got interrupted a million times and ended our day feeling totally unproductive. Yup, you know that day well! I think it's always effective for me to actually PLAN for these interruptions. Sure, you don't know when they will be, or how much time they will consume, but maybe take a few things off of your to-do list for the day. This prevents that overwhelmed feeling when you look at your to-do list and didn't get everything checked off because your best friend just cried to you for an hour about her recent break-up, lol. Basically, I'm saying don't be too ambitious, and expect to get it all done without an interruption or two.
Of course, I could go on forever (lol) but I will spare you all!
I know we all have different things that make us tick, and that my planning tactics may not work for all of you, but hopefully these tips give you all some clarity on how you can have a more effective work day and maybe even find a little time for yourself. :)