We each have 168 hours in a week. Yes, that’s all we get! Odds are, you are trying to squeeze every last second out of every minute. The only way I know to ensure that I complete my tasks and responsibilities is to do a little planning. Eeeeek! Don’t worry, I have a simple planning exercise that will actually help you find time within your already cramped schedule : )
As a working mom and part-time student I am the star of my very show! The “Balancing Act starring little ole me. No, I am not trying to kill myself just committed to meeting my career and retirement goals.
Act I – I plan just about every aspect in my life. (except the unexpected) From work, family time, study time, personal time, drive time, chores, travel, school, kids, free time, etc….. Head spinning yet? lol You name it and I can plan the heck out of it!
Act II – If too much time is spent on one task, the others tend to suffer. So the goal is to try and keep everything as balanced AS possible. Some days may seem busier than others, so I try to make up for them at the end of the week or on the weekend.
Act III – Know your limits and abilities. This exercise is to make life easier, NOT harder. It is a good idea to add a little extra time to tasks like commuting, due to unexpected delays. This tip will help when anxiety starts to build and the unexpected pops up!
Time management exercises benefit all aspects of our lives, so there is no better time to start planning. I promise that you will accomplish more in one day than usual, and you will likely find a little extra time as well!
Main Act – Getting started!
First step is to determine what your week looks like. Most people have their typical work day, then you maybe you have a day where you attend school or travel? The objective is to list each day out. Next make a list of what tasks are necessary for each of these days. Last, determine how much time each of the tasks needs.You should start to develop a chart to keep your days, activities and time required organized. Once your chart is complete, take a look at any areas that are known for delays. Add a little extra to these tasks. Complete this exercise for each different day of the week. When you are done, your chart should look similar to the sample below.
Closing Act – Hopefully, this “time blocking” exercise gave you a quick snap shot of where your time is spent. This tool is beneficial when you are thinking about adding a new activity to your schedule, changing your work hours or when your kids want to participate in an afterschool activity. Don’t be discouraged if you cannot fit everything in. Go back and prioritize the tasks/categories that are the most important. What can wait? What are your non-negotiables? I would love to play on a Tennis team again, but my schedule will not allow it right now. Finishing my degree is more important and someday I know, I will be back on the courts! If I can reach my career and financial goals, more time with my family and doing the things I love will be the fruits of my labor.