Today I found myself wondering, “where is the year going?!” It’s already the middle of April and it feels like Christmas was only last week! The first quarter has just disappeared, and I’m not sure I’ve used my time effectively. Sure, I’ve been ‘busy’ and things have been happening, but am I where I thought I’d be at this time of the year in terms of my goals? Not quite…
So of course I go into self-protection mode and remind myself that I’m a working mum and the toddler makes things tricky. I remind myself of all the things I HAVE achieved so far this year… and there’s actually a bit there to be proud of. But I’m not letting myself completely off the hook.
Time management can make or break us. I know I’ve heard from a lot of readers who have said this is their weakness, so I’d like to focus more on this in coming posts. I have so many thoughts on time management and it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship for me!
Sometimes I’m pretty good with my time management, but at other times it all falls apart and I end up wasting a lot of time or being pretend-busy. The last few months have been a little bit of a blur, so these are the things I’m going to focus on to get myself back on track, and I’ll be back soon with some more specific time management thoughts and tips.
In the meantime, check out 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think if this is something you’re really into!
Track your time
The best way I’ve found to manage my time better is to actually think about time. Focus on it. Be honest with yourself about how you spend each chunk of time in your day. And the most accurate way of doing this is to track your time in half-hour blocks. It not only helps you to see where you’re losing time, but also helps to keep you accountable and motivate you to do something productive with your time. You don’t really want to write down that you just spent an hour scrolling mindlessly through Facebook.
Make your down-time worthwhile
Using time effectively doesn’t mean you have to be constantly doing something. Rest is important too. But if you don’t feel refreshed or energised after your chill-out time, then you’re doin’ it wrong. If I spend an hour scrolling through Facebook and I come away from it with nothing but a headache and general feeling of annoyance, then I’ve wasted my time. But if I watch a 1-hour episode of a TV series with my husband and we connect over it and laugh about it or chat about it afterwards, then the down-time was worthwhile.
Switch to something more productive
When you catch yourself doing something that’s not serving a purpose, switch to something more productive. Think about what you could be doing right now that’s going to get you closer to your goals. Whether it means getting your shoes on and going for a run, Googling a healthy recipe for dinner, putting a load of washing away, or doing some research for a project you’re working on, there’s always something productive that you can fit in right now with the time and the energy that you have. Put down your phone and just do something. One trap I fall into is thinking that I can’t do anything while my toddler is around because he slows me down, gets in my way, wants me to pick him up all the time etc. And sure, I can’t write an essay or clean the whole house while he’s around, but I can probably put a few things away or write up a meal plan for the week.
Time to wrap it up…
Just being conscious of what I’m doing and what my goals are helps me to use my time more effectively. But it takes practice to maintain this consciousness. It’s so easy to get sucked into the busy-ness and exhaustion of everyday life, but then before you know it, the year has slipped away and you haven’t achieved what you set out to achieve.
Increase your awareness of where your time is going. Let’s start thinking about it now so that we can still fit everything we want to do into the rest of the year. Leave me a comment to let me know your best time management tips, or your biggest time management problems!