Time management is an important skill to have in today's fast paced, busy society.

Do you feel like you need to be Superman to get everything done in your day? Are you constantly overwhelmed and feel like there just are not enough hours in the day?! If so, keep reading; as I am going in depth on how to manage your time more effectively.

If there is one thing that I have become particularly gifted at throughout the past few years of my life, it’s time management. I mastered this skill quickly during college when I had poor time management skills my freshmen year. I was beyond stressed; I LITERALLY was rushed to the hospital due to an ulcer. At one point in college I worked almost 30 hours a week, had an unpaid internship, volunteered, was taking 17 credits, worked out daily, and managed to make a few organic meals here and there.

A few months ago I transitioned from college to the “real world.” As I expected, things still stayed crazy busy and I found myself struggling to adjust to work life. So how was I finally able to manage my time? In this post, I give you a step by step guide to help improve your time-management skills. Keep in mind, I don’t have kids. I realize things get A LOT more complicated when your family extends. However, I still consider myself incredibly busy; as I work 50 hours a week, have daily obligations, blog regularly, and still would like to keep a social life.

Step #1: Make a Schedule

Making a schedule will be an incredibly useful tool for you to get your life in order and not feel so panicked all of the time. Start by writing your entire day down; keep it very detailed and precise. When you start to go over the time of your allotted activity, you will begin to realize where you are wasting time. Once you practice your schedule, it will become routine to you and you won’t need it.

Here is an example of an average day in my life:

Monday-Friday

4:30am- Wake up
4:50am-Get to the fitness center
5:45am-Leave fitness center
5:50-6:30- Shower/get ready for work, eat breakfast
6:30am-Leave for commute to work
7:00am-5:00pm- Work
5:00pm-5:30pm-Commute home
5:30pm-6:00pm-Make dinner
6:00-6:30-Eat dinner
6:30pm-7:00pm- Dishes/make lunch for tomorrow/cleaning up any mess I made
7:00pm-10:00pm- Unwind time/blogging
10:00- In bed, lights out, DEVICES PUT AWAY

Notes:
*Weekends:

Saturday is usually my only day of the week that is not planned. It’s my day to truly let loose, have fun, get out of the house, and not worry about anything I have to do (unless there is a deadline). Sundays are my “catch up” day. They are dedicated to laundry, grocery shopping, and meal prep. It’s a huge pain if I have to do extra chores during the week. I use Sundays to catch up on cleaning, grocery shopping and prepare meals. Meal prep will save you SO MUCH TIME. Prepare your meals ahead of time so every night you don’t have to: A.) get an unhealthy meal like fast food, or B.) slave away every night in the kitchen. An example of my meal prep is that Sunday I will brown my hamburger, sauté my veggies, cook my chicken, bag my snacks for lunch, etc.  The point of meal prep is so that I can prepare healthy meals ahead of time and refrigerate them. This way, I can grab a meal on the go during my workweek, or have a quick dinner to come home too.  Or, I will make several sandwiches so I can quick stuff them in my lunch bag. I hate not having a free Sunday because then it usually means I have to get these jobs done during my work week, which can be a hassle.

*Plan for distractions. We can’t be perfect and remain on schedule all of the time. When we are trying to accomplish something at work or elsewhere, things will inevitably come up and sometimes get you off schedule. For example, when I was leaving the gym last week, I ran into someone I knew and we had a longer conversation that I wanted to, which cut in on my shower time. Be prepared for occasional distractions in; you are only human and WILL get of track at some point because of things you cannot control.

Step #2: Don’t Forget the Necessities

No matter how busy life gets, I never forget to take care of myself. Working out is a huge part of my life. When I transitioned from college to a full-time job, I really struggled trying to get my workouts in. You need to create a schedule that works best for you. Just because I work out in the morning doesn’t mean this may be beneficial for you. I know a lot of people who walk around their building during their lunch break with co-workers to sneak a 30 minute walk in. Know yourself. I know that if I don’t get my workout done in the morning, it won’t get done at all! Because of this, I trained my body to get up at 4:30. I know it sounds crazy to be at the gym before 5am. Ask me last year if I ever thought that I could get up that early. . . no way! It just becomes routine and your body gets used to the wake time if you consistently go to bed at a reasonable hour to give yourself enough sleep. Speaking of which. . .

Don’t forget sleep. The hardest part for me was getting myself in bed at a reasonable hour and putting my electronic devices away. I’m slowly trying to get myself in bed by 9:30pm; I know I should be getting more sleep but it’s SO HARD for me to go to bed before 10pm! However, sometimes I am so exhausted that I fall asleep at 8pm! It’s all about that routine.

Step #3: Make Weekly Goals to Keep Yourself Accountable

Make little goals for what you want to accomplish. For example: This week my goal is to work out three days before work. That way, I am keeping myself accountable so there is NO EXCUSE for skipping my workouts this week!

I found the cutest goal journal that has been most helpful for me in tracking my goals that I strongly recommend.

Step #4: Prioritize

Make sure you are prioritizing your time and putting the most important things that need to get done at the top of your list. First things come first!!

Step #5: Don’t be a Time-Waster

I use every opportunity I can to get ahead when I have a busy day. For example, I use my lunch breaks at work to be productive. I schedule my dentist visits, call my bank, etc. In addition, I cut down the texting. Have you ever noticed how much time texting takes?! I’m SO over it!! I never feel like texting anymore. I don’t text unless I absolutely need to; I call. In fact, I’ve gotten so lazy that sometimes at home I use the microphone to speak into my iPhone so it can write my texts for me. Pathetic, right? Saves time, though! Also, don’t forget to cut down on the social media. I know this is easier said than done. If you are feeling REALLY ambitious, consider even scheduling in your social media time to your written daily plan. It will help break the habit.

Hopefully, these tips will make you feel less stressed and in more control of your life. Time management is a skill that is improved with practice and careful planning. You would be amazed at how many things you can get done if you use the time you are given effectively.

Do you feel like you struggle managing your time? What personally works best for you? I would love to hear in the comments below.

Happy Tuesday!

Xoxo,

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  • I love your idea for Sunday meal prep! I feel like the second I step through the door every single day, I am scrambling around trying to have dinner done by 5:30. It takes a solid hour (at least!) out of your precious free time in the evenings. To manage my time, I am definitely a list maker! It feels so good physically crossing off your daily accomplishments…even if it is just one thing 😉

    • Inspiration Indulgence

      Yes!!! I take it that you are very “Type A” personality like me, lol! I love to make lists because of the reason you stated; it just feels so good to cross something off because that means, hey, at least I accomplished something! haha. I know…this week has been dragging for me and I did a lot of quick easy meals. I need to get back in the habit of mealprepping because it is a LIFESAVER!!! I only have a few free hours after work before I have to go to bed and start my day all over again, and I definitely don’t want to spend an hour cooking!! Thanks for reading!

  • Yes Chelsea! High-five for early morning workouts. I immediately scanned the post for the ‘cut down social media’ tip too. Can be such a time-killer. I really like this blog x

    • Inspiration Indulgence

      Yes!! Thanks for reading Joe! …the early morning workouts are a work in progress, lol. It’s still really hard for me to get up that early. But I usually manage to do it 3 times a week. And agreed! My life has SIGNIFICANTLY improved since I cut that down. Thank you so much for your support! :) Great to meet you!

  • Reading this was helpful but it also made me wonder what your star sign is? :)

    • Inspiration Indulgence

      Oops! It wasn’t meant to confuse, it was meant just to indicate that I made a little sidenote. Sorry for the confusion! Thanks for reading!! 😀

  • great ideas.

    • Inspiration Indulgence

      Thank you so much! :)

  • This is almost tailored to my needs right now! Very good read, very useful.

    • Inspiration Indulgence

      I’m so glad it came in useful! :)

  • Great tips! I especially love the one about not forgetting the necessities. Sleep is so vital to my productivity and happiness!

    • Inspiration Indulgence

      Same here!! If I don’t sleep, it is NOT good!! Coffee can only last for so long! haha. Thanks for reading pretty lady!

  • Anonymous

    I definitely needed to read this article, I’m awful when it comes to time management. Finally broke down & got myself a Lilly Pulitizer planner that was on clearance and make sure to write everything I have to do each day in it & cross it out when it’s complete. Helps me stay on track. I’ve been making good use of my lunch break too by making my phone calls & writing my next blog post. Cheers to becoming more organized ! :)

    • Yay! I am an organization freak, so I know how good it feels to check something off the list! OMG I totally need a new planner! Mine is really boring and just BLAH looking! I’m looking for a cute one but I can’t seem to find anywhere cheap! Glad you are managing your time better and staying on top of the things you have to do :)

  • While it is a tad impossible these days (new baby) to keep a schedule, I find even a rough one make my days a lot more productive. Putting the phone down just in general really amps up how much I get done!

    • I give you credit for even trying to KEEP a schedule with a new baby!! And for sure…I’ve found that putting my phone down helps a ton. I just need help doing that lol

  • Yes to all these tips!! Each one seems small, but together they really do make a huge difference. Lately I’ve been trying to get up earlier so I can have a real morning routine and not feel so rushed. I started setting my alarm for 10 minutes earlier each week (and then another 10 and another 10), and now it just feels normal. I also try to meal prep on Sundays — I really, really hate it, but it does help so much throughout the week. Thanks for sharing these great ideas!

    • I hate meal prepping too, but it’s always worth the trouble on Sunday night!! And agreed..I’ve been slacking lately with getting up earlier. I need to get back into my old routine!

  • Great tips! I really need to get back in control of my time and make it back to the gym. It’s just so hard!

    • I don’t blame you, Angie..I wrote this post a few months ago and my routine has been slowly going out the door. I’ve been sacrificing sleep for working out. I need to get back into the swing of things, go to bed earlier, and commit to getting up to workout! We can do it together!!

  • These are great tips! I just relocated to a new state with my husband and it’s been a struggle to get back into a routine. I definitely need to start writing out my goals and schedules so I can go back to being productive!

    • I think that writing things down is what usually ends up working the best for me. If I don’t accomplish something off my list, I feel really guilty!! You can do it, I have faith in you!! :)

  • Our days are very unstructured but I stay home with my kid and with one car we don’t go anywhere during the week until dad gets home. But, writing all the things down that need to get done each days helps me. Having lunch and dinner written down, and the daily chore is a must or I’d never get anything done. And getting up early too! For me I’m just more productive during the morning, so it is a perk to get up before the kid. I use to be much more structured in college though. Definitely helps to have a routine and prep ahead.

    • For sure!!! I am more productive in the mornings as well. That’s why I have been struggling lately with working 50 hours a week because if I don’t get up early, I am screwed for the day. I am always too tired to workout or get anything done after work. If I don’t have a routine, I feel like I don’t accomplish anything! Thanks for reading!

  • Great ideas! I have to make lists and write everything down or else I forget…everything. It is so bad. I feel like a schedule would be great, and needed, but our schedule can be so sporadic depending on the day and what we have going on, so sometimes I feel like I waste time not knowing what to accomplish! Next year when both my kids are in school, there will be more of a routine and not as much down time!

    • OMG I am the same way! I literally waste time not knowing what to accomplish sometimes too! A list is a must. The only thing is- I get anxiety if I don’t finish everything on the list! That is my biggest problem. I feel like a failure by the end of the day if I didn’t get everything finished.

  • I love to schedule things. I did Marie Forleo’s B School last year and that was one of her tips. Put it on your calendar and it makes it real. I was so busy last year I actually scheduled time to take my dog for a long walk!

    • OMG that’s literally my life!!! I have to write things down like “laundry” or “dishes”…or else they won’t get done!! Thanks for reading!

  • I need to get some dishes done. Looks like I am not going to bed yet.