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:
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
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
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.
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