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“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
—John C. Maxwell
What is your daily time routine?
Habits and time management go hand-in-hand. If you want to maximize your time, you need to put habits in place that will help you follow those guidelines.
Next week you will learn what keeps habits in place. But first, let’s set up a time management program that works for you.
Time management is more than making to-do lists.
We all make lists of things to be done and then either abandon them or become stressed in the process of trying to get everything done. And we tend to do the things we like doing first and then put the rest on hold until we feel like it.
While to-do lists are helpful reminders, managing and prioritizing your overall time comes first.
Time management begins with reviewing how you currently spend your time every day.
- What tasks are left undone and how does impact everything else you are trying to accomplish?
- Are you substituting to-do lists for a time management schedule?
To-do lists involve incidentals that need our attention. Time management sets a structure with dependable routines, so you delegate your time to get things done.
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”
After putting together a time management plan for each day, revisit your to-do lists.
- How much time is needed to accomplish each task?
- How can I fit it into my regular schedule?
- Does that task need to be done today?
- If it is a large project, how can I break it down into manageable segments?
“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”
Last week you kept a record of how you spent your time for a week, your daily habits and routines, and what you did at various times of the day from morning to night. Review your record again with the following questions in mind.
- What habits keep you from accomplishing necessary chores each day? Perhaps it was putting off for tomorrow what could be done today. Write them down specifically.
- Did you schedule “down” times as well as work times? Without scheduled times for needed relaxation, we will neglect chores in favor of just relaxing.
- What problems are being ignored because you keep putting them off for tomorrow?
- What personal responsibility are you avoiding? Our denial systems can become very active taking us off the hook while blaming others.
- How does one problem area affect another and what habits of behavior are consistent between each of the problem areas? Example: putting off daily chores ends with an unorganized and messy home that then affects every aspect of day to day life. For example, not taking time to hang up clothes, ends with a pile of jumbled clothes at the end of the week and difficulty finding what you wanted to wear.
- Which areas create a domino effect, constantly affecting all the other areas in your life? For example, if 75% of your time is spent on work while neglecting family, social, spiritual life, etc. your life will become imbalanced.
“There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.”
5 basic tips to take charge of your time and your life
Where do you begin to make the changes needed to take charge of your time and energy? Here are five basic ways to take charge of your time and your life.
Start with a sheet of paper that has time increment spaces for an entire day. Then as you look at the suggestions below, begin putting a dependable routine in place.
- What routines or schedules need to be in place and followed each day to keep life running smoothly? Make a list of them along with the time needed to complete them. For example: when you get up, mealtimes, work schedules, cleanup times, home maintenance habits, bedtime, etc.
- What needs to be done each week: laundry, general household cleaning, shopping, etc. Extend your planning to include a monthly calendar. Designate a time when you will do these things either weekly or monthly.
- List projects you want to work on. They can be pleasurable or things that need to be done. These can range from cleaning out your closet or garage, to gardening, planning trips, helping family members, taking on-line classes, etc. These are things you can work on after the basics are done. If a project or chore is large, break it up into small chunks. For example, your closet is a mess and it becomes an overwhelming task, so you put off organizing it. Break the job into manageable segments and do one at a time. Accomplishment is a great motivator.
- Once daily routines are established and followed, look at your to-do list and prioritize. Tackle first what is most needed even if that is least pleasurable.
- Set aside time each day for relaxation. This isn’t just for social activity. This is a time to rekindle your spirit and let go of your stress. It can be a time for meditation, reading or becoming immersed in a project you love that not only lowers stress but gives you great pleasure.
We have 24 hours each day.
- How do you want to spend them?
- Have you avoided making future goals because you haven’t been successful in the past?
- What new habits can you put in place to make your time truly your time?
Next week, we will look explore what keeps our habits in place. How are they being reinforced? And how can I put that reinforcement in habits that are helpful to me?
We need validation for the turmoil of thoughts and emotions we experience. But we also need the tools necessary to create a new beginning that is both satisfying and meaningful. My new book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, offers those tools to help work through the problems you might be facing.