Today’s society is all about moving and getting things done. When that attitude is prevalent, people can get overwhelmed. Time is precious, and there never seems to be enough to get the to-do list finished. This is especially so for women.
They tend to have to balance a work life and a home life, sometimes with children. They are usually the primary caregiver and housekeeper, and some are balancing that with a full-time job outside the home. Things get stressful, and it becomes impossible to keep up.
Among the percentage of the population that is female and employed outside the home, there is a portion of the group that manages to balance work and home responsibilities while staying motivated and sane. These women know what it is to live full lives where the day is filled with activities and appointments. Still, they manage to keep it all together and get everything done. If you are asking how they manage all of this, there are two possibilities.
The first possibility is that they are successful in their perception of themselves and their workload. This is an internal mechanism that allows for success no matter what responsibilities are piling up. Women who see themselves as successful and have an objective way of looking at the day ahead realize what is important and make sure to handle the tasks accordingly.
They also understand that having a positive self-image lends to your ability to manage your life in a positive way. Therefore, successful women look at life in a positive light, and their success grows from that perspective.
The other is a successful effort at organization. This is an external method of success, and this is the basis for this article. Women who are successful in organizing their life manage to finish everything they set out to do. Consider the following elements as the route to positive organization of your lifestyle.
Keep Track of Time Spent
Making an account of the things you need to do and the time you need to devote to them is a good way to start getting organized. To do this, you need to invest in something as simple as a notebook of some sort. It can be any notebook; lined or unlined, bound or spiral, recycled or not. Find a journal that you like seeing since you will be using it often.
Once you have the notebook, it is a good time to recognize the way you spend your time. Use the notebook to keep track of tasks you complete and things you cannot get to because you run out of time. Write down things you do that waste time, and also keep track of stuff that you do that improve your life. For each thing you do, regardless of a positive or negative impact on your life, write down how much time it took to complete the activity.
Avoid making to-do lists in this notebook. That is not the current goal. Instead, you are trying to determine how much time you spend on different activities in your life. Sometimes, the best way to improve something is to take an honest look at the way it is done currently.
At the end of the day, write down how you feel about the day. Write how you feel about the way you spend your time and if there are areas you want to change, feel free to write that down. Making yourself accountable in writing sometimes increases your efforts to change that behavior for the next day.
Prioritize and Stick to It
In your notebook, make a list of the five most important things in your life. That can be your family, your faith, health or furthering your education. Whatever the priority is, make a note of it. This is your personal account of your preferences, so remember that the most important thing now is, to be honest.
No one else needs to see this, so you need to write down your real priorities and not be concerned about how others might feel if they saw your list.
For each of these five priorities, write down how much time you spend on them during the average week. Then, consider how much time you would rather devote to each of those priorities.
Next, for each area, write down specific tasks you could do to ensure you are spending time on that priority. You can list things you can do to improve your health, reinforce your connection with God or improve your understanding of something at work.
Once you have items listed for each priority, look at the calendar for the week ahead and schedule time for some of these tasks. One task for each priority is a good way to start. Once you have scheduled the job at a particular time, make sure you go through with your plan.
This is an important start to improving the way things go in your life. Following through with an arrange task is a confidence boost since it is an achievement on your part.
Learn to Let Go of Tasks You Don’t Like
For this step, write down things you do not like to do. Everyone has activities they attend because he or she think they are obligated to do so. They also have things they need to do to live their life, like going to their job or handling bills.
Label each task with a number: use 1 for things you feel you spend too much time on, use 2 for things you can stop doing but feel you should keep doing and 3 for things you can not avoid doing.
Once you have the functions labeled, give yourself a time limit for the items marked 1 that you do each day. Set a timer and do those things (like check your email or watch tv) and then when the timer goes off, stop doing those things. Instead, do something that is on your list that you never have time to complete. Start with the small stuff that won’t take much time to complete.
Next, look at your list of 2’s. What on that list is done only because you think you should? If there are tasks that are taking up your time but not improving your life in any way, now is the time to recognize that and free up time for more important things. For items that you can not stop doing, move them to the three list.
For the list of items marked with 3, ask yourself the following: are there any ways you can cut down on time spent doing these things? Even if they have to be done, maybe you do not have to spend as much time on them. Consider each one of these items by itself.
Allow yourself to recognize that you are not improving your life by working over your lunch if you are not getting paid for that overtime. Instead, choose to use that time for another task that is important.
For time spent at work, if you feel you need to get all the overtime possible, change your approach. Look at the family budget. See if there are areas that can be cut in spending, so you do not need to make as much money at work. That way, you can free up a time to handle other tasks in your life that need to be completed.
Recognize Your Success
Keep using your journal. Make sure you have prioritized the five most important things in your life and cut out the five least significant things that were taking up time and not providing any benefit. Sticking with a written account of time spent and tasks that are not being done will keep you honest. It will minimize your use of excuses to allow you to keep bad habits alive.
During the week, sit down and evaluate the use of your time. Be honest about how you feel about your schedule. Include details like stress level and emotional strain. If you are still struggling and feel like you are not keeping up, why is that?
Look at the things that still aren’t getting done. Consider if they are important or not. It is also important at this point to be able to understand what items need to be done promptly and what tasks have flexibility.
For those tasks that didn’t get done, make three lists: things that have to be done (pay bills or finish work projects), things that need to be done (laundry and vacuuming) and things that should be done (like a more thorough cleaning of your home or washing the curtains).
For next week, make sure you are filling in free time on your calendar and in your notebook with things that have to be done first. Next, write down the things that need to be done. If there is time left, that is when you schedule in things that should be done.
Once you have been keeping track of the way your time is spent for two to three weeks, you should not only see a pattern but an improvement in cutting out things that take up precious time and don’t improve your life. You should see your mood improve as well since you realize you are in better control of your day and can indeed finish those tasks you never thought you would complete.
Be honest with yourself and avoid punishing yourself for a bad day or for slacking in a particular area. Take that into account and be sure to improve on that for the next day or next week. Recognize the improvements to your scheduling technique and be proud of your ability to change and do things more efficiently.
Always remember that schedules can be very fluid. You have the potential to overcome a bad day and improve your efforts to get things done. Don’t give up and fall back into bad habits. Keep working toward improvement, and soon you will realize that your time management is significantly better than it used to be.
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