How many times have you thought, There isn’t enough time in the day! or, How will I ever get it all done? If you constantly feel pinched for time, you’ll appreciate this guest post by Kathy Brunner. Take a quick coffee break and learn a few tips for getting more out of your day.
Several years ago I came across a statement which made me think about how I treated the time I was allotted and since then I have made a conscious effort to see the value in having a schedule that holds me accountable.
“Time is a precious commodity; so precious it is only given to us moment by moment. We can neither have one moment back or store up the next for the future.”
Just like having a budget for your money can help you easily discover where you money goes, making a “time budget” will most definitely afford you an opportunity to discern how much time you really have and how you spend it.
Where Does It All Go?
Keeping a log for several weeks of how you spend your time, raises your awareness of how precious moments slip through your fingers because you spent them carelessly on something you didn’t need or really want. (Ever notice how easily you can become distracted by a phone call or even TV playing in the background?)
Take It One Month at a Time
To start making a “time budget”, begin taking one month at a time and block off whatever must be done each week.
* If you do weekly grocery shopping, laundry, personal appointments, those get blocked off as does the amount of time it takes to complete them including time it takes to travel to the appointment, grocery store etc.
* If you have regular commitments (job, volunteer commitments, nightly homework review for children etc.) those get blocked out as well.
Use Your Free Time Wisely with M.O.
After completing your “time budget” with the non-negotiable blocks, including sleeping, the rest is “free time.” Granted “free time” is not necessarily free but time available at your discretion to use to reach your Monthly Objectives or as I refer to it my M.O. (Monthly Objectives).
Mapping Out Your M.O.
I have personal and professional Monthly Objectives. I used my M.O. to determine what steps I must take weekly to complete them by the month’s end. I schedule these steps around my non-negotiable time slots.
Can you multi-task?
When possible, I multi-task to free up more time. Many household tasks can be completed while doing other things. For example, I can…
*Cook while doing laundry and houseclean while listening to books or seminars on tape.
*Make phone calls while waiting to have the oil changed.
*Dictate a blog post while waiting for an appointment. (Voice recognition software is great for time budgets!)
Multiply Your Time
Once I begin mapping my month out with goals I expect myself to reach weekly, I actually feel I have more time for things I want to do than those I have to do. There is nothing worse than having a ton of ideas you want to get started but allowing those precious moments to slip by hour by hour, day by day, week by week because you haven’t made a plan to address how you will achieve your goals.
Assess Your Progress
The last week of every month, I schedule time to assess whether I was able to reach all of my M.O.’s and map out my plan for the next month. I always include personal monthly objectives as well, which means if I am planning on revamping a garden or hosting a dinner for someone, I put it on the schedule to allow the time necessary to plan and execute those goals as well. Once you see your objectives and lay out the steps necessary to achieve them weekly, you will realize how much power you have regarding your time and feel much more accomplished than simply keeping a tally in your head about whether or not you have checked another item off of your list.
The strategy of making monthly objectives also helps you budget distractions.
* Learning to ignore the phone and refuse to respond to emails before a particular task is accomplished can make all the difference in a day.
* Realize that just because you can be on any social site constantly doesn’t mean you have to or should.
You are no doubt as challenged as the next person as to how to best use your time. Consider teaming up with a colleague in a similar situation to help each other create pools of time to accomplish individual goals. One of my friends watched her colleague’s children one weekday for several hours so her colleague could begin to set up an art studio. In return her friend did the same for her on another day so my friend could begin to write her book. It was a win/win collaboration of budgeting time.
Another busy couple with several children invites their friend’s children over for dinner one evening each week so that couple has time to connect and then the same favor is afforded to them a different evening so each couple has some individual time.
Making the Most of Your Time
Time is an incredibly precious resource. Next time you try to convince yourself you have “no time” do a “time budget” analysis. Discover what time is not allotted to non-negotiable items and work your goals into a M.O. around the time you can negotiate and schedule the steps you need to achieve those objectives. Think about how to team up with another who is pressed for time to give both of you some extra resources and assess your performance weekly and at the end of each month to recognize how wisely or frivolously you spent your time.
Once you schedule what matters and treat what you schedule as your responsibility, you will become far better at controlling your time that flies.
What M.O’s (Monthly Objectives) do you need to schedule for next month?
What is the biggest thief of your time? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Kathy Brunner is an author, speaker, workshop guru and branding specialist to entrepreneurs and creatives who want to take their fire, higher
Her latest book, Finding Your Fire, shares how to get started and stay focused on getting your ideas and passions into production…get fired up, not burned out!