Time management strategies for the woman who does it all
Spring has sprung, mask mandates have been lifted and the free time we once had is no more. Our lives have reverted to jammed packed schedules and we have become consumed with after athletic practices, PTO meetings, school performances, open house, commutes to weekend scrimmages (you get the picture). And while you are surviving on iced coffees and four hours of sleep, there always seems to be that one friend who seems to manage it all seamlessly. You know the one; her kids are impeccably dressed, she makes breakfast for her family every morning, she makes it to work early, she prepares dinner, serves in her church and community, and still finds time to craft, blog, and find some odd entrepreneurial way to establish a supplemental income, not even the pandemic could slow her down. And while you love her, and admire all that she does, you can’t help feeling like a slovenly sloth in comparison.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned not to compare myself to others (as much), but I am curious about the behaviors of successful women. I’m lucky if I can manage a quiet moment to myself before 10:00 pm, so how can I possibly conquer all the goals and tasks I’ve assigned to myself? The key is quite simple…TIME MANAGEMENT. After much thought I’ve come up with my five hacks for effective time management that have helped me, here’s hoping they help you too.
1. BUY A PLANNER
Yeah I know, planners are so 1999; but seriously if you use them they work, and planners have made a comeback in a major way. Many planners come equipped with a budget tracker, affirmations, scriptures or goal setting pages. If that sounds too intimidating fret not, a dollar store planner will work too, they’re great for jotting down appointments and meetings. Studies have also shown that planners are a great organizational tool for those with Adult ADD.
2. PLAN AHEAD WEEKLY
Yes that’s right, “weekly”. Making a to-do list is essential to completing everyday monotonous tasks. I cannot tell you how many doctor’s appointments have gone overdue all because I thought I would remember to make the phone call. You’re already preoccupied enough throughout the day, and by the time you remember to set your appointments you’re three months past due for your pap smear. Making a list and checking it twice will ensure that you get the little things done. For me nighttime is the perfect time to draft my list. I find a nice comfortable quiet place in the house, pour myself a glass of wine, and cozy up on the sofa with my legal pad and planner. You high tech individuals can feel free to use your smart phones or Google calendars. A simple “Hey Siri” or “Okay Google” can get you started.
3. PUT YOUR PHONES DOWN
Remember the good old days when all your phone could do was make phone calls? We waste countless hours mindlessly rummaging through the mass amounts of apps and social media on our cell phones. One quick “double tap” turns into 2 hours of replying, liking, and screenshots of memes that you will never use. Lately I’ve taken up the practice of not visiting any social media sites until 6 pm. I will admit it hasn’t been easy (I fell off the wagon today) but when I stick to the plan I find that I get so much more accomplished. The first day I started I actually read the newspaper, how retro.
4. SET REALISTIC GOALS
We often get swept away with the idea of being all that we can be. We want to be the absolute best employees, wives, and mothers, giving everyone 100% of ourselves and making sure no one goes without. STOP DOING THAT! No one can do it all. If you’ve never ran a mile in your life, don’t think you’re going to get up and do it tomorrow. Instead start with a 30 minute walk and over time work your way up to the run.
And most importantly…
5. GO TO BED EARLY
We all know the saying, “Early to bed, early to rise.” Adequate rest not only ensures you’ll wake up more energized and refreshed, it’s also great for cell regeneration (that means less wrinkles ladies).
Keep in mind these are just my best practices, little hacks that I’ve incorporated into my day. And although I may not be the time management maven I aspire to be yet, if I’m disciplined and stick to my time management plan I will be.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.Antoine de Saint-Exupery
French writer (1900 – 1944)