If you’ve identified with one or more of the 4 Signs That Time Management Might Be A Problem For You then you can now admit that you have a time management problem or at least could improve in this area. What should you do first?
We talked with Amy Andrews on Clutter Interrupted Radio (listen here) about time management and how to get better at it. Our discussion was insightful especially when she gave specific steps, 5 of them, to help create a schedule that works.
When physically making your schedule start with the end in mind and work backwards. This is how you manage your time by thinking long term.
Here are Amy’s 5 steps to help you create your very own schedule.
1. IDENTIFY YOUR ROLES
Who are you? What do you do? Mine are being myself, wife, mother and business owner. I’m keeping it simple. What are yours?
2. LIST THE GOALS ATTACHED TO EACH ROLE
Record 3 long term goals for each role. For my parent role: What kind of parent do I want to be? Intentional. Loving. Supportive. Wise. A prayer warrior. One of my goals is to show my children that I love them unconditionally.
3. CHOOSE DAILY ACTIVITIES TO HELP MOVE YOU TOWARD YOUR GOALS
Daily activities move you toward your long term goal. For my long term goal to show my children that I love them unconditionally I ask myself: What can I do as a parent on a daily or weekly basis that will show my children that I love them unconditionally? There are a lot of options for this one. I could spend time with them, write them a note, look them in the eye and say this wonderful affirmation from Lisa Jacobson of Club 31 Women, pray for them, attend their events, etc.
4. IDENTIFY WHICH CATEGORY THE DAILY ACTIVITIES FALL INTO
Amy created a grid, included in her book, to help you identify which category your activities fall into. The categories are either non-negotiable or negotiable and fixed time or flexible time. Attending church, for us, is a non-negotiable, fixed time activity. Going on a date with my spouse should be a non-negotiable, flexible time activity (we’re working on that). Once you know what category your activities fall into you can move on to step 5.
5. PLACE ACTIVITIES ON YOUR SCHEDULE
Place non-negotiable, fixed time activities on the schedule first. Then place the non-negotiable, flexible activities and the the negotiable, fixed activities. If there is still time available place the negotiable, flexible items into your schedule. Doing this exercise clearly shows me how many activities I’m trying to fit into 24 hours.
Choose a day to plan out your schedule each week. Try to do it the same time every week. Around the same time each year (beginning of summer, beginning of school year, etc) evaluate and redo your schedule.
Two more helpful hints Amy mentioned when creating your schedule:
Schedule time blocks instead of individual appointments. You might have a 3 hour work block, a 1 hour morning routine block, or a 30 minute one-on-one play time block with a child.
Plan cushion into your schedule. Don’t put appointments and time blocks back to back. This will cause a lot of frustration and can be easily avoided by planning a cushion (a 10 – 30 minute blank space) between activities.
Now get out some paper and start by writing down your roles. Then, move on to step 2!