Organizing your time can be difficult, but when you are a parent, or a full time employee at a company, have a house to run, bills to pay and a million other things to do, it’s one of those things that you must learn how to do.
On everyone’s daily schedule there will be both flexible and inflexible commitments.
Your work and school schedules are inflexible, while your homework and social schedules should have some room for “play.”
Begin with a monthly planner/organizer. Try to find the kind that has a spot for every hour of every day, as these are easier to use, and will help you get a better picture of what your time really “looks” like.
When we allow all of the “things we have to do” and “places we have to be” to just float around in the back of our minds somewhere, we tend to feel more out of control, and we experience a much higher stress level. We also increase our own stress levels by trying to remember everything, instead of allowing ourselves the little “cush” of having that planner in front of us.
When you open your planner you will notice that there are an amazing 24 hours in every day. The first thing you should do is to schedule some of those hours for yourself, to make sure you get enough sleep, and have enough time to eat, and YES, even to relax.
“RELAX?” You say and immediately being to stress out. “WHO HAS TIME TO RELAX?”
Well, you do, honestly. We just have to find out where that time fits into the rest of your schedule.
Inflexible commitments need to go in the planner first.
If you work from 9-5 Monday through Friday, then these are hours that need to be blocked out first. Be sure you take a lunch hour, and just for fun, write that onto your daily schedule as well.
Other examples of inflexible commitments are classes, children’s practices, or their appointments, sporting events, etc…
Notice that there are some “free hours” still available to you.
Some of these hours are for “flexible commitments.”
Flexible commitments are easily divided into 2 categories.
There are things you “need to do” and things you “would like to do.”
From now on it is important to separate the two.
Things like Homework, working on term papers, and completing assignments for the office may be flexible as to WHEN you do them, but not as to IF you do them.
Some items on the “need to do” list may also be more flexible than others.
For example you “need to do” laundry, but consider if you need to do it today, or if you can do it over the weekend.
Flexible commitments are things you “want to do.” These are not necessarily all of the “fun things” in your life, but the things that will not throw your whole life completely out of whack if you pass them by instead.
The best way to view these type of commitments is to consider how much you would suffer if you did not do each thing.
You may really want to cook dinner for your family, or you may really want to sleep in on Saturday. The most important consideration when viewing this category is your own personal “gut” response to robbing yourself of one of these things. If it hurts to say no to something, then put it on the schedule.
Now that your time is organized you will want to insist that anyone wanting your time give you the courtesy of letting you know at least one week ahead. This sounds harsh, but most people will understand.
Plan your schedule on a weekly basis, at minimum.
Develop a habit of taking it with you wherever you go.
Make changes as they come up, and be sure to write down any future appointments, like your doctors appointment 3 weeks from now.
Planning in this way may sound like a lot of work at first, but once you have gotten into the habit of scheduling you will find that your time is much better utilized, and that you accomplish more than you did prior to getting that planner.