Somehow, I doubt I’m the only one who would say that as a woman who works from home, time management is an issue. A major issue. Whether your work is home-making, raising your children, or managing a home-based business (or perhaps all 3?) – I think we are all at risk of falling into time-wasting patterns every now and then. You with me?
As I mentioned in THIS POST last week, my priorities in general have recently fallen under some (self-imposed) intense scrutiny, and I have to say– it’s been such a good exercise to set aside a few moments to take stock of what was filling my days…and perhaps more importantly, what wasn’t.
First of all, I made a list of things I typically do in a weeks time: chores, work, social outings, etc.. Then I made a list of things I would like to be doing in a weeks time: things that I have a desire for, and are high up on my theoretical priority list, but that my time-wasting habits tended to squeeze out of the schedule each day. – Here are some of the questions I asked myself:
What are truly my priorities?
In what order would I rank those priorities?
What is in my life that has no lasting value?
What are things in my life (or that I want to add to my life) of eternal import?
What things in my schedule are serving others?
What do I do that is selfish (which can be nixed without great loss) vs. self-nourishing (important to keep)?
Even if you don’t need a complete overhaul of how you spend your days, I’d highly recommend taking the time to compile these lists for yourself.-
So after the lists were made, the task became how to merge the two: what to get rid of, in order to free up more time in my allotted 24 hours.
I firmly believe that we will make time in our lives for what we truly desire to be a part our lives.
When we say we’re too busy, it’s just because we don’t want the alternative badly enough. Jenni echoed these thoughts well HERE.– So my original knee-jerk reaction was to make a very restrictive minute-by-minute schedule for each day of the week. But my life is just not predictable like that. Each day, and each week looks a little different for me.- Although I may enjoy the thought of that much structure, I certainly don’t thrive under it. In fact I’m likely to end up depressed and with a whopping case of the “guilties”. But I do need (and yes, even like) good structural boundaries in my life, and I think now I have arrived at a happy medium. For those of you who like the nitty-gritty details, read on…
I’ve made myself a schedule template for each day that I print out, along with a master list of daily focuses. – For example:
My morning routine includes waking at an early hour, exercising, posting for the day, answering e-mail, scheduling social media, and checking Facebook for messages ONLY (no timeline perusing). Then I have breakfast with my hubby before he leaves. Once he does, I clean up the kitchen and bedroom, and sweep the floors, get a load of wash in, and shower (if necessary).
Once my morning routine is complete, I move onto my “focus” for the day. Each day has a different one: Food Prep/Organizing, Personal/Home Projects, (Anti-)Procrastination Day, Creativity, and Home Maintenance. Of course there are all kinds of things that fall outside of these boundaries that I also include on my lists, but each day does include at least one item from the focus.
Speaking of the actual to-do list portion of my schedule, I have three starred priority slots to fill with things that MUST be completed that day. Things of non-negotiable importance…for example: paying bills. Then the other things on the list are my “bonus items”. I love it when all my bonus items get done, but in the event that one or two don’t, they then get automatically moved to the priority slots for the next day.
In addition to the household and work to-do items, I also have places on my schedule for calls or e-mails I need to return/make, and a few slots for things I want to do to nurture the relationships in my life that day. Often they have to do with my husband, but sometimes I may have a friend with a birthday coming up that I want to make a card for, or someone taking a big test that I want to text and see how they did. Perhaps it’s an e-mail just to say “I’m thinking of you”… Point is, I want to consciously make relationship nurturing a part of my days. Remember…relationships will last forever! They’re worth spending your time on.
Lastly, and perhaps bestly (I just made up that word, and I kinda like it ;-p), with the institution of this new lease on a productive life, I also gained an accountability partner that I “check in” with on Skype every single weekday. I tell ya — GET ONE! It has been so motivational knowing that I will have to admit my potential laziness to someone else. That alone makes me get up and hit the floor running most days. It’s also been wonderful to share organizational/scheduling ideas, and celebrate each others triumphs. It is very encouraging to know somebody else is rooting for you to succeed with your daily goals!
So that’s how my life has been operating for the past several weeks, and it’s been a great journey so far. My head hits the pillow each night, and I’m very pleased with what I have chosen to fill my days with. What a welcome change!
It’s just living consciously – purposefully – intentionally.
Now I’d love to know: Do you struggle with distractions and lack of productivity during your day? If so, what have you found to help combat it?
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