Time Management

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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Are you one of the ever-growing number of people who finds themselves waking up every morning feeling exhausted Disappointed that all your best efforts the night before to finish the ironing, make that boxercise class and read through the new training manual for work all fell short Do most days seem like a constant battle with yourself Racing against time to get out of the office and collect the kids from school, pick up the dog from the vet, vacuum the stairs, make the dinner and a million and one other things Are you fed up with living life in a blur Don t worry you re not alone! With the ever-increasing pressures we face in all dimensions of our lives work, family and social it is becoming harder than ever to get everything done. But, it is possible to regain a sense of control and balance in our lives if we learn to manage our time more effectively. Follow our step-by-step guide to making time-management work for you so that you can get back on track and feel fulfilled in all areas of your life.

1 Plan Your Time
The first thing you should do when attempting to create a sense of balance and fulfilment in your life is to sit down and work out how many areas of your life you feel demand your time and then realistically allocate a percentage of your time to each. Always remember to allow one of those areas to be you time as everybody needs a little time out in order to stay balanced. So, for example, if you are a working mum with a busy social life you should account for at least four areas to divide your time between work, family, social and you time. How you allocate your time will entirely depend upon your demands but you should try to it as fairly as possible. Don t forget it is just as important for you to have some time-out and spend time on your personal development goals, whether they be night classes in educational subjects or hobbies, as it is to attend to all your work deadlines. It is when work time starts overlapping into family time or social time or vice versa that the balance is tipped and you run the risk of feeling out of your depth, stressed and disillusioned once again.

2 Make A List
When you are feeling like things are getting on top of you, sit down and make a list of all the things that need to be done. Once you have made a list you are then in the position to objectively decide which things are really urgent and which things actually don t matter very much at all. When we are stressed we tend to think everything is a big deal but sometimes we put added pressure on ourselves to do things that can actually wait. By writing a list you may even be able to relieve your anxiety by cutting the list in half straight away! You realise more easily that it is actually no big deal that you haven t hoovered the spare bedroom in a week or that you haven t had chance to buy your husband a new shirt for work yet because he has plenty of others that will do the job in the meantime! Once you do start completing points on your list make sure you cross them out this will give you a sense of how much you have achieved and spur you on to keep going!

3 Eliminate Distractions
You ll be amazed how much time you can save by getting rid of unnecessary distractions. If you re studying at home try putting your phone on silent and placing it in another room until you ve finished to prevent you getting distracted by it. Limit the number of trips you make to the kitchen for a cup of tea and focus directly on the task in hand you ll be surprised at how much quicker you ll finish!

4 Take A Break
Take short but effective breaks instead of sitting in front of your computer screen checking your personal emails, go for a 5 minute walk outside the fresh air and exercise will clear your mind and give you a pick-me-up boost.

5 Lighten The Load
Don t be afraid to ask for help or accept help offered. If your colleague wants to work on a project with you or your mother insists on picking the kids up after school one day all the better for everyone! Task-sharing is often an ideal way of getting everything done leaving both yourself and the task-sharer feeling satisfied.
Break down mammoth tasks into many small parts and reward yourself once you complete each stage. This way, instead of feeling overwhelmed and daunted you take control of the situation lightening the load by taking baby steps!

6 Set Yourself Realistic Goals
Once you have started to reap the benefits of organising your time effectively you will never want it to stop. Instead, you will want to know how to stay in control. The best way to do this is to gain a sense of direction by setting yourself goals both short-term and long-term. Many short-term goals you may have in the present may be working towards a long-term plan. For example, taking time out to go swimming three times a week may give you the confidence to fulfil your lifetime ambition of training to be a swimming instructor. Or perhaps your immediate goal of meeting all your deadlines in the office has made you realise that you could in fact go for that promotion you used to dream about. Setting yourself realistic goals gives you something to aim for and leaves you feeling more confident, ambitious and satisfied.

7 Reward Yourself
For every little bit of progress you make in crossing another item off your To Do list, make sure you reward yourself. Give yourself the encouragement to go on and congratulate on what you ve achieved. Having a positive approach makes the impossible possible.

Once you have followed this simple approach you will no doubt feel a huge sense of relief as well as balance in your life! Not only can you manage your time effectively, you now have the energy, drive and time to do all the things you always dreamed of and never dreamed of! Why not take that cookery class you wish you d done years ago And what s stopping you challenging your mind and motivating yourself by going back to the books by choosing a course that you can complete at your convenience with the time-friendly option of e-learning Or, incorporate your need for exercise with your passion for new things by joining a jazz dancing class perhaps Celebrate your love of life and being in control of it.

Frank Bolger

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