Motivation Articles

Manage Yourself in No Time

Tips to Fit More Into Your Day

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As the world of technology evolves, there are more and more devices to make life easier for us. Think of all the time we save with things like garage door openers, snow blowers, remote controls, dishwashers, elevators, high speed internet, digital everything, laundry and cleaning services, gas powered mowers, online shopping…

It seems like no matter how many time-saving tools we have, people just keep getting busier. We work, sometimes more than one job, go to night school, have families, pets, belong to book clubs, volunteer, and more. If saving stress and finding time for fitness sound like good ideas for you this year, here are some tips that time management experts offer for busy parents…but you don’t have to have children to benefit from this great advice.

Do a Realistic Time Audit
Time management experts stress that before you can make needed changes in the way you manage time, you need to look at how you spend your time now. What activities or tasks are taking up the biggest chunks of your life? What items do you hate or put off most? Are you allowing others to dictate uses for your time that aren’t productive or don't fit your agenda? By doing a brutally honest assessment, you can begin to change the way you manage yourself in relation to time.

Personalize your to-do list
Some people thrive using a daily to-do list, which they construct either at the end of the previous day or first thing the next morning. Some people combine a to-do list with a calendar or schedule. Others prefer a "running" to-do list that is continually being updated. Or, you may prefer a combination of both, whatever method works best for you. Don't be afraid to try a new system — you just might find one that works even better than your present one!

Don't waste waiting time
Waiting is inevitable, but you can find ways to put even a few minutes of waiting to good use. Whether holding on the phone or waiting for play practice to end, you can make lists, sort mail, go over your schedule, and complete other small but necessary tasks. At home, sort the laundry or the mail while catching up on the news, talk on the phone while preparing dinner, etc.

Stock up as much as possible
Save time by keeping items on hand so that you don’t have to make constant special trips to purchase them. Examples include not only items such as postage stamps, greeting cards (buy several at a time with assorted themes), and wrapping paper but also nonperishable groceries and household goods in quantities to last at least 2-3 months. Your supermarket visits will be reduced to quick trips to pick up fresh items, and you’ll be surprised at how much time is saved.

Have a system
Whether cleaning house, cooking, or making sure homework gets done, you'll be ahead of the game—maybe even ahead of schedule—if you have a system for getting things done. Include your family in a friendly competition to see who has the best ideas for accomplishing things quickly and efficiently-- you might be surprised at what they come up with! Run several errands at the same time. Have a morning "launching pad" as a place to collect backpacks, briefcases, papers, money, etc. the night before. Carry a list of current sizes for everyone in the household when shopping. Do as much routine shopping (bedding, underwear, footwear, etc.) as possible by phone or online, and buy all your kids’ seasonal clothing in one trip. Use "sticky notes" on the bathroom mirror or by the door to remind you and other family members of schedules, or other things you need to remember.

Multi-task when feasible
When supervising baths or homework, dovetail with other activities such as cleaning cabinets, checking supplies, mending, list making, ironing, washing dishes, or doing personal grooming. Group routine medical/dental/haircut appointments for household members, and try to schedule them first thing in the morning or right after lunch, when you're more likely to be seen right away.

Don’t be a perfectionist
In the Malaysian culture, a minor flaw is always included on final products so the gods will not be offended, since only the gods are considered capable of producing anything perfect. Some things are worth perfecting, but often good enough is just that— good enough. What’s more, perfectionism—paying unnecessary attention to detail—can be a form of procrastination.

Learn to say ‘No'
Most of us have trouble saying this little word. But if you focus on the goals that are important to you— like incorporating a fitness routine into your life— saying no to the unimportant gets easier. It may even just be a matter of timing— as in saying, ‘Not now.’


According to many "time management" experts, time really can't be managed. You can't slow it down, speed it up, or manufacture it. It just is. Time management is about managing yourself. Try some of these ideas of "self management" to help you prioritize your tasks and reach your goals.


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Member Comments

  • I needed this! Some days can be overwhelming!
  • stressful items in blocks of time and only focus on them for that designated block of time and move to next if multi tasking I have found but may not work for everyone and order of priority essential
  • Good article, but I am not a fan of always multi-tasking. That just causes anxiety for me.
  • Didn't feel this gave any real tips. How about some examples of how to do things. This didn't have any depth to it at all!
  • Reading the comments about permission to not do so much, that is the one I agree with more than the multi-tasking part of the article. I laugh, because I came to this article from one that said to not multi-task - for stress reduction - and yesterday there was one to not multi-task for mindful eating and the day before that was don't multi-task for healthier relationships and more mindful lives. I get to the organization article and it gives ways to multi-task, and I know that we all did multi-task to fit everything in and now we are paying with health problems, shallow relationships and obesity.
  • While this article comes up with some additional ways we can cram more into every day, and be more organized in doing so, I think more people would be helped if we gave ourselves permission *not* to do so much. It should be acceptable to be still for a few moments (or more!) and simply be mindful of where we are, take in the scenery, really focus on the conversation, savor the experience of just being alive. Those moments are the ones we will remember, not the days we spend multi-tasking with our attention fractured among half a dozen things.
  • I think the biggest thing for me in this article is I need to take advantage of the small waiting moments - its true there is a lot of time wasted "waiting" a few 5 minute waitings here and there spend cleaning up instead will end up making more larger free-time chunks in the end = less stress overall
  • I think the biggest thing for me in this article is I need to take advantage of the small waiting moments - its true there is a lot of time wasted "waiting" a few 5 minute waitings here and there spend cleaning up instead will end up making more larger free-time chunks in the end = less stress overall
  • I think it's an illusion-and very western--that we'll get more done by being organized and keeping at it. None of these articles ever say, "stop, do nothing, rest, let everything go." Sometimes I don't fee like doing anything. So I don't. But i had to learn to feel okay about it.
  • WICKFORD64
    More easy breezy time management tools: pazoo.com/health/
    time-manageme
    nt-mindfulness/
  • Good article. But I have to do it my way.
  • Oh my. The subtitle, "Tips to Fit More Into You Day" doesn't set well with me. While I appreciate the fact that most of the tips can perhaps make you more efficient at using your time, I think a better approach might be to ask yourself, "What things can I give up in my day in order to make my life more livable and enjoyable?" It's kind of like clutter your house. Sure, you can always find room for one more thing, but how is all that clutter going to add to your well-being? Better to declutter your home and your schedule, as well.
  • This was an AWESOME article...I made BOLD and printed out this list and have it hanging up in my home, just for me to read thru daily/weekly and do my best to fit ME TIME in my NO TIME!! Thank you :)
  • lively discussion and not much I could argue with! I know the intense pressure I got when multitasking became a lifestyle.... it was almost a compulsion to find ways to get a bunch of things done at the same time. That being said, I also learned that with the higher level of stress, less got done RIGHT, even to a lower standard. I burned food while doing other things, forgot to get back to things that couldn't wait, and timing was always not what I thought it would be. my only relief was to physically remove myself for "me time" and while the brain was still perking with the to do list, at least the body was elsewhere. What recent changes in my life which compelled me to multitask also brought, was a lesson that we need to use what time we have thoughtfully and purposefully.

About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.