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Motivation Articles  ›  Goal-Setting Techniques

Manage Yourself in No Time

Tips to Fit More Into Your Day

-- By Rebecca Pratt, Staff Writer
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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.
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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.

Member Comments

  • Good! - 7/2/2014 2:22:45 AM
  • WICKFORD64
    More easy breezy time management tools: pazoo.com/health/
    time-manageme
    nt-mindfulness/ - 4/23/2014 9:58:54 PM
  • Good article. But I have to do it my way. - 9/18/2013 9:07:54 PM
  • 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. - 11/3/2012 10:37:24 PM
  • 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 :) - 5/10/2012 1:28:01 PM
  • 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. - 3/28/2012 2:04:42 AM
  • This is a very useful article, thanks! But I have to disagree a little bit on one point. When you hoard a lot of food from the store, there will be people who come after you who WILL NOT be able to find enough food to eat. I mean, they can make substitutions usually, but the store will be running out of what you like if you shop for months in advance. That's not really right. You can stock up, but try to do it more gradually. Like, shop weekly, and get a little extra each time. Perhaps you're talking about a store like Costco, which has a lot of goods in huge, multiple packages. I find that I spend less money if I try to limit the amount of things I buy in one visit. So I end up having to go shopping more than before, but I think it's nice to get out of the house, and walking around the store is exercise. - 1/19/2012 12:00:53 AM
  • THENUNN61
    as an long term multitasker I have to say DON'T..it's no way to enjoy life ! I now do only one thing at a time and if I feel like doing something different to that which I had planned,then I change my plans (if I can) no point in doing something you don't want to ,its like bashing your head against a wall and generally makes for a bad job..far better to alter the plan and come back to it when it feels right. I think we all need 'me time' and if you plan this too much it is not really 'me time',is it ?the essence of me time is to do what we feel like at the time we feel like it. - 10/18/2011 5:42:27 AM
  • or this

    http://www.npr.
    org/templates
    /story/story.
    php?storyId=95256794 - 9/30/2011 4:55:46 PM
  • I used to multitask all the time until I realized that it's actually NOT good for you. Then I found this article and loved it.
    http://zenhabit
    s.net/how-not
    -to-multitask
    -work-simpler-and/

    it says it all and works much better than the SP article. - 9/30/2011 4:54:28 PM
  • I am not a fan of so-called "multi-tasking". For me it creates stress and produces an inferior product. Now stocking up, grouping trips/appointment
    s, playing around with To Do Lists and/or calendars 'til you find something that works happily for you ~ these are useful tips. - 9/29/2011 9:48:22 PM
  • I agree with several others commenters that there is something a bit frantic about the time management strategies suggested here. In some instances time management IS about fitting 20 hours of work into 16 or 17 waking hours, but much of the time we can improve time management by reducing the number of unnecessary activities we are expecting ourselves to complete. And also there is something very important psychologically about being in the moment when doing certain activities. I know multitasking can be harmful to my well-being, so I'm guessing that applies to others as well who don't like the hectic feeling of always having to be getting as much done as humanly possible. - 9/29/2011 9:42:47 PM
  • K_RENEE
    I agree with what someone posted about this article being a little busy. I'd stress out thinking about how I'm wasting time not always doing something. I do need to work on time management, but I think having time to relax and re-group is important too. Working hard should be a part of all our lives, but we don't always have to be go-go-go. - 9/29/2011 7:57:07 PM
  • found this article a little bit to busy for me, i think i would get stressed out about not having something on my list of things i need to make a list of to do. does'nt work for me getting more shoping in than you actually need, leads to over eating and waste because its gone off - 9/29/2011 3:42:12 PM
  • SHOEGIRL140
    Excellent article. I can learn a lot from it, but I have to remember that too much multi tasking leads to stress. - 9/29/2011 8:30:51 AM