Stop trying to manage your time (and manage yourself instead)

Never enough time? If you’ve been applying time management strategies but none of them seem to be working, then maybe you’re putting your effort in the wrong place. 

It’s not the time that needs to be managed, it’s you.

Take a step back and look at how you are using the time you have. Look at the choices you are making in how to spend your time.

If you’re saying you want to do something but you don’t have time, look at what you are choosing to prioritise.

If you’re not prioritising the things that really matter to you, then take steps to change that.

Be honest with yourself, are you taking on too much? If so, and you want things to change you’ll need to get better at organising yourself, managing your expectations of yourself and setting boundaries.

How to organise yourself

Draw lines down a sheet of paper to split into three columns.

In the first column write a short list of the things you absolutely have to do, only the essentials. Go to work, get the kids to school, eat, sleep. Keep it very basic, and include only things that have to be done by you specifically, not things that you could get someone else to help with.

In the second column, write everything else that you think you have to do, and all the things that currently take up your time. Be honest with yourself and include everything, from cleaning to doing favours for people, from running errands to scrolling on social media. Looking at your list, where could you get help, delegate, or reduce the time spent. Do you need to set better boundaries or start saying ‘no’?

The third column is where you write all the things you would love to do if only you had the time. Doing something creative, going for long walks, spending time with friends, self-care and relaxation, reading, learning something new, family time, travelling. Big dreams or small treats.

Time to make choices

Look at that third list, how would it feel to spend more time on those things? Now look at the middle list. You’re compromising on the things you would really love to do, so you can do those. Is that what you want? It’s time to make some choices about what’s really important. If you only had one week left on earth, how would you be spending those precious days?

Now combine your first and third lists. Realistically, you may not be able to do all of the things you want to do every day, but make sure you are setting aside space within your week or even throughout the month.

Schedule things into your calendar as if they are important appointments. Even spending time on the planning of bigger goals is a step in the right direction.

Now look at the middle list. Take each task and mark it as ‘get help’ ‘let go’ or ‘do less’. If you’ve marked something as ‘get help’, start taking action straight away to delegate or share the task.

Divide your time realistically, being flexible when you need to, but not compromising on your priorities. Check in regularly to review and make changes if necessary.

Do you feel overwhelmed and not even sure where to start? Drop me a line and let’s have a chat about how I may be able to help you.

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