The words ‘time management’ can bring up feelings of control and restrictive schedules. But it’s a common term for how we organise our daily tasks to do the things we need to do and provide a balance between work, family and personal activities.
When I discuss this with my clients, more often than not they tell me it is hard to find time to organise or find that extra time, to schedule in activity or find specific times to organise their nutrition, as they are looking after everyone else or work is taking over.
With competing demands on our time, it’s understandable that time for healthy eating and regular physical activity often takes a back seat to other commitments.
By being aware of how you manage your time, you can then choose from a range of effective time management strategies that can make a real difference to your daily routine and feeling of wellbeing.
With all that said and done, I would like to leave you with 8 strategies which you can implement which will help you enhance your time management.
- Make a To Do list – keep it with you or keep it visible
- Use a calendar, fridge or wall planner for the family events
- Cut clutter in your home or office so you can easily find things
- Double up on errands (e.g., bank and post office together)
- Use commuting time for some tasks (e.g., reading, organising your week)
- Organise your email and computer files into folders
- Keep a folder or file of home maintenance jobs that need to be done
- Designate a single place where family members can check for messages
- Keep a grocery list where the family can see it and add items as they run out
- Get your exercise gear ready the night before or keep it with you
- Set priorities on a daily, weekly and monthly basis so you can see the big picture
- Rank items as urgent, non-urgent, important or non-important
- Incorporate work and play times
- Review your priorities during your day and week
- Include time for errands, preferably at non-rush-hour times
- Let more calls go to the answering machine or voicemail
- Return phone calls when its convenient to you
- Schedule tasks into your day with room for activity and meal planning.
3. Plan your time
- Allocate tasks a time limit and stick to it where possible
- Set a count-down timer to signal time to stop a task
- Count back from a deadline to create your timeline
- Establish a quiet time to block off for non-interruptible tasks Set your alarm to go to bed as well as to wake up
- Plan your weekly menu and activity times in advance.
- Ask family members to help out with household tasks (e.g., putting away clothes)
- Communicate expectations clearly
- Hire someone to help with the cleaning, if you can
- Ask nearby relatives for help, if you can
- Ask children to set or clear the table
- Let teenagers prepare meals for the family.
5. Learn to say no
- Avoid saying an automatic “Yes”. Say, you’ll think about it and get back to them
- Practice saying “No” in the mirror, then do it for real
- Let people know when you will be available, plus how much time you have
- Decide exactly which interruptions you will and won’t allow.
6. Avoid perfectionism
- Be realistic about what you can achieve
- Avoid over-planning or planning to minute detail Settle for good-enough for more tasks
- Know it’s OK to reassess your priorities.
7. Reduce Procrastination
- Build an awareness of why you procrastinate – Is it from feeling overwhelmed? Lack of patience? Or even a fear of failure?
- Break larger jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks
- Do one job at a time, where possible
- Do your most important work at times when your energy levels are high
- Reduce distractions, like emails so you can focus on the task at hand
- Consider how putting things off is likely to create more work or pressure.
8. Be Flexible
- Take a break when you hit a wall with a task
- Allow time for unavoidable interruptions
- Maintain a sense of humour, especially when your day gets thrown out.
So next time you believe you do not have the time management skills to complete any of your goals, whether they are fitness and health related or not, refer back to this list so you can make sure it happens!!