The last two decades has seen greater development in technology and time saving devices than ever in history.  We have faster access to information via constant access to the internet with smart phones and tablets, and that lends to services at the click of a button that make shopping, browsing, support, communication, and more a breeze.  So, with more time-saving devices, we should all have more free time, right?  Not a chance.  There’s a reason that most people you know are much, much, busier and consumed with things to do than they would like to be.  How many times have you heard or thought “If there were only a few more hours in the day?” or “I need an extra day in the week!”  Are you chronically late, stressed out, or anxious because your time seems to have run away from you?  A few simple steps can help you start to make the most of the time that you have.  Here are some practical tips for taking your time back.

Think of time like money

You must budget it.  The reality is, although there are limited possibilities on how to spend time, realistically you have a limited amount of time given to you in a lifetime, and once it’s spent, you can’t get it back.  Determine to treat time as though there are limits and pick only the daily activities that make the most sense for you.

Create a weekly ‘template’ schedule

Schedule the activities that must happen and are a priority for you.  Then, block them out visually on the calendar.  For example, Work, Family Time, Worship Time, Work out time, Date night, Grocery shopping, etc. are all activities that must happen every week.  So, create a calendar with spaces for those essential daily and weekly tasks that must happen so that you know how much time you have left over for optional activities.  Then refer to that calendar daily and do not agree to add anything to your schedule before you ‘check your calendar’.

Include an hour or two block for a ‘Plan to Plan’ time

Most people fail at time management not because they want to, it’s because they don’t go back and tweak their plan often enough.  Time management is a process, not a one-time activity.  As you progress in your time management skills, you learn more about yourself and what works for you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  Just as you might improve upon managing your money by referring back to your balance sheet, you must manage your time by creating space in your day and week to go back and reflect on what is or isn’t working for you on your calendar.

Learn to say ‘No’

Stop doing things that you don’t enjoy and that are not necessary.  Life is too short, and to the first point, you only have a limited amount of time.  If your calendar is packed with activities that you’ve promised to do but are not really enjoying, that’s a mistake.  Cut out unessential, unsatisfying activities.  Staying busy with things you don’t like zaps creative energy that could lead you to greater opportunities where you are more naturally inclined and fueled.

Create a margin

Every person needs down time.  This recharge time is essential for mental, physical, and emotional well-being.  Your schedule should include time for eating well, sleeping, and even doing nothing.  Protect that time as dearly as you protect the uptime, because good rest in your downtime will lead to more productive uptime.  It’s ok to say no because you have an ‘appointment’ in your jammies at home.

Follow through

Essential to a productive time management schedule is following through with your plans.  If you find you are not following through with what’s on your calendar, then go back and re-assess your plan.  It could be a clue of a bigger problem.  Are you over-scheduling?  Do you enjoy your work, career, and relationships?   Perhaps the reason you aren’t following through is because there is a deeper issue that’s unresolved.  What is that something you are avoiding, and why?  If you aren’t able to figure it out, a trained professional counselor may be able to help you get to the root of your chronic time management issue.

Call today to find out more information about Orlando Individual Counseling Services at 407-622-1770