Managing time is a lot like managing money. There is never enough of it for everything you want to do. If you fritter it away on small things, you do not have time left for the important things in your life. Small savings or expenditures gradually accumulate and become big ones. Once you have established wasteful spending habits, it takes a concerted effort to change your ways and get on track.
Successful time management is an attitude that prioritizes important activities, not a system of calendars and day planners. Calendars and clocks are simply tools that make us aware of how we spend time, and help us organize our days. When you have identified priorities in each area of your life — health, relationships, finances, work, spiritual life — you can consciously allocate time to them.
Begin by scheduling time for yourself throughout the year— time for vacations and meaningful activities such as social events, volunteering, sports, church, and family getaways. Next, look at your day and week. These are the regular time allocations that add up and gradually impact your life. You need enough hours of sleep every day, and time for healthy meals, exercise, and relaxation. You need to spend time with your spouse, children, and friends.
When you begin consciously setting time priorities, you will discover that you do not have enough time for everything. Develop strategies to compensate. If you cannot cook a meal every day, prepare extra food on another day and eat leftovers, or identify relatively healthy takeout food. Exercise by walking during your lunch break.
It is easy to devote your time to the first thing that catches your attention, such as dirty dishes in the sink, or emails at work. Before you know it, you have no time for the things that really matter. Prioritize so that you spend up to half of your available time on the one thing you really want to accomplish, and do everything else in the time that is left.
Make the most of your time. All of us have periods during the day when our minds are freshest and our bodies are most energetic. Give your best hours to your most important activities. Be aware of opportunities. When you are outside walking to your car, take some deep breaths and enjoy the air and sunlight. Listen to a book or your favorite music during your commute. Many parents have the most revealing conversations with their children in the car while they are driving to school or sports.
Be conscious of time thieves. Social media, overly long phone conversations, searches for lost car keys or bills, sorting junk mail, mindless TV watching — these can gobble up the hours you intended to spend doing something else.
Read up on time-saving techniques. Organize your home, and establish the habit of always putting things back in the same place. Set up automatic bill payment, or pay your monthly bills all at once, so you no longer have to think about them.
There will be unexpected demands on your time, just as emergencies make unexpected financial demands. When a child gets sick, or a friend shows up unannounced, remember that spending time with them probably fulfills one of your other priorities, such as being a good parent or friend. If someone really needs your time, consider yourself fortunate and give graciously.
How to Save Time in the Kitchen. Eating Well. (www.eatingwell.com/article/17801/how-to-save-time-in-the-kitchen-our-best-time-saving-ingredients-cooking-tips/)
The Essential Time-Saving Guide for Busy People. Leo Babauta (https://zenhabits.net/the-essential-time-saving-guide-for-busy-people/)
The Six Best Ways to Save Time at Work. Simon Reynolds. Forbes. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/siimonreynolds/2013/08/27/the-six-best-ways-to-save-time-at-work)