Sharon collapsed onto the couch wondering, “Where did the time go?” She looked over her to-do list from the day, and saw only half of the items completed.
The list seemed reasonable when she wrote it out this morning, but she went to bed feeling like a failure.
Has that ever happened to you?
A stuffed calendar and an overflowing to-do list can lead to stress, meltdowns, and discouragement, but there are ways to refine how you manage your time, so that there’s more time for an unrushed pursuit of faith, relationships and other things of value to you.
Develop an Evening Routine
What we do toward the end of the day is the most important foundation for the next day and week. Flylady.net calls it the “before bed routine.”
You can do the same. Make a list of a few tasks that would positively impact the next morning if you could do them consistently. These may include:
- packing lunches
- getting clothes out (including accessories)
- having a bit of quiet time
- reviewing tomorrow's calendar
- packing up extra items like gym bags, computer items or coupons for shopping
Do whatever works for you to consistently finish your day well.
Develop a Morning Routine
An effective evening routine is enhanced by a smart morning routine. Again, write down what would make for an ideal morning, with items such as:
- having a quiet time to pursue faith-based interests
- eating a good breakfast
- tidying the house
- checking mail
Make a list that’s realistic and that works for you, and be willing to adjust it. Try to get into a daily routine, using your list as a guide.
Plan for Transitions
One of my weaknesses is a tendency to not allow enough time to transition between appointments. In this season of my life, I spend a lot of time at home. Because I live in a somewhat rural area, it’s more efficient to stack appointments when I do go out. That means it often takes planning. I need to have gather what I want to bring along, take a few moments to leave the house in decent condition, and touch up my personal appearance. Therefore, I am teaching myself to allow at least 15 minutes of transition/pack up time. If I need to be somewhere that is 40 minutes away at 11:00, I need to stop working on the computer at 10 and take 15 minutes for the transition, not push my computer work to 10:15.
Overcoming our time management struggles takes intentionality. They won't fix themselves. Getting a handle on these first three will be a tremendous help toward significant improvement!
For more tips for overwhelmed professionals, visit BethBeutler.com.