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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Most Effective Time-Management Tool (For Me)

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15-16

Any personal development expert can tout they have the secret to managing your time. But all suggestions are not created equal - i.e. they may not fit with everyone's personality. And that is what they are anyway......just suggestions. If you try to implement every piece of information you hear or read, you will go crazy! (Prime personality right here.) Pick and choose what works for you, and remember, simple is better.

As I try to make the most of my 24 hours, I have found a daily schedule to be the most successful tool for my personality and current life situation. Because I can visually see how many hours I have to work with during a day, I can realistically plan my to-do list and other hobbies around my work schedule, exercise routine, and daily devotions. It also makes me realize how little time I have to goof around when I have such a small amount of hours to work with!

At the beginning of each week, I print out a weekly calendar that has each day separated by hourly time periods. With blank calendar in hand, I start by marking down my work schedule because those are set hours. I then fill in all my appointments and set aside time each day for my workout and quiet time. What I am left with can be scheduled with "to-do list time" or free time. I always have a progressive list of things to do, so instead of overwhelming myself, I work on whittling it away one at a time during my designated block on the schedule. Marking down free time may sound a little weird, but if I didn't, I would either refuse to give myself the permission to relax, or I would end up doing absolutely nothing. During this time, I can take a nap, read, watch TV, bake, or scrapbook. It's me time. And I love that.

Because I only work part-time, scheduling out my time is really effective - I have more hours I can fill. Of course, this schedule would look completely different if I worked full-time (I would have to utilize my evenings more). But giving myself a schedule places me inside a structure for the days I do not work and helps me accomplish more. It is an overall better use of my time.

I want to add a disclaimer here - you still have to be flexible! Appointments, plans, and to-do lists can change, and you cannot stress yourself out if something does not get completed. You do not have to be so rigid with your schedule that you fill every hour with a specific task. Use it as a guideline.

If you do not do this already, I encourage you to try it out and see if this is a tool you can utilize in your own life. If it doesn't work, that's OK too! You can check out Money Saving Mom's new e-book titled, Time Management 101. Not only does it have many different options for you to try, it is completely free!

I sincerely hope you are able to start using your time more effectively, no matter what tool you use. The results are worth it -  You will be more productive and more intentional in your life.


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