What’s the secret to time management?
I am often asked this question. As a single mom in grad school and managing a blog; the assumption is that I have my Sugar Honey Ice Tea together. Wrong! There is no secret to time management. Trust me when I say my life isn’t wrapped too tight either. It’s all over the place like anyone else’s. My kid is bouncing off the walls while the house is falling apart and I’m hanging on for dear life trying to figure out what the heck is going on. But in my experience, a great start to successful time management is concentrating on what’s important to you.
A little over a year ago, I came across a Tedx Talks video by Sarah Knight author of, The Life-Changing Magic of not Giving a F*ck. Yes, it is rather vulgar, but focus on the bigger picture. Creating a “F*ck budget” gives you permission to spend time, energy, and money on the things that actually improve your life and/or make you better. It’s decluttering and removing the extraneous tasks and people that aren’t serving any real purpose in your life.
Going back to school improves my future. So, I spend my time in class, my energy studying, and my money on tuition.
Going to a night club when I don’t drink and despise large crowds is ridiculous – so I don’t spend the time at the club, my energy around strangers, or my money on the gas, admission fees or alcohol.
Decluttering your life not only provides a sense of relief but also frees up a great deal of your time. Time you can spend juggling the many titles that most of us hold – student, mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend… human. Once you have determined what takes priority in your life, delegate the bulk of your time to those areas.
Start with a list.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I like lists. Writing things down gives me a clear picture of what needs to be done, that way I have a clear plan of attack.
Make a list of what’s cluttering your life and divide them into categories. Work/School, events, obligations, etc. List the tasks that need to be done in each category. Now determine which ones you care about and which ones you don’t. Finally, determine the repercussions of not completing that tasks. If it’s minimal, then don’t do it.
Let’s use the work/school category as an example
You hate studying. You don’t want to study anymore buy you need at least a 75% on this next exam to pass the course. If you don’t study, you can potentially fail the course. Probably not something that you should cross off your list. Suck it up and get it done.
A classmate invites you to an event. This event requires you to dress up, drive for an hour, find a baby sitter and be around people that you either don’t know or don’t care for. Not only will you spend money, time and lose a few hours of studying – it is unlikely that you will enjoy yourself. If the event is a good networking opportunity, then you should consider delegating some time to the event. If not, then this should be an instant elimination from your budget. There’s no need to explain yourself to anyone, you’re an adult. Just a smile and simple no, thank you is all they need.
It’s all about priorities
Everyone’s priorities are different. Some people aim to be a Rockstar at everything they do while others just want to escape with their sanity intact. You do whatever works best for you. Start by decluttering your life and prioritizing the essentials – then let everything else fall into place.