The 12 Days of New Year’s Resolutions
This is Day 11 of The 12 Days of New Year’s Resolutions for Better Personal Organization
I’m spending 12 days posting ideas for new year’s resolutions you might like to choose for yourself. Each day focuses on a different life area.
Remember: go for progress, not perfection.
Following is an edited extract from the introduction to Module 11: Time Management in Get Organized Wizard for Smart Women.
Day 11: Organize your Time
Few of us are at peace with time. Mostly, we struggle to get things done; we lament that there aren’t enough hours in the day; we feel like we’re always running but never catching up.
We search in vain for ‘the answer’ – some Holy Grail lying beyond or grasp, holding the secret to getting everything done, perfectly.
But finding the right time-management system is a bit like searching for the ideal handbag or the perfect diet. It can be a long and expensive process, full of promising highs and disappointing lows, but ultimately unsatisfying. There’s always something shiny and new that catches your eye or gets you excited – and then you’re off again.
The following suggestions aren’t about creating the perfect planner or putting your life on an egg-timer. They’re about the bigger picture of your priorities and how your use of time reflects – or fails to reflect – the things that matter to you.
Analyzing your schedule
- How you spend time
Can’t work out where your time goes? This can be an enlightening exercise: For several typical days keep an hourly log of what you do. Be honest – it’s all useful! Categorize activities if you like.
Next, take time to list your priorities and order by importance. The idea is to get clear about what matters to you – a crucial step in using your time well.
- Does your schedule reflect your priorities?
It’s a shock to discover your time expenditure contradicts your priorities. But once you identify the mismatch you can target specific areas for a more aligned life.
Streamlining your schedule
- Work tasks
Instead of cramming everything into your day, why not take a step back to consider your work tasks more strategically. What can you simplify? Eliminate? Delegate? Outsource/sub-contract? Batch?
- Commuting/travel time
How can you reduce travel time or make it more productive? Try listening to audiobooks, preparing for the day, meditating or blog reading.
- Home tasks
As with your work tasks, identify the home tasks you do and consider them more strategically. What can you simplify? Eliminate? Delegate? Outsource/sub-contract? Batch?
- Family time
Want more quality family time? List your family activities and then consider:
- Which are unrewarding? How can you reduce them?
- Which are nurturing? How can you do these more?
- Self time
Is your ‘self’ time eaten up in unsatisfying ways? List activities and explore ways to get more from your time. Batch seasonal clothes shopping? Eliminate waxing with laser? Read during pedicures?
Stopping time wasters
We struggle with time, yet most of us fritter away great chunks of it daily without realizing. This section targets some of those sneaky time pacmans.
Which of your activities feel virtuous but waste time? Paper shuffling? Meetings? Over-planning/organizing? Excessive email checking?
- Low-value recreation
Many of us ‘relax’ with activities we don’t really enjoy, out of habit. Audit your recreation for value.
- Self-sabotaging behavior
We can be at the mercy of habits like over-committing ourselves, indecision, procrastination, multi-tasking, rescuing others and unassertiveness. Gain greater awareness of these tendencies and organize your plan to reduce them.
Losing time to distractions? Take inventory of visual, auditory, physical, mental and other distractions and interruptions and consider how to deal with them more effectively.
Question: What area of Time Management will you work on in 2009?
Note for users of Time Management Wizard and Get Organized Wizard for Smart Women
Your Wizard contains guided worksheets for each one of these items, plus others, as well as additional prompts, ideas and suggestions to help you organize each one.
Tomorrow – Day 12: Family, and our 12-part series concludes!
Picture adapted from image by Aldon.