Making the Most of Your Time
If you’re like the rest of us you are trying to cling to the hopes of your new years resolutions and trying to make the most of your time. I’ll bet getting organized is somewhere on you’re list. If not, then I’m sure you’re trying to find a way to accomplish all those goals and aspirations for 2013 and trying to meet the demands of daily life. You may be feeling a little less hopeful about what you will accomplish this year. Maybe reviewing the 15 most common goal setting mistakes will help make the most of your time.
I’m here to revive those dreams and help you make them a reality. All goals and to-do lists boil down to one important skill: TIME MANAGEMENT!
To be honest no one can control every minute of every day (at least without running over everyone around them), but we can do a lot to create room in our lives for the things we value like family, personal growth, and just being able to relax. The trick is to organize your time so that you can make the most of it.
I once read a story about a teacher that brought into to his classroom a large pile of rocks, sand, and gravel along with a large glass jar. “Can all of this fit into this jar?” From the spread on the table the students concluded it wasn’t possible. The teacher then proceeded to prove them wrong. First he put in his big rocks, then the medium, then the small; shaking the jar to carefully have them settle into the proper space. Then he poured in the gravel, once again shaking it to settle into all the gaps. Lastly he poured in the sand, and with a final few shakes fills the jar and empties the table.
Time is the same way for all of us, we often look at the spread on the table and assume it’s hopeless to fit it all into our day, but a little arranging and careful shifting, will leave us with a day full of possibilities and accomplishments instead of defeat and exhaustion.
How to fill your Time Management Jar
This is best accomplished as a family. Its amazing what happens when we enlist our family to help us and when everyone is on the same page! Remember this is something that should be reviewed and repeated often as schedules, activities, and life happens.
Use our Excel spreadsheet to create your own printable family schedule with this Time-Management-Table
Step 1: Fill in all the “usual things” that happen each day
Monday: Jeffery has scouts 4-5, Family Home Evening 6, School 9-3, Work 9-5
Tuesday: Jane has Basketball, school 9-3, work 9-5
Step 2: Fill in the mundane, and routine. When people need to wake up, meal times, nap times, bed times, piano practice.
Step 3: Fill in specifics for step 2
Example: 8 am Wake up kids, get dressed have breakfast
8:30 am family scriptures, prayers, and out the door
Step 4: The not fun part – schedule work! Remember the task will fill the time allotted to it – so just give yourself what you feel that task deserves. Unless you want to be cleaning the house all the time or fighting your kids on chores and homework, set a limit.
Example: Saturday clean house 11-2
Step 5: Look at all those empty spaces and smile at the free time you didn’t think you had.
Step 6: Examine your goals and personal needs, where can you fit these in. Do you need to wake up early, or stay up later?
Now is also the time to ask yourself -does what you have on your schedule really fit your priorities? If your kids aren’t really into basketball and practice times are stressing everyone out, maybe its time to quit. We often fill our lives with meaningless stuff that we think is important only to find that what we really need and is truly important, gets drowned out by everything else. Fill your jar accordingly. Work as a family to make these decisions. Your kids will be more understanding when they can literally see that there is not enough time in the day.
Step 7: Leave some free space. Don’t schedule every minute of everyday. This gives you some wiggle room for emergencies, and running late. It also gives you room to breath and relax, which is just as important as checking things off the to do list.
Step 8: Color code, and print – this makes it easy to see and gives everyone a visual reminder of what’s happening each day and where they need to be and what they need to be doing to keep things running smoothly. See my sample schedule – Making the Most of your Time.
Step 9: Review each week for special items and decide where they plug into the schedule. I keep a little weekly calendar on my fridge for this task. Then I can decide whether I want to shift things around that appointment or just skip them, its not like they’re going anywhere. This weekly review time or a family council is a valuable way to keep your family focused and productive, but also stay aware of what your kids are doing, especially as teenagers. It’s a small thing that can have a profound impact.
Step 10: Decide how to remind yourself and stay on track. Will you use your phone alarms to stay on schedule, or will it just naturally happen? Some things you will need to set boundaries for so they don’t eat up your day – housework for example. The alarms and reminders also help create a habit. If you’re tracking a behavior than you’re more likely to succeed. (Shelle’s note: I plug mine into Google Calendar)
I hope this gets you rejuvenated and hopeful again as we swing into March and reality sets down on your resolutions. Don’t give up hope! Organize your time, organize your life and open up the possibilities!
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