I struggle….I mean STRUGGLE with time management. There is so much going on….things that need doing, places I have to be, 1/2 a million kids with different stories that distract. As a person who is easily overwhelmed, organization and time management are critical to my productivity, and well, my general well being. But that doesn’t translate into “good at it.” I’m trying all the time to figure out how to keep it together. (Side note: for Mother’s Day my daughter filled out an “all about my mom” page in primary….incidentally, “My Mom is good at: everything” and “My Mom isn’t very good at: keeping it together.” OUCH.)
I ran across a Facebook post by one of my favorite people to follow, Jennifer Wilson over at Simple Scrapper. She wrote a great article this week on Time Management and I loved what she had to say. Although it’s written for a scrapbooking site, it’s principles are applicable to life in general. Check it out: My Every Day Productivity Tricks by Jennifer Wilson. It got me thinking (again) about how to make my day more productive.
Her number one is also my #1 way to stay ahead of the game: Get Up Earlier.
Because of health issues and fatigue, I have struggled (ah, there’s that word again) with this so much lately. I don’t always wake early, and when I do, I’m not always able to get up right away. Let me tell you that when I DO get up earlier (15 minutes earlier that usual, or 15 minutes before anyone else….whatever “earlier” is to you), my day goes SO MUCH BETTER! I get some of those things done that I can’t do in the midst of chaos, like morning prayers and scripture study and mapping my day. And I feel like I’ve gotten some ME time.
My next favorite way to boost productivity is my planner.
Whether you do it in your smart phone or in a paper planner (I ADORE the Mormon Mom Planner. I’ve used it for the last two years and it helps me keep my focus and be deliberate in my….everything. You can check it out here). Prioritizing and defining your focus is so important to a productive day. It helps me see where I can fit little projects in and helps me make sure I’m where I’m supposed to be. It also helps ME because I have places to write quotes and inspiration to help me remember this years “one little word” which for me, is INTENTION. Each week I have a “sub-word” and I write ideas and quotes about that secondary idea on each weeks page. Mapping my day gives me an opportunity to make sure I’ve got all the important stuff in the forefront of my mind so I don’t forget things.
My next favorite trick to time management and productivity is the FlyLady philosophy….living life 15 minutes at a time.
Especially when I am completely overwhelmed, setting a timer and going to work on one specific thing for 15 minutes, and then moving onto the next critical thing for 15 minutes, really helps me power through a whole lotta stuff. I get so much more done, particularly housekeeping stuff, when I operate 15 minutes at a time. And on days when I am really struggling to go, because of health issues, that 4th quarter (work on three different projects for 15 minutes and then take the 4th 15 minutes to relax, get a drink, READ A BOOK, etc) makes such a huge difference for me mentally.
Next, I find there are a few small, but critical items to be accomplished every day for maximum productivity and success. Yours might be different….
- Make my bed
- Read scriptures
- Get dressed for the day
- Put in laundry
- Put meals in motion
There are probably a million and one more ways to increase productivity and manage your time as a woman, but the last one I’m going to mention that I need to remember is the importance of being fluid. Things are not always going to go according to plan. Sometimes only 3 of the 254,698 items on the to-do list are going to get done, and that’s ok. Making sure that I’m tuned in to catch a teaching moment with my children, or recognize the beauty in this amazing planet we’ve been blessed with, or realize a blessing, see a neighbor in need and help out, or share a hug or loving word with my loved ones is so much more important that having everything crossed off the list.
They are the TRULY essential things.
I never want to be so busy, so wrapped up in my to-do’s that I fail to recognize what is truly important.
I’m not there yet. Everyday is a new journey, a new attempt at managing my time and being successful at…..well, everything. But working to manage my time better and increase my personal productivity is one way I work to make PEACE and preparedness a part of EVERY DAY LIFE.
Leave me a comment and tell me YOUR favorite time management ideas!