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Find more time in your day

By on December 15, 2007

photo by tanakawho
flower vase
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller

Frugality is often the catalyst for creating new habits in other areas of your life, such as time management. You look at your daily routines with new eyes. Organizing becomes second nature. After all, time is money, right?

We claim there aren’t enough hours in the day, or if only we had more time, we could do so much more. Upon closer examination, we can discover our own time wasters, such as surfing the Internet, watching television and disorganization. Once you’ve identified areas you can work on, you’re well on your way to finding the time you need to do the things you want to. Here’s how.

LEARN TO SAY NO: Learning to say no is hard. Realize that there are always going to be relentless requests for your time. It’s crucial that you set boundaries. Be assertive when setting limitations, and know that you don’t always have to give a reason for your decision. Simply say, “No. I can’t do this.” Not only will you have more available quality time, but you’ll have less stress, too.

MULTITASK AND COMBINE TASKS: When considering multitasking at home, watching television while folding laundry or doing dishes while talking on the telephone might come to mind. Try creating a list that includes tasks you can accomplish in less than 10 minutes. If you’re boiling water for pasta, for example, empty the dishwasher. If you’re waiting in the doctor’s office, compile your grocery list or weekly meal plan.

If you have a handy list of short tasks, you can refer to it and start making the best use of even small blocks of time. Your tasks might include making a salad, setting the table, watering plants or sorting mail.

Make the best use of your driving time by combining tasks in a single day instead of making several trips during the week. If you need to get gas for the car, combine that errand with your shopping.

STOP PROCRASTINATING: Try to break larger tasks and activities into smaller, manageable chunks of time. The key is to start what needs to be done. Set a reward for yourself if you have to, or consider having friends or family hold you accountable. Delegate if necessary, and be sure to avoid distractions such as phone calls, the computer and television.

PRIORITIZE: Make a to-do list and start prioritizing what is most important for you to accomplish. You can do this by tracking your activities for a couple of weeks. Consider what you can cut from your schedule. Stop obligations that no longer serve you well. If you add something new to your schedule, take something away from it as well. Make caring for yourself a priority. When overwhelmed, take necessary breaks and get plenty of sleep to keep you charged.

CREATE AN ACTION PLAN: We all have the best intentions when it comes to finding balance and managing our time. Make your goals stick by keeping a road map of where you want to go. Look over your list of priorities. See what you value most, and focus on that specific goal. Then, write down all the steps needed to get that goal accomplished.

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