We go into the new year with intentions of good habits. We feel free from the holiday stress and consider this a perfect time to start fresh. But how can you create better habits for a better you? Better time management could be the key. Here’s five tips to consider.
Start Off on the Right Foot
Starting your day or even your week on the right foot can make all the difference. Before going to bed each night, have a plan for the next day’s objectives and must-dos. Better yet, have a plan for the week on Sunday or Monday, however you run your week. Maybe even make a weekend plan by Friday afternoon. Knowing what you’re going into can help keep you focused on your tasks. Planning your time can help those tasks seem less overwhelming as you space them out accordingly.
Time management isn’t about having every second planned. It’s about having a handle on your overall time so you don’t lose track of what’s important. You don’t become subject to the day’s happenings. Instead, your day becomes subject to your plan. You’re in charge of your time!
What are your goals? Keeping your eyes on the target helps keep you focused. Are you cleaning out a closet this week? Pick a day and set time aside for that. What’s likely to happen? Do you have a bag ready for donations and another for trash? Did you plan a space for sorting? Maybe your goal is a 5K. Start each morning with stretches the moment your feet hit the floor. It doesn’t have to take more than a minute and it gets your blood flowing.
Ask yourself this important question: Is this task moving me towards my goal? Too many tasks in a day that aren’t helping you, may be hurting you. We need to eat, sleep, work, grocery shop, but if we’re spending hours streaming shows instead of working on our goals a little each day, we’re not getting closer.
It’s so easy to get distracted. Our phones and social media are great tools, but they can also be debilitating. Stop scrolling and ask yourself if what you’re doing has the right motive. Are you updating something for a purpose or just mindlessly scrolling? To get from point A to point B in a day, week, or even month, you need to take that journey intentionally.
You walk into the grocery store with a list so as not to overspend. Okay, if chips are on sale you might buy them, but you don’t browse the whole store that way. Same with your day – unless you’re on vacation, then chill! A typical day should have a few main points: self care (eating, resting, moving, etc.), responsibilities (child care, errands), and tasks associated with your goals. Those tasks might be going for a run, working on a project, or networking with colleagues, but they should intentionally be geared towards your goals.
Build in Rest Time
Yes! No matter the mission, every hero needs to rest. Plop on the couch and put your feet up. Daydream – yes! – and let your creative brain flow. Get lost in thought for a short time. Journal your thoughts. Close out a night with a favorite show. You’re not a robot; you need to chill and refuel. Just don’t make it a lazy habit. Wendy Redden (LifeHack) suggests you “begin each day with time for yourself.”
We need to build in rest time so there’s a start and stop. Maybe your stop is after a length of time. Maybe it’s at a certain time. Having a planned rest makes it okay because we’re not losing ourselves in it. When we don’t lose ourselves in our rest, it’s intentional and meaningful. Then it’s much more powerful and we’re more recharged. Use time management to your own advantage by building in time to rest.
Reassess and Reboot
Want to hear the best time management secret? No one is perfect, so it’s okay to mess up. We all fall off the wagon sometimes. Just reassess and reboot. No, seriously. We all have those days. We may lose ourselves or things don’t go as planned. That’s okay. Don’t give up. Just shuffle things around the schedule if needed and start again. Reassess the day or week or whatever is needed and reboot your plan. We’re allowed as many restarts as possible. Just make sure you’re not doing that every day. If that’s the case, you may need to reassess your overall plan.
Time management is a key to success for our goals and it’s also one of the trickiest things to master. The good news is that we’re all learning and adjusting and no one’s perfect. There’s always a new day and we can start fresh whenever we’re ready. So, start thinking about your goals, your habits, and the best way to manage your time to move you forward. What’s your best goal this year?