This is a question asked quite regularly of me. And the answer is pretty simple – I don’t! There are lots of things I don’t get around to doing that I would like to do or even should do. I highlighted some of them in this post a little while ago.
But with that said, I do manage to fit it lots of things I like doing and meet my commitments to my family, community and work. It does take a conscious effort to do this and I recently shared some strategies that can help over at Kidspot Village Voices, which I thought I would share here too!
Time management: Fitting it all in
When you embark on a new undertaking like returning to study or work, things can seem to go well for the first month or so and then reality hits in. You may start to feel exhausted, frazzled or overwhelmed. The list of things to do seems never ending and you may struggle to find the time to fit in every thing that needs to get done. I have found it incredibly helpful at times like this to take a look at where I am spending my time and then make changes to redirect my energies into those activities which will help me achieve my goals.
The reality of combining family life with other commitments means that at different times, particular activities need to take a back seat. It is often referred to as seasons in life. When you are taking on a new challenge which requires a significant amount of time, it may mean that being the team manager of your son’s football team again this year is not an option. Or when you have a newborn, it is not the time to start training for a marathon!
To help you work out what activities may need to go for a while, note down where you spend your time for a week. I know this sounds like a real drag, but it you spend five minutes at the end of the day before you go to bed, noting down your activities you will get a realistic picture of your time allocation. You can download a Time Assessment Matrix like this one, to help you with this task.
Once you have a week or so worth of data, you can then align it with your goals and see what the picture looks like. You can download a Time allocation matrix like the one below, to help you with this task.
- Write down the activities you have spent time on over the week underneath the matching headings of your goals where they relate.
- Cross off these activities on your time sheet.
- Once you have crossed off all you can, highlight the activities left on the time matrix.
- Ask yourself whether you need to be spending time on these activities. Naturally there will be many activities which are not negotiable, feeding the kids, housework etc, but you will also find many others that are negotiable.
- Then it is time to prune off the unnecessary and stick to the basics. This can be hard to do but remember that if you do prune off some activities, you can actually enjoy the ones you do, not just fly through them and tick them of the to do list.
It is not always possible to fit in everything you would like to do at any given point in time. It doesn’t mean you will never do them, it just means they may have to happen later. Knowing what is currently most important to you and therefore where you need to be spending your time, can help manage the feeling of being overwhelmed by the to do list.
How are you feeling with your current commitments at the moment?
If you likes this post you can see more of my posts like these over at Village Voices:
- Check in time. Are you meeting your goals?
- Helping the family manage change
- How to keep going and achieve your dreams