By Michele Dortch
Need a quick fix that will get you more time? Here are ten tips for creating more time in your life:
1. Minimize personal errands
Most working moms also wear the role of “home manager.” You balance the checkbook, pay the bills, do the grocery shopping, pick up the dry cleaning, etc. The time it takes to run these personal errands adds up! I’ve minimized the time I spend on personal errands by leveraging technology and delivery services. Here are just a few of the services I’ve used:
Rent DVDs online and have them delivered by mail.
Get groceries delivered to your doorstep.
Have the local dry cleaner deliver and pick up your laundry
Ship packages and letters using the online service of the US Post Office (they’ll even pick up at no additional charge!)
2. Follow your natural energy cycles
Your body is built in with a biorhythmic monitor that for high and low energy levels. You may be a morning person, or a “night owl.” Schedule difficult or complicated tasks based on your unique biorhythmic cycle. You’re much more productive when working at your optimum energy level.
3. Treat yourself
You work hard. Reward your successes frequently. Give yourself time off and set up special rewards for accomplishing your tasks on time. Knowing that you’re hard work will pay off into something you really want is motivating and keeps you moving throughout the day.
4. Pre-prepare dinners for the week on the weekends
I’m a new fan of Food Network’s Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller show! Robin has developed weekly meal planning strategies and quick recipes for busy families. With day-by-day plans and easy but delicious recipes, your weeknight dinners can be stress-free. Her recipe ideas have made my weeknight cooking so much easier!
5. Record your thoughts
You have a lot of things going on in your life. In the midst of busy day you may be struck with a bit of inspiration or a forgotten to-do. Don’t let these valuable nuggets of information escape you! Carry a small notepad in your purse, or diaper bag, to track quick notes. You can also get a digital voice recorder and talk out your thoughts. (Check your cell phone since most models have a voice recorder feature built in.)
6. Block your time
They say that kids thrive on routine. I think adults do as well. Try structuring your daily tasks into specific time blocks. I have specific blocks of time for when I check email, when I run personal errands and when I perform certain business-related tasks. This allows me to put these high-priority tasks into my schedule before it gets filled with meetings or last-minute requests for my time.
7. Tackle the tough stuff first
If you’re a procrastinator, then it’s best to tackle the unsavory tasks first whenever possible. One of the things I usually defer is making out-bound marketing calls. So I’ve set up a schedule where I have “5-by-10” in my calendar which means that I commit to making five calls by 10 am every day.
8. Get rid of junk
Between unsolicited junk in your mailbox, telemarketing calls during dinner, and tons of offensive email, your life is probably chock full of junk. Take charge of your time! Eliminate the junk in your life and as a bonus, you could be protecting you and your family from the pain of identity theft. Download this PDF from The Federal Trade Commission to learn how to "just say no" to the junk here: http://www.integratedmother.com/pdfs/optout.pdf.
9. Find a place for everything.
Everything you own should have a home – mail, socks, books, pens, receipts, etc. When you live and work in an environment that’s organized and clutter-free you naturally save time because you’re spending less time searching for things. Create a home for everything and then put it away immediately.
10. Let the past go.
Don’t waste time feeling guilty about what you didn’t get done, or how the person sitting in the car in front of you caused you to be late for work. Focus on what’s ahead and move on.
About The Author
Michele Dortch is the Founder of The Integrated Mother, a nationwide coaching and personal development company providing work+life solutions for working mothers and their employers. Visit www.integratedmother.com to sign up for FREE work+life tips.