This is my first blog post that is not focused on management/leadership issues and I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous having to come up with a topic that was not related to those areas. Several thoughts went through my head – What should I choose? Will I be able to find something interesting? How will I get this done? In the end, another question I asked myself led to my selection – Where does the time go?
Not only do I work full-time, but I’m a husband, church volunteer, and a parent of two kids who are very involved in numerous activities. Most of my time is already spoken for, whether it be during the work week, at home in the evenings, or running errands on the weekends. Even though I have always found time to write my monthly blog posts, I wanted to find ways to improve this area and develop a schedule that is more balanced with my life.
After doing some research and talking with others, as well as reviewing what currently works for me, here are some tips that may help you improve your time management.
- Eliminate the waste, but be realistic. Do an honest inventory of where you currently spend your time on a daily basis. Look for items that can be removed or decreased. Make sure to schedule time for the unexpected.
- Get a good night’s sleep. In order to accomplish what needs to be done, you must be physically and mentally together, so aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
- Prioritize. Ask yourself what needs to be done first, then second, and so on.
- Learn to say “no” or to delegate. It’s okay not to take on every request you may get asked to do.
- Have a written schedule and “to do” list. It’s always a good idea to be able to reference a list. Options include hard copy paper, an email to yourself or using an app on your phone.
- Find time for fun, but be aware of your entertainment time. It’s very easy to get sucked into several hours of social media, gaming, TV, etc. Set a time limit and stick to it.
- Stay focused. As the saying goes, “Keep your eyes on the prize”. Try not to become distracted and, if necessary, put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign.
- Eat healthy and exercise. Staying fit and eating right is a step in the right direction for several reasons, and it certainly helps follow-through with the other suggestions.
Some of you may look at this list and find it overwhelming. Maybe you don’t think there is a good reason to review how you manage your time and make adjustments. So, why is it important? Not only can better time management help reduce your overall stress and anxiety, but it may also improve your decision-making ability, increase your free time, and you may become more self-disciplined. Remember, time is finite and it is your responsibility to figure out how best to use it.
Please take a look at the information in Suggested Resources below for tools, tips, sample charts and a self-assessment. You can also contact your EAP for additional guidance, advice and resources.
By implementing these suggestions and making a concerted effort to continue doing so, my hope is that you will be able to easily answer the question, “Where does the time go?”
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Jeremy S. joined Empathia in 2007 as Manager, Client Care Services and currently serves as Account Manager/Sales Consultant. He is also a certified wellness and tobacco cessation coach. Jeremy has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Organizational Development. Prior to joining Empathia, he spent 14 years in the EAP industry in a variety of managerial/leadership roles at another behavioral healthcare organization. Jeremy enjoys reading, photography, music and spending time with his wife and daughters.