Why do we have so little time, yet we have so many things to do? I used to ask this question. We want to do so many things but 24 hours seem to be insufficient. Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the number of things that we have to do. We have a business to take care of, family to spend some time with, engagements that we have to attend, and many more. We have countless of activities that we forget to save time for ourselves. We often forget time for God and time for peace and recreation. We want to do all the activities, yet we feel and end up doing nothing by the end of the day. Is there a way to fix this so that we can put everything in our time?
There is no guaranteed recipe for everyone’s need but here are some minimalist approach that helped me with this problem.
Time Management Tips
1. Our time is like a basket – Imagine that our time is like an empty basket that we have to fill with activities and we have to empty it out every morning. Our basket has a limited capacity so we have to select what we have to put in its daily. Imagine that you will go to a vacation and you can only bring one prescribed basket to take in your vacation. What will you do? You will absolutely make each item in your basket count; you will make sure that what remains in the basket are things that you will need. You will keep what are essential and remove what are not. Time is something you cannot extend you cannot add another basket to fit everything that you want to do in a day.
2. Shave your activity – What activity is important to you? Remember our basket; decide what things should fit and what does not fit. It is time for you to give up some activities that only clutter your day. How will you know if that activity is necessary and what is a clutter? Here are some guides to help you out but you can add more standards.
a. List three goals that you want to achieve in your lifetime. Write also the people that are important to you and you want to spend time with them. For example: You can have a list of goals that goes like this :
1. Have an investment
2. Have a vacation in Europe
3. Start a Business.
Now, who are the people that you love the most
and do not forget God.
Now, set aside your list and write down all the activities that you are doing daily. After you write all of them down, it is time for you to shave your activities. Have these question in mind as you decide:
a. Which of these activities will help me achieve my three goals?
b. Which of the activities makes me closer to the people I love?
Keep all activities that answer yes to the two questions. If there is no “yes” in the answers above, you should probably change your activities to direct them to your goals and love ones. Remove the activities that do not help you because they will only clutter your basket and affect your productivity. As for me, what are the things that I give up recently? I gave up unnecessary time watching TV, playing computer games, sleeping, scrolling Facebook and social media, and internet. I am not saying that you ditch them all and abandon them, limit them so that it will not interfere with what you want to achieve in life. I used to surf the internet everyday, but now I set a limit for it. I set a day dedicated for entertainment so that it will not sap the energy out of me.
Now, you should also include an activity that improves yourself and knowledge. Add a chunk of your time dedicated for learning something new such as sewing, cooking, and gardening. You do not want to be stale, right?
The question now is, are you doing activities pointed to your goals? Are your activities help you with your family? Take your time and reflect in your life.
3. Schedule your activities – Most daily planners will give you a time based record and you usually use that time based record. You set up an activity for 8 am, 9 am, etc. It is a good thing but before you do that thing, you have to sort out your days first. This may not apply to all people, but it worked for many including myself. I used to panic each day, thinking all about the activities that I have to do but I learned to simplify my day by setting up days for each activity. I designated a day for each errand or activity that we have to do. For example, my daily activities are divided this way:
Monday – clean and declutter house
Tuesday – Garden Day – feed worms, remove weeds, tend to plants
Wednesday – Laundry Day and organize clothes
Thursday – write chapter of book, write blog, research
Friday – grocery, do errands outside the house, crafts day
Saturday – learn something new, about the bible, etc.
Sunday – Relax
I only have a limited day for these chores so I have to schedule them. A great chunk of my time is dedicated to activities for my goals. I know that most of you will work from 7 am to 5 pm and you only have about 3 hours free time to do chores and other things. Hence, you should divide your day not by hour but by day. So alot your chores that fits the designated day. For example, if you have a business and working at the same time, you should designate days for business meetings but do not give it all to that day. For example, you can designate a portion of your Saturday, Sunday, and Friday for your business venture assuming that your business is selling items or insurance and the like.
What I want to say is, after stream lining your activity, distribute them in a weekly basis and not daily. You cannot fit everything in a day but you can distribute them in a week. Imagine the basket scenario again, and this time you have 7 baskets with you. Instead of trying to fit everything in one basket, why not distribute them in the 7 baskets so that it can fit comfortably?
Remember to shave your activities and distribute them.