Time Management

Time Management

Time management is one of the hardest skills to develop.

But it is a skill that if mastered will help you accomplish more of the goals you are aiming for.

Many times we have challenges in managing our time because we underestimate the time a project or task will take and because we allow other things to distract and interrupt us.

Here are a few tips that help me manage my time and make the most of every day.

  1. Prioritize your tasks. Making a list of the many things to do will not help you if you don’t indicate in some way which tasks are the most important to complete. Make your list and number it.
  2. Remove distractions. Turn off your phone or the television and complete tasks in an environment conducive to the task at hand.
  3. Complete all important tasks first. Concentrating on one important task at a time and working on it until it is finished before moving on to the next will help you stay focused.
  4. Give yourself the appropriate amount of time for each task. Underestimating the amount of time a task will take and not giving yourself the appropriate amount of time can be self defeating.

Set yourself up for success when managing your time and you will find your tasks and goals will be easier to achieve!

The Time is Yours!

The Time is Yours!

Do you ever wonder what is holding you back?  The reason I hear most often from colleagues and friends is time.

There is never enough time to get all the things done that need to get done.  The end of each day comes too quickly and there are too many things left to do that did not get accomplished.

So people stay up late, run to Wal-mart at 9 o’clock at night, run around trying to make up for the lost time in the day and to get ahead on the next.

The result is that many  people are run down, frazzled and frustrated. And then we get up the next morning, after too little sleep and do it all over again.

What is holding these people back? What is holding you back?

It is not time that is holding us back. Each one of us has the same 24 hours a day that everyone else has.  Why are some people so efficient and happy and accomplished?

It is very simple…and you can already tell what I am going to say. They are organized and have their priorities straight. They do not squander their time. And they value their health, their peace of mind and their priorities.

In the next few blog posts I will examine and revisit some golden ideas on time management, priorities and values. Stay tuned!

For today, I invite you to examine your day and your life. We are half way through January already and many of us have already given up on our plans and resolutions to get organized, get it together, and do things differently this year to get out from under the time crunch that rules our fast paced run around life.

Think about the time wasters in our day–losing track of time in the shower, talking to co-workers around the water cooler, making unnecessary trips to the store, allowing others to dominate our time by volunteering us for tasks that should belong to others.

Then think about the things that are really important to you in your life–the things that provide you with the quality of life you desire and deserve.  And get ready for some life changing ideas to help you take advantage of each day.

The time is yours–make the most of it.

A Year In Review

A Year In Review

Now that we are in the second half of December I have taken some time to think about 2018.

The year seemed to go by so quickly–as we’ve all gone about our busy run around lives.

I am grateful for this year and the promise of another. Grateful for all of those around me-family and friends-that share our lives.

Some are close by while others are far away but still impact our lives and the people we are on a daily basis.

It is easier sometimes to reflect as we get older on our lives, on the impact many people have had on us and the impact we have on others.

Sometimes the people who impact us we’ve never met in person and sometimes there are people very close to our hearts.

The closing of this year is a time to celebrate our blessings and a time to also grieve for those who have left us physically but that will always be with us–in some fashion by the way they touched our lives.

Just the day before yesterday we lost Penny Marshall, actress and one of the first female directors. The beautiful Laverne from the Laverne and Shirley show.

We have lost other icons like Margot Kidder (Lois Lane), Charlotte Rae (Mrs. Garrett), Robin Leach (from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous), and Burt Reynolds (Smokey and the Bandit).

These characters lived with us through TV and molded our thoughts, our fantasies of our lives, and our sense of humor.

Others that impacted our lives and society are also gone–Billy Graham, Barbara Bush and months later her husband, George H.W. Bush. They leave us with their patriotism, their service and their great love of God and country.

Some that impacted me personally are Linda Brown-who was the center of the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education that overturned the ‘separate but equal’ ruling that helped end segregation.

Aretha Franklin, who helped me come of age with songs like ‘Respect’ , ‘Think’, and a ‘Natural Woman’.

Stan Lee, who fed my imagination with his superheroes and Marvel comics, always in a fight between good and evil in which good wins out in the end.

There are closer hits to the heart. A few family friends that molded us in our early years and we have fond memories of. And an aunt that shared my blood and beautiful memories of family with me that I will never forget and always cherish.

We leave all these behind in the history of this year and we will forever carry them forward with us as we continue to travel through our time.

Most of all, as we close 2018, we should remember how every part of us came from a part of others who touched our lives and how we continue to touch the lives of others.

Be kind, be honest and be grateful in these last days of the year and carry the memories with you into the next.

So Many Books, So Little Time

So Many Books, So Little Time

I love books. No, that’s an understatement. Books for me have been a lifelong addiction.

I read everything–histories, romance, detective, classics, biographies–and I cannot catch up on all the things I want to read.

I have lists of books I’ve read, and books I want to read.  It’s quite the dirty little secret.

While I have never (ever!) stood in line late at night or in the early wee hours for concert tickets to any band or singer, I confess that I have stood in line–at midnight–at the local Barnes & Noble to purchase the next installment in the Harry Potter series.

Sometimes I feel frustrated that I don’t have enough time to read all that I want to read and I get very invested in certain authors or series of books.

As the technology evolved and ebooks made their debut I was vehemently against them. I thought reading would not be as enjoyable as holding a book and turning the pages myself.

Then I received my first  Kindle as a gift. I learned how to connect it to Amazon books and my local library.  I downloaded the Kindle App on my phone and the obsession continued.

Having a whole library in my pocket gives me access to my books whenever I have downtime–in line at the grocery store, waiting for my oil change, or on my coffee break.

But here is an idea to get more reading time in, if you have the reading addiction like I do:

  1. Get a library card
  2. Download the Overdrive App on your mobile phone.  This will give you access to audiobooks for free.
  3. Electronically check out the books you would like to listen to–and you can listen to books during times that you must spend your time attending to something else.

I listen to my books in the car as I drive to work and back, to run errands, or on weekend trips to other cities.

I listen to my books while I cook and meal prep and do my laundry and while I am on exercise machines or walking in my neighborhood.

This is not the same as reading the written word and turning pages, swiping left or scrolling up, but it is fascinating to listen to books read to you as your brain conjures the pictures in your mind–and it allows you to get a few more books in….

So many books, so little time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 Hours a Day

24 Hours a Day

Each one of us is blessed to have the same amount of time each day–24 hours.

Yet some of us get so much more done in the same amount of time than others. And I am noticing that people who can accomplish more in the same amount of time that we are all given are happier people.

It all comes down to organization, focus and work ethic.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your day.

1. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day.

Some people say this is boring. Ok then I am boring. I go to bed by 8:30pm, 9:00pm at the latest, everyday. I wake up at 5:00 am every “workday” and 6:00am on weekends.

As a teacher, even on my holidays off, I follow the same schedule. If my husband and I are traveling we do so also.

This helps our body have the sufficient energy levels each day for whatever is planned.

If we stay up late for a special occasion we still keep to the same schedule and in a few days our bodies have “caught up” the hours of rest needed to continue whatever our lifestyle dictates.

2. Be organized in everything you do.

Being organized is a tremendous time saver. If you know me or have been reading my blog for even a short time you will know I am a planner.

I plan everything from the chores of the day–and the days of the week certain chores get done– to our meals, our workdays, family activities and events.

For example, grocery shopping happens once a week, we follow a list and we don’t go back to the grocery store that week. If we forget something we just work around it until the next time.

If you are organized in everything, less time is wasted and more is accomplished.

3. Keep your focus.

It is great to have lots and lots of dreams of what you want to do with your life and how you want to spend your days–but without focus you will spend days and years going from one thing to the next and never accomplishing anything.

Keeping your focus on beginning and finishing your tasks–whether it is an obligation (like your career)–or something recreational like a hobby or project–is the only way things get done.

Think of all the things you began but have not finished yet…you have lost your focus for those things.

If you feel you have lost your focus because you don’t have enough time see tip # 2.

4. A strong work ethic will help you accomplish anything.

If you want to live a full life with days packed with accomplishments and successes a strong work ethic will get you there.

Whether it is washing dishes, or building a successful company, raising intelligent resourceful children, or being the best you can be at whatever it is you want to do, you have to have a stick-with-it-ness that only comes from a good work ethic.

Here’s the good news–if you don’t already have a work ethic you can get one–they are free!

4 easy steps to a happy and productive life…remember we are all given the same 24 hours a day–how are you choosing to take advantage of them?

Of Weddings and Funerals

Of Weddings and Funerals

Nothing seems to mark the passage of time more than the weddings and funerals in our lives.

The weddings are always happy occasions when we have the chance to get together with family and friends to celebrate the beginning of a couple’s life together. At least for me.

It doesn’t matter what age the happy couple is or if this is their first or second (or third) marriage. It is a beginning, a fresh start with the expectation and promise that it holds. It is a celebration of life.

It is the clock of life that ticks off to these moments. We often think of our own lives at weddings–sometimes remembering our own weddings or those of others. The life lived before and after such events. The choices we have made and how that defines us–in reference to time passed and time yet to come.

As we get older, funerals also give us an opportunity to see friends and family although for a more somber occasion. This too is a celebration of life.

This is a time when again we hope for that new beginning with the promise of everlasting life in heaven.

But it is also a reminder of our mortality, of the fact that our time on earth is limited.

When a friend or family member passes away, regardless of their age, we think about the impact they had in our lives–sometimes big and sometimes small–but an impact nonetheless.

And we think of our lives at funerals, before that moment, and what it will be after that moment. It is a time to be grateful, to appreciate and to take advantage of the time we have left.

So always remember to celebrate life–those of others–and your own! These milestones, weddings and funerals, help us remember to slow down from our hurry up run around life and enjoy everything we can.

I hope your life is full of joy and rich memories!

Me Time

Me Time

One of my favorite parts of summer is that I can disconnect–from work, from certain responsibilities, and from the laundry–at least for a little while.

I took last week “off”.  I did not travel anywhere but I did take a vacation from everyday routines.

As some of you noticed (and commented) I took time away from my writing and from most of my house chores. I stopped organizing and planning to organize.  I just sat back and relaxed.

I spent some time in my backyard, admiring the plants and the breeze. I caught up on some global news.  I did some reading, a lot of relaxing, and I did a fair amount of Netflix binging.

I painted my fingernails and toenails. I gave myself a facial. And I learned a few new yoga moves.

Me time.  

Most important of all I let go of worrying about things that are out of my control anyway. And I came to this realization:

It was a very good week!

So now I am back, in my regular routine, and I am loving it–again!  The planning, organizing, thinking, writing, spending time with my family.

I am a simple person.  And I am happy being a simple person and enjoying simple pleasures like clean sheets, home cooked meals, organized drawers.

We fail ourselves sometimes by getting too wrapped up trying to be all the things others want us to be. Because we don’t want to let people down.

We forget that what is important in our lives are the people around us and the things that are important to us.

Having a little “me time” gives you a moment, a day, or a week to step back, take a breath and see things for what they really are. To understand your intentions about things and sometimes to understand the intentions of others in relation to you.

It is a very powerful tool–me time.

I recommend me time for everyone! Carve out a little time from our run around lifestyles and just give yourself the time to:

  1. Think about the things that you are grateful for
  2. Enjoy the people you love and that love you
  3. Clarify what is important to you
  4. Let go of things that are not important to you

Keeping life simple helps us live better, getting things done smarter, to reach goals faster. That’s my objective–what’s yours?

How would you use some me time?  Would you use it to get other chores done from the never ending list or would you look inside yourself to find what is important to you?
Leave me a comment below–or send me an email with your comments at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.