“The days are long, the years are short”. Quoted from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project this describes exactly what I’ve been thinking lately. Months and years seem to pass much quicker than they did as a child or adolescent. In those times I was eager to become an adult, and now there are many days when the idea of going back to be a kid would be a nice break. Time is the one important factor which seems to work sometimes faster than we do. Focusing on certain time management skills can allow us to make the best use of time so that it’s possible to accomplish our work and enjoyable, fulfilling activities.
- Keep a calendar of your important events
All of my events are one of calendar so I can easily keep track of school, work, business activities, social events, and birthdays. If your calendar seems packed, you might want to make separate calendars for each category of your life. Google’s calendar works well for me because I can access it no matter where I am, and I use it often, but for others, carrying a planner, if they want something more tangible, may work well too.
- Write things down
Sometimes it’s very easy to forget things as we go through our day, so write things down, make lists. I have a frequent habit of doing this and with technology today it’s very easy to take these ideas with us any where we go. Even in situations where I may not have access to the technology, Post-It Notes have been a frequent source to make lists and help stay organized. I know I’ve made lists on Post-Its for something as serious as goals for the day/week/month to things as silly as grocery lists or book and song names I wanted to remember for later on. Write things down, it will make a world of a difference, and it might lead to bigger things, like a blog or a book.
- Prioritize-set goals
Setting goals for yourself is the most important thing you can do in accomplishing your dreams and desires. Whether it is setting long term or short term goals, doing this sets a timeline for you and gives you a sense of direction. If you are having difficulty setting larger goals, start small,. What would you like to accomplish by the end of today, the end of this week? This month? Once you have set those goals, take action soon towards completing them.
- Stay organized- keep things current, de-clutter your life
During the course of one year, I allow myself to de-clutter my life many times. This ranges from getting rid of clothes I don’t wear anymore to disposing any paperwork or items that I no longer have use for to just taking time out for myself to clear my mind. Sometimes it’s very easy to hold on to things, material or otherwise, even if they have no current use. At that point you must ask yourself, “Do I really need this in my life, or, is this helping me progress in any way?” If the answer is easily no, then you know you must let go of it. Keeping things current and organized is a great way to de-clutter and figure out what you really need. For example, I rummage through my clothing, and the things I don’t use, I donate. If I am done using them, then perhaps they will come of use to someone else. One wo(man’s ) trash might be another wo(man’s) treasure. With any important documents, such as your finances, if you have kept track of them electronically, then it’s up to you if you want to dispose the hardcopies, especially if the receipts have expired. I find it useful to keep the hardcopies of any large monetary or long term purchases but to dispose the paperwork of anything short term, like grocery receipts. I had a habit of tracking finances through an excel spreadsheet, which I still use, but I’ve also found Mint.com is an excellent and secure tool for keeping track of all your finances in one place. Whatever tools you use, make sure you are able to clear out the un-needed so you can focus on the important parts of your life.
- Multi-task— make the work you do, work for you.
Multi-tasking is something that we all often do, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring and tedious. One way to quickly get through this is to add music to your routine. This not only seems to speed up the task itself, but it elevates mood at the same time. I’ve noticed that when I do anything, it works best to approach it in an order that will maximize your input, so that you are done faster. For example if you know one task is going to take a long time to finish, but you don’t need to be in front of the task to see it finish, allow yourself to do that first and then move on to other tasks while the first completes. That way, you make the best of the energy you have AND the tasks are done sooner, so you can enjoy your free time.