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Time Management

The excuse is common. I hear it all the time. “I just don't have time. I spend all my time on everyone else, so I certainly don't have time to exercise, let alone do anything for myself.” Those that say this are not exaggerating. They really don't have time. But here's the thing: everyone has 24 hours in a day. Everyone. The problem is multifaceted. People are wasting time doing unimportant, often unnecessary tasks, and are not planning out their days. They look at their lives one day at a time as it's happening, rather than long term. They don't happen to life, life happens to them. The key to having time for any goal, is to look at what you're currently doing to decide if it's necessary. There's an easy way to do this. Here we go.

In 10 seconds or less, write down the most important thing you do, that only you can do, in a day. Next, write down the second most important thing you do, that only you can do, in a day. Do this again with regard to the third most important thing you do. These are your big three. These are your biggest contributions to your family or work. If you could focus on just these three things, single-mindedly, for the majority of your time, you would find that you can either delegate or eliminate the majority of the remaining menial tasks you do, also known as “support tasks.” Take a stay at home mom for example. The big three are: education/playing, feeding the kids, and cleaning up. With a little preparation and a couple simple tools like a notebook and pencil, a simple schedule can be made.

6 am. Wake up, enjoy the silence, shower, prepare for the day.

7 am. Feed/dress kids

8 am. Kids relax/play-Dishes and Laundry

9 am. Storytime

10 am. Playdate/Socializing with other moms

11 am. Prepare /serve lunch

12 pm. Kids nap/Dishes, sweep, tidy bathrooms

1 pm. Go to the park

2 pm. Quiet time

3 pm. Go to gym/Kids socialize

4 pm Run errands (grocery store, pay bills, visit Post office, shopping, etc.)

5 pm Start dinner/Kids play/chores-responsibilities

6 pm Dinner with family

7 pm Dishes/empty trash and family time

8 pm Kids' baths and bedtime

8:30 pm Time with Spouse

10 pm Bedtime

Obviously children aren't perfect, and neither are parents. Surprise messes and unexpected changes often happen with little people. But with a rough guideline to follow, your day can be far more effective than usual. There are several things than can be planned for as you make your schedule. Here are some ideas.

Plan out your week in advance. When planning, include what you'll make for dinner each night of the week. Not only will that allow you to make healthier choices than you would on the fly, but you can simultaneously make a list of things you'll need to buy so that you'll only have to make one trip to the grocery store that week, and you'll be far less likely to overspend on unnecessary and (ahem, unhealthy) food items. If you want to get extra frugal about it, you can also scan the Sunday paper for coupons for the things you know you'll need! Remember, YOU are the author of your schedule. Do what works best for you. Write down your list of goals: drink more water, exercise 3x per week, eat x amount of green veggies per day, etc. and craft them into your schedule. It may seem awkward at first, but if you don't include them in your schedule, they will be “conveniently” forgotten. The best news, is that once you've followed your schedule long enough, these new schedule changes will become habit, which leads to long term success. For more information on creating habits, check out my additional post on it. Also, be looking for ways you can compile your menial tasks into one block of time. This will allow you to get a significant amount of tasks done in a shorter amount of time. For example, if you know you need to make a budget, pay bills, and send thank you cards to family, set aside an hour in your week to do them. Get all the necessary things you'll need to accomplish those tasks in front of you, so you can plow through them in one shot. Once you've accomplished those sickening tasks you'll feel energized and motivated by your victory.

Thank you for investing in your health!

Jenna Reddish NT Contributor

Lifestyle Division

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