Monday, February 14, 2011

February is National Time Management Month

Everyone now and again, I scan Brownielocks, THE website for listing all those lesser-known and wacky holiday observances. I usually learn some useful or fun bit of trivia about off-beat holidays. Today, I learned that February is National Time Management Month. This one definitely falls into the "useful" category!

Time management is a stumbling block for many of us. It's the kind of thing that we do well sometimes, but atrociously bad at others. Sometimes, we are good time managers at work, but not at home. Sometimes, it's the other way around. Bringing more time management into our lives is partly a self-discipline issue. But, it's also about learning how to organize our days to create more time for the fun stuff that we'd all rather be doing.

Cleaning up the Clutter involves a basic amount of time management. When you've got a busy life you need to figure out how to take the unpleasant tasks (i.e. cleaning) and make them manageable. The truth is, I'd rather not clean. At all. If I could get away with it, I'd avoid it. But, realistically, I need to get some things done. I like a clean house and my boys deserve to grow up with some sense of order in their lives. I need to manage my time wisely in order to get the unpleasant tasks out of the way so I can do the things I love.

I don't think I could spring clean the kitchen if I didn't manage my time effectively. It's just not possible to fully focus on taking apart the kitchen, cleaning everything and putting it all back together again in a day or two. At least not while I still have to take care of my kids, do laundry and 100 other things every day. But, I can manage to clean a drawer or two a day.

Even though I know I've made it work for me some, I know I could still improve my time management skills.  Here are some highlights from a list of stress-reducing time management tasks from the Mayo Clinic: 
  • Prioritize your tasks. Do the most important tasks first, instead of wasting time on the least-important tasks.
  • Say no to non-essential tasks. Sometimes you just have to say no. It can be hard to learn how to do this, but if you don't have room in your schedule for something or you find yourself wasting time on unimportant things, it's time to say no.
  • Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller jobs. This is exactly how I'm spring-cleaning my kitchen. Glad to see the experts approve! 
  • Limit distractions. This is a stumbling block for me!  I need to stay away from Facebook!  Or maybe only go there after all my work is done.
The Mayo Clinic has several more stress-reducing, time-management tips that are useful for those of us with lots of balls in the air. Read the full article here.

I know what I need to work on this month. What about you? What are your time-management tips?

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