Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Do You Need More Time?

If you are juggling work and personal commitments and feel somewhat out of control then this blog may help you to feel like you have more time available and back in control again or more in control than ever.

This three point plan may help you to prioritise your diary tasks as well as give you some you time.

1. Step back to consider what you would like to be doing more of  - make a list of things that make you feel calm, happy, sane. For example, proper sleeping, going for a swim, reading or volunteering for a cause that you care about. Pick three to focus on.

Write down how you really spend your time, for a week. At the end of the week ask yourself - what am I glad that I spent time on? what could I avoid spending precious time on in future?

When I did this exercise it made me think that life is short and I ditched some timewasters for example, soap operas. I also reighned in a few time grabbers such as regularly checking e mail to disciplining myself to twice a day for responding to and e mailing out.

What distractions can you limit? Can you manage your boundaries better. One idea is to shut your door at home and work making it clear to others that you need to be left alone.

2. What can you stop doing? What can you take out?

For example, can you delegate jobs at home to your partner/children? What about at work? What can you outsource? House cleaning is obvious. If you think that this is a luxury what about cutting back on eating out/takeaways/other spending such as clothing. If you need more convincing calculate your hourly rate and compare that with the cost of a cleaner/ironer.

What about aiming for 'good enough', whether regarding friendships or work projects rather than trying to be perfect. For example, showing up at a friend's without the perfect gift or aiming for a good enough report which will probably be edited even if you feel frazzled making it perfect in your eyes before submitting it to your boss?

3. Now you are ready to reschedule your diary and include how you actually want to spend your energy.

What are your one or two non negotiables? You can scedule around these [rather than being a martyr and becoming resentful].

For example, eight hours sleep a night, three hours of exercise a week and a fun night out on a Friday.

Decide how to manage your time. I find that a rolling and updated monthly 'to do' list works well from which I pick weekly and daily tasks with onerous tasks interspersed by easier items. On a Friday I review what I have done and then pencil in the following week, taking account of existing commitments.

To keep on track there are some additional tips my clients have found to be useful:

- do some of what you are avoiding to feel less anxious

- break projects down into manageable chunks, say an hour and then take a break

- rest if you are tired to improve your productivity whilst awake

Research shows that the more time you make for you and the things and people that you care about most, the happier you will be.

If you have found this blog to be useful please leave a comment.

For support with a work and/or personal goal please contact me through www.westofenglandcoachingandcounselling.co.uk

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