How to Use Your Time More Wisely

One of the most frequently talked about problems in modern life is lack of time. People’s lives are so full of career and family responsibilities that there seems to be very little time left for anything else but eating and sleeping, and even those don’t always get the time they deserve. If you’ve found yourself wishing you had more time, you’re far from the only one! The problem is that time is the one constant in life, and we all have precisely the same amount every day. It might feel like time is passing slowly when you’re bored or flying by when you’re doing something you enjoy, but that’s a psychological interpretation. Everyone’s day has 24 hours consisting of 60 minutes apiece, so the question is not how can you make more time, which you clearly can’t, but how can you use your time better so that you free up more of your day?

Organization

Have you ever wondered about those women who roll up to the school gates looking cool, calm and perfectly presented while you scrape in at the last minute looking stressed and disheveled? How do they achieve what seems so impossible for you? It’s not magic; it’s organization. To be well-organized, you need to know what you have to do and be able to estimate the time it will take you accurately. You then need to be able to schedule these tasks into your day, so you can make sure you’ve allowed time for getting ready in the morning, or preparing the night before. If you need help with becoming more organized, there are numerous self-help and advice websites and books available to give you useful tips.

Delegating

There’s a good chance that if you’re consistently short of time, you’re trying to do too much yourself. You may feel that if it’s your responsibility, you shouldn’t ask someone else to carry out a task for you, or you may not be very good at asking for help. Some people don’t trust others to undertake jobs for them, believing that they’ll only get the results they want if they carry out the job themselves. These mindsets are all common reasons why women struggle with delegation, but it’s a skill that will do more than just save you time.

Delegating at work

If you supervise other staff in any capacity for your job, an essential part of the role is managing those staff and developing their skills. If you always do everything yourself, your team members will never get the chance to learn the skills they need to advance themselves. That is a problem for you because you’ll be undertaking activities you should be giving to a colleague and leaving little time for your supervisory duties. It’s also a problem for the staff member, who could feel mistrusted, undermined, and undervalued. Giving employees confidence and equipping them with a broad range of skills is good practice for managers, and will allow you to do your own job far more efficiently.

Delegating at home

If you live on your own, then all the tidying, cleaning, and cooking are generated by you alone. However, if you share with someone else, or have a family at home, they are all contributing to the workload, so it’s only fair they should take responsibility and help you out! Despite the advances in women’s equality, it still tends to be women who undertake the lion’s share of cleaning and caring responsibilities, but just because it’s what happens doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your role. Encourage co-habitees and kids to give you a hand with regular chores, or make them responsible for a specific set of tasks. It will help you out but also be an important lesson for them in looking after themselves and learning not to take people for granted.

Learning to say no

For some women, saying no when they’re asked to do something is hard or even impossible to do. This is especially true of women with low self-esteem, who don’t recognize their own worth or believe they have the right to say no. If you’re a decent, caring person, then, of course, you’ll want to help out where you can, but you shouldn’t feel you have to sacrifice your own well-being for anyone else. If you don’t have the time or the energy to meet someone’s request, learning to say no will spare you a great deal of stress and fatigue. If you’re someone who has trouble saying no, ask yourself why this is, and what you could do about it. Self-help techniques may assist you in improving your self-esteem, or you may want to join a support group or see a therapist. Low self-esteem is a chronic state that can lead to both physical and mental health problems, and will most certainly affect your happiness, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Paying for assistance

Are you trying to be superwoman and prove yourself worthy by having a successful career, raising a family, and running a home? So many women do this to themselves as if they have to be able to have it all to consider themselves fulfilled. Rather than stretching yourself so thinly and continuously playing catch-up or trying to keep all your juggling balls in the air, why not sit down and look at your life, your diary, and what’s most important to you so that you can prioritize your activities? If you’re struggling to find the time to do a course that would give you professional or personal satisfaction, or you wish you could spend more time with your kids, stop being hard on yourself, and look at how you could outsource the less important tasks in your life.

Tasks to outsource

Home care is the first responsibility to look at. If you’re using the time you’d prefer to occupy otherwise, have you considered looking for reputable, reliable house cleaning services to relieve you of your duties? You could let them take care of all your cleaning needs, or just particular tasks that you can’t seem to get around to. Or you could get a spring clean, or a thorough clean once a month, so you only have to keep things ticking over in between times. Unless you have a passion for cleaning and enjoy doing it yourself, this is one of the most cost-effective ways to free up more time, and you can outsource as many or as few tasks as you wish. Gardening is more likely to be an interest for may women than cleaning, but there are still tasks that you could pay someone else to carry out so that you only have the aspects of garden maintenance that you most enjoy to carry on doing yourself.

Time savers

It’s surprising how a few minutes lost or gained throughout the day can mount up by the evening. Streamlining the way you carry out your daily tasks can save precious minutes and reduce the degree to which you have to rush around. Try to get into the habit of taking something upstairs with you when you’re going up anyway, rather than making two trips. Could you save time by shopping online and having your groceries delivered? The shopping itself may take around the same amount of time as if you’d visited the store, but you’ll save the traveling time. Stuck between going for a run that would do you a world of good and hanging out with the kids? Combine the two together, and take your exercise with your kids.

Clear your desk

You might have a desk at work, one at home, or both, and they are significant causes of wasted time. Looking for a document that hasn’t been filed, or going through the same tasks on your to-do list repeatedly without resolving them simply wastes your time. You need to get your paperwork under control, and even if you don’t have paper files, you can sort out your online documents so you can always find what you need straight away. If this kind of activity isn’t your strong point, search online for tips on how to have an organized desk and use your admin time more efficiently.

Clear your mind

If your head is bursting with thoughts, it’s no wonder you’re finding it hard to keep on top of everything! You’ll find that if you adopt a more organized approach to your daily routine that will help, but if you have problems such as procrastination or difficulties concentrating, you’d be advised to turn to the self-help guides again. Procrastinating is terribly time-consuming, and because you feel like you’re doing something, you don’t realize how much time you’ve wasted not doing the most important thing of all! If you can’t concentrate on what you’re doing, you’ll waste time throughout the day dithering and waiting to remember what you’re supposed to be doing, instead of being able to get on with things.

There are so many ways in which a little bit of time could be better used throughout each day, and if you find where you’re losing time, you’ll soon have those hours back for the more essential things in life.

Thanks to Ana

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