Figuring out how to manage time wisely and plan your day can be a struggle. It is a learned skill. But if you work at it, before long you will never be wondering where your day went.
I think we can all agree that life has its own idea of how the day should go. No matter how much planning we do some days or weeks are just going to go bad. (If you are struggling with life going bad, listen to this podcast episode) . But that does not mean we should forget about trying to manage our time well.
We can still guide the ship and help correct the course when things get off track.
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How To Manage Time Wisley With “Just In Time” Planning
The idea with just in time planning is your only focus on what you need to worry about right now. Sure, you have an idea of what is coming because of your big-picture goals. But you don’t waste your energy thinking about what is 5 tasks ahead right now at this very moment.
Planning your day and life, in general, is the same thing.
You should have dreams and a vision for the future but taking the time to write out a detailed plan for the next 5 or 10-years is just wasted time. (Remember that the things you want today could look very different from the things you want ten years down the road.) There is so much that can change in ten years that you have no idea is possible.
You don’t want to wander aimlessly throughout life. So start thinking about your hopes and dreams for 3-5 years, but then get detailed and plan how you are going to get closer to those goals over the next year.
How To Plan Your Day By Dreaming Big But Planning Small
This kind of ties into the last topic but I want to make sure you understand because this is where people look at their big goals and give up because they seem too big and unreachable.
Using myself as an example let me explain.
I have the dream of moving my family to our dream property where we have a working livestock farm and do live events on the property. I also want us to be debt-free and my husband can work where ever he wants whether that is to start his own business or keep doing a job he loves.
I see the rabbitry being much larger than it is today and the blog being a huge resource for women who want to be stay-at-home wives and mothers while still making an income and finding their purpose in life. A place where they can come to be reminded of their value.
That is what my dreams look like today. But that could change. In ten years I may not want those things. Who knows?
I don’t have a huge step by step plan for how I will get there because the steps could look very different down the road. I am taking the steps I can take today and I will take the next turn when that road is built.
Now that is probably and 15-year or more dream but do you understand what I am trying to get at?
You have these big dreams and a picture in your mind for what it could look like. But life could change and you may not want those things anymore. It is the dream that drives us as humans to keep striving for better.
Take some time to dream, to really think about what you want in your life. When you dream big it helps you to know where to spend your time focusing on the goals that move you forward.
How To Manage Time Wisely By Doing What Is Important, Not Urgent.
Knowing how to manage your time wisely can almost seem like a myth because there is so much that seems important. But if you step back and look, that urgent thing might not be as important as it seems. As women, we often want to make everyone happy and put an enormous amount of pressure on our self to do all the things.
Urgent tasks are often something that seems important but could be a distraction in disguise.
What is important to other people should not always be at the top of your to-do list. You have to be the one to do a gut check and ask yourself is this as important as it seems.
Here is an example of not using your time wisely but it might seem like it is a good thing.
Making a fancy dinner with lots of steps and prep-work.
When you are working to build a better life or business. Sometimes you have to put up with the “less pretty” for the greater good.
Your family will still be fed if you keep meals simple, order pizza, or take out. If eating out is not an option because of expense, allergies, or lack of availability then have a frozen pizza or hamburger patties ready to pull out of the freezer as quick fall back.
It’s ok if dinner is not Pinterest worthy, trust me. Your family does not care as much as you think they do.
Ask yourself these three questions to evaluate the task you are thinking of doing.
- Am I getting any enjoyment out of this?
- Will my two-week self regret this decision?
- Will this slow me down in my own responsibilities or goals?
Know How Your Mind Works To Manage Time Wisely
This is so important!!! You will not stick with something if it does not work with your natural flow.
I don’t do well early morning. Not that I am grouchy or anything but I am still a little foggy. So I use that time to do things like unloading the dishwasher, sweep the floors, start laundry, etc.
I could try to write blog posts and other things like that but I would be much slower at it. I could get a lot more done if I wait a little bit and write when I can get my fingers working just as fast as my mind.
Planning or task management systems are something that I see people fight with all the time. I do better with planning on paper and tried using digital tools before but I never stuck with it. But give me a paper planner and a note pad and I will knock a chore out like nobody’s business.
Living and working in a digital world makes using paper pretty difficult. So it took some time to find a good balance of using paper and a digital tool like trello. This course called trellowing for traffic really helped me with that.
Know what really seems to work for you even if it doesn’t make total sense. Are you a list maker? How about using digital over paper or the other way around?
You might have to experiment to figure out when how and what works best for you. And that’s ok.
You have to try different systems and find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to take one piece from one system and another piece from another and blend them together to make your own system.
How to manage time wisely by using the little moments.
There are so many little moments that people waste every day. This one is a little weird but is true. Use your time in the bathroom intentionally, comment on three posts warming up your food for lunch, do something productive in the car line. Search for coupons, pin a few things for your blog. Share a post on social.
If you have 30 seconds you can put 4 things in the dishwasher. US THAT TIME.
Start With The Must Do’s To Plan Your Day
The must do’s are the tasks that move your big goals for life or side-hustle forward and will give you a return on your investment.
These are examples of detailed tasks and are measurable as well as supporting an end goal.
- Make a list of your debts smallest to largest so you have a plan for paying them off.
- Choose a color for the room you want to paint.
- Brainstorm pain points (struggles they will solve)the next opt-in will solve.
- Outline your next opt-in.
- Get 1000 words of your next blog post.
Keep in mind that these are the must do’s for the day.
After you get done with your morning routine. These tasks get your attention FRIST.
Then Move To The Should Do’s When Planning Your Day
These things are tasks that are important but are more of a maintaining task.
Should do’s are the things that keep your life or business going but do not necessarily help you grow things like your email list or move forward on your latest project.
Timing plays a role in the importance of a task.
Another thing that will make something turn into a should do instead of a must-do is timing. It might be very important but you can let it wait for a day or so in order to get something more important done now.
Does that make sense?
Then The “Would Like To’s” If There Is Time
You only do these tasks if there is time left in the day. Do not skip the important tasks for things that are not going to give you great results.
These are things like
- Read 2 chapters in the book you are reading.
- Make that home decor DIY project.
- Brainstorm the three ideas you have for income. Before you have finished the project you are currently on or you don’t have enough traffic yet to find out what your people really need from you.
Plan Your Day And Work The List
Whether you want to set specific times for each task of the day and use something like time blocking to manage your time wisely. Or just move down the list it is up to you. The important thing is you stick with the order of the list and get the tasks done in the order of importance.
The beauty of taking the time to create the list each day is that if a kid gets sick or something happens where you have to stop in the middle of the day you can jump right back in and know what needs to happen.
It might seem like overkill to do this every single day for things that happen on a
Plan Your Day But Be Ok When It Changes
For people with type A personalities and who love to follow a schedule. (I am at the front of the line here) It can be hard to shift gears.
I still like a schedule but I am working on getting better at going with the flow and not let it rock my day when I can’t stick with it.
Plans will change and that’s ok. When you are feeling stressed and like life is spinning out of control sometimes you have to stop and refocus.
Remember that you are not locked into doing anything. Plans can change with a single phone call or when you hear your child screaming in the other room. Sometimes we will change by choice and other times life demands us to change.
And that is ok…
Stop Doing What Is Not Giving You A Return On Your Time
Stop doing the things that are not moving you closer to your end goals. Things like mindlessly scrolling social media or playing a game on your phone. Remove the apps if you need to take away the temptation.
We go to the library to get our TV shows on DVD and if I know I want to be productive and get farther along on projects or my business I don’t check any out for myself. We just get shows my husband and I can watch together at night before bed and that’s it.
Life has seasons. Sometimes you have to give up the things that give immediate enjoyment for the things that will give long term life pleasure and stability.