Monday, October 3, 2011

Time Management

Today my kids went back to school after a 4 week break - and I started the day excited at the prospect of being able to get some of my things done without interruptions.

I have a 'to do' list a mile long - and the nagging thoughts there in the back of my mind that I have 2 weeks to get myself organised before my parents arrive for their annual visit from the UK. They'll be here for several weeks - which will be great and I'll spend lots of time with them - relaxing, chatting and catching up! Then when they leave - my girls start their 2 month long summer holiday!

AARRGGHH! So HOW am I going to get everything done and organised in just 2 weeks! Especially when I decide to bring my computer outside to work and get distracted by this..
and this....

Simple - I'm not going to get it all done - then sit back and relax and do nothing.  I just have to get stuck in and manage my time better so I can keep on working - putting the time and effort into my creations and growing my blog - but still enjoy family time.

I came across and interesting article about 'to-do lists'  at The Traffic Generation Cafe today.  She talks about not having a to-do list for the day - but a list for each area or project you're working on - then take time to tackle each area - gradually ticking things off the lists as you go. I do this sometimes and it got me thinking about what works for me.

I'm a big list writer - and Monday's list is always HUGE - with far too many things on to squeeze into my day. The remaining tasks at the end of the day gradually get done through the rest of the week!

Here's the 7 points that I have found work for me so far in terms of getting things done - and better time management. I'm a stay-at-home-mum, so only have myself to stay accountable to while the kids are at school. I have to organise and motivate myself to achieve things.

  1. LISTS:  Write a list of everything that needs done - then go through and prioritise them according to time - this is easy with blog posts which I have a set schedule for - but not always so straightforward. Look for things that will make a tangible or physical difference if you do them first.  Always check too for definite time deadlines for things - and make a note of those to make sure you do those things in time! Check off completed activities as you go. It's a great motivator to see progress, and your list getting reduced.
  2. ATMOSPHERE: Create an atmosphere in which makes you positive and happy.  I'm lucky working from home - so I can put on my favourite music in the background - different styles for different activities (Enrique Iglesias really does seem to help me with the housework!).  Or sometimes I put on an Anthony Robbins CD when I can concentrate on the words - he always gets me fired up and motivated.  Find what works for you!
  3. TIME LIMITS: Create a time limit.  My kids thought it was very funny when I told them I sometimes put on the kitchen timer for 30min intervals.  Every 30mins the beeper goes off, and I change activity. (I think this comes from teaching kids for too long - try to make it fun, exciting and active and the kids will enjoy their work!!) It does put a structure in my day for me though! I guess it's like having my own 'school bell' between lessons!
  4. EXERCISE:   Getting the blood flowing around your body and to your brain, stimulates and motivates you.  Short bursts throughout the day can really keep you going, it doesn't have to be a big workout!  Sometimes  I bounce on my mini-trampoline for a few minutes when one of my favourite songs comes on the radio - or even just dance and sing around the house!  I also like to get up and exercise early in the morning to start the day focussed! - even if it's just 10 mins on the exercise bike.
  5. BREAK TIME: Allow yourself rests - you may consider a bit of exercise a break - or a cup of tea with a biccie!  Again - set a time limit on this - but enjoy every moment of it - it will refresh you !
  6. WHY AM I DOING THIS?  Whenever I get frustrated, or feel like I'm not getting things done - I find it helps to take a moment to remember why I'm doing this.  For me - I can look at our beautiful backyard with pool and palm trees - and remind myself how lucky I am to be able to enjoy this every day!  I know if I can make my work from home successful - I can continue to have this fabulous lifestyle - and ultimately my husband can quit his job too and enjoy it with me!
  7. BE FLEXIBLE:  There will always be distractions and unexpected things happen to get you off track. I know I can always find excuses - and time restrictions to complain about, but the trick is to be able to go with the flow.  I think having kids has helped me get better at this through necessity - they are experts at providing distraction and interruptions!

How about you?  What have you finds helps keep you motivated and to manage your time well?  I think the dream of working for yourself doing what you love - requires a lot of discipline,  self motivation and also great time management.  These are skills I'm constantly working on - and always looking for new ideas and tips to help!
 Do leave a comment with any ideas and links that may help me or others with our time managment skills!

Oh - there goes my timer beeping at me - I'd best go and start something new!


  1. I use a timer too, but I only set it for 15 minutes. I often do something I don't want to for 15 minutes, then when the timer goes off, do something I want to do for another 15, then go back to the unwanted task for 15 minutes.

    It really works for me, and I am constantly surprised at just how much I can achieve in 15 minutes.

  2. I am learning to "chunk" time. It may be only 10 minutes or a half hour, and sometimes I can fudge and finish a task at the end of my "chunk." what matters is focusing on one task at a time.

    Have you seen the 31 dayers list on The Nester? Many of them are tackling the time management question.

  3. Oh Melissa! I'm glad I'm not the only one with my kitchen timer going to schedule my day! I'll have to tell my kids!! :)

    And thanks for the link Dogsmom- I'll be sure to check out the nester!


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