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Help!! I’m Being Pulled in a Million Different Directions

How to Manage Your Time Effectively

Help!! I’m Being Pulled in a Million Different Directions

How many things do you have going on at one time?  If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably: more things than I can think of ….working, shuttling the kids from one activity to another, making dinner, helping with homework, getting the kids to bed….and then before you know it, the craziness starts all over again …..  It’s exhausting to write it all down and even more exhausting to live it every day.

There is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, if you plan correctly.  It’s all about Time Management.  I have clients who cringe every time we talk about it; who shudder in fear every time the “T” word comes into conversation.  It doesn’t have to be a scary thing, and I promise with a little strategic planning, you won’t feel as if you're being pulled in a million different directions.  Ready…set…go…

Keep a Log: For a few days or (if you’re adventurous) a week, keep track of everything you do during the course of a day.  Create a grid and break it out hour-by-hour.  Be really honest.  If you check emails 47 times a day, make sure you log it.  If you spend an hour playing on-line Scrabble, write it down. 

Make a To-Do List: I know some people work really well with to-do lists and other people absolutely detest them, but for this exercise, humor me and create one.  Think of all of the things you need to accomplish (go to the market, drop off dry cleaning, write proposal, return calls, pick up kids).  Once your tasks are on paper, you’ll be able to really see what you have to do, and it gets all of the “stuff” out of your head.

Set a Time-Management Related Goal:  Realize you are not changing yourself, but rather a specific behavior.  If you say you are not going to play around on Facebook, then stick with it.  You can certainly spend some time updating your social media status, but plan for it and stick to it.

Start Your Day Prioritizing:   Think about the most important things you need to do TODAY.  Each day is a new one; and with a new day comes different priorities.  Tackle the most important first and try not to let tasks roll over to the next day. 

Schedule Your Time:  Use your calendar to schedule your day, and this includes going to the gym or taking the dog for a walk.  Once an appointment is on a Blackberry or iPhone and the little reminder pops up, people are less likely to miss them.  You wouldn’t not show up for a doctor’s appointment, so don’t “not show-up” for a meeting with yourself!

Don’t Waste Time Waiting: When you’re in line to pick up the kids, or waiting at the doctor’s office, use the time wisely.  Review a report, answer emails, return phone calls.  Or read the magazine you’ve been meaning to get to but just haven’t had a chance to pick up.  However you chose to spend the time, know it’s time well spent.

Grab a Book: There are some really great books on Time Management and the is a wonderful resource.  Put “Library” on your calendar and check out “The 25 Best Time Management Tools & Techniques: How to Get More Done Without Driving Yourself Crazy” or “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Cut Yourself Some Slack: Remember “Time Management” are only two little words.  There are only 24 hours in a day, and as much as we’d like more time, it’s not going to happen.  It’s all about rethinking and retraining ourselves to do things differently. 

Give it a try, and let me know how it’s working out for you.  I’m confident if you become aware of what you’re really doing in the course of a day, and get rid of the “filler”, you’ll suddenly find extra minutes or even hours.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?  Now, I’m off to do the next thing on my list…..

Greg DeSimone May 05, 2011 at 09:28 PM
Nice article Linda. I'd like to add, there are only 24 hours in a day and it doesn't matter if you're extremely successful or not. It's still just 24 hours. The difference between being successful or not is how you choose to use your 24 hours. Anything is possible, but everything is not. Choose wisely. And follow the tips Linda listed above.
Lori Dobrin May 06, 2011 at 04:25 AM
Linda, your very down-to -earth style of writing is inspirational and encouraging to your reader! Excellent article with valuable advice and suggestions!!!
Donna Anderson May 06, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Great Linda!!!! ANd Greg too!!!
Pamela Dodd May 06, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Helpful article, Linda. I love the title; so true! And thanks for mentioning our time management book.

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