By Rachel Wilkerson
What to women want? Not to be taller or thinner or blonder...most women just want more time. It seems like every woman swears an extra hour in the day would make all the difference in her life. But I firmly believe that there is more time in a day than we realize....we just have to find it! Finding it comes from managing our time and our tasks well, but time management is a skill that has to be carefully honed!
Here are schedule planning tips to get you started.
1. Figure out how you want to keep track of your schedule.
This is so important...you won't do well sticking to a schedule if you don't like how it looks. Some people work better with an electronic calendar or an app, while other people need to write everything down. I used to write everything down, but now I use Google calendars -- I love how their color coded calendars make it easy keep track of everything from my workout schedule to work priorities. It doesn’t matter what you use, but just that you find the right tool and stick to it.
2. Determine your non-negotiables.
Before you make a schedule, begin by listing the parts of your schedule that aren't flexible -- usually your job or your college classes. It might be your favorite class at the gym that is at a set time, or it might be a one-time thing like a doctor’s appointment. Once your non-negotiables are set, you can figure out your wake-up time, and, more important, your bedtime -- one amazing benefit of good time management is getting more sleep so make this a non-negotiable as well!
3. Consider your "at best" times.
For everything else you want to do, figure out which times of the day you're at your best to do that activity. Are you best as a morning exerciser or an evening exerciser? Are you best at getting up early to work on a project or do you hit your creative streak later at night? You can't always do things at your "best at" times, but you should try to do your most important things during those times -- otherwise, you're just not going to get as much out of them.
4. Think of everything you need to do and things you want to do.
We all have things that we need to do (work, go to the grocery store, hang out with friends) and that we want to do (watch "Law & Order: SVU" for a few hours.) Decide which of your want-to-dos can be treated as need-to-dos -- you have to give yourself mental breaks and things to look forward to or you're going to go crazy.
5. Stop treating things you "need" to do as important.
Things you "need" to do -- like hanging out with friends you don't really like or going to a class at the gym that you think you "have" to do to be in shape, but dread every week and hate the entire time -- need to be taken off your schedule. Seriously STOP. If you have limited time, do not waste it on people or activities you can't be excited about. If you get excited about "SVU," and not about your weekly brunch with your sort-of friend, ummm....start telling her you're busy. Because you are. The fact that you're busy with Elliot and Olivia is nobody’s beeswax.
Now that you know what tasks you actually have to manage, you’re one step closer to having a great schedule. Read Part 2 and Part 3 of Manage Your Time Better! to learn about how to make your schedule and stick to it!
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