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Managing Your Time Throughout the Day

Managing Your Time Throughout the Day

Time Management to Start Each Day


Waking up to a screaming alarm clock is not the same as time management.  In fact, if you are a person who sleeps until the last possible moment, throws on clothes and races out the door, you have no time to manage in the mornings. No wonder you feel that your life is out of control and you aren't getting done everything that needs to be done. Get a better start to get a better result for your day.


Get up twenty minutes earlier. Set your clock ahead. Then set a second clock for five minutes later and place that clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. That's sneaky but effective!


By waking up earlier, you have time to wake up gradually, take a shower and enjoy a cup of coffee or juice. This is a kinder way to get your body and your brain oriented to the day.


You also have time to check your calendar and have a big picture of what's happening in the day. You are also more likely to remember to bring the flash drive that you were working on last night and extra clothes to change into for tennis after work. If you don't remember these things, you'll waste more time going back to get them.


Here's the ideal place to add a fifteen-minute mini-workout. Start with stretches then add a few simple exercises. You can also get a video with short workouts to follow. Or you can go outside on the patio or balcony to jump rope.


Fifteen minutes isn't enough for a serious walk or run but you could take a few laps around the block. You don't have to wait until you can do a long workout. Even this short workout is great for your body and stimulates your metabolism to run more efficiently for the remainder of the day.


An even better way to turn morning from dread to enjoyable is to get up earlier, even as much as an hour earlier to set the tone for your day. Spend quiet time reading spiritually uplifting material or meditate.


You might also read a favorite blog, check the online news highlights or add a daily note to your own blog. Just don't get lost in reading emails or checking work related material because those may throw off your time.


Have coffee, tea or juice while you are getting dressed.  Then sit down for quick breakfast. Don't grab toast and eat it as you are packing the car. You can find several fast options that offer better nutrition and take the time to eat, not inhale it.


As you are sitting down with your bagel, oatmeal, cereal or egg and cheese sandwich, look over your calendar to preview what you need to get done today. Before you insist that you don't have time to sit down and eat breakfast, realize that you only need fifteen minutes to do this.


Even a quick breakfast is better than shoving food in your mouth while driving.  The fifteen minutes that you give your body nourishment to start the day will help you to avoid the mid-morning blood sugar drop.


That low energy time hits just as some businesses are opening and customer traffic is increasing so you will get much more accomplished at work for the investment of 15 minutes to eat a nourishing breakfast.


After just as few days, you'll see why starting the morning earlier is the best time management option to maximize your productivity for the entire day. So set that clock back and you'll move forward.



How to Use Waiting Time Productively


Do you get impatient when you have to wait in line at the bank or sit for an extra hour at the doctor's office? Instead of getting frustrated with wait time, put that time to good use. As you look over your daily to-do list, identify places that you are likely to have to wait.


Then you can go prepared with an easy to carry project or reading.  You can even keep something in your car or briefcase that you would enjoy doing while waiting. Perhaps it's catching up on popular magazines or business journals.


You might take that time to plan your next decorating project and identify the items that you need to purchase. Here are a dozen ways to use wait time productively and make the time pass faster:


1.         Read a motivational book that will change your mindset in ways that will empower you to reach new goals.


2.         Scan the directions to a building project or clothing pattern and get the process firmly in mind before you start to cut.


3.         Bring a pile of coupon pages collected from several weeks of newspapers. As you clip the coupons, add in the proper tab of a coupon file.


4.         Plan what you need for a birthday party, barbeque or other social event that you are hosting or coordinating.


5.         Carry a small tote with knitting, crochet or mending to work on while you wait.


6.         Sketch at random in a small sketchbook that fits in your pocket or purse.


7.         Study for an upcoming test or review material so you help your child study.


8.         Download a podcast onto your Mp3 player. Instead of just music, choose a podcast topic that you want to learn about and listen to it with ear-buds.


9.         Use your day planner to make a to-do list for next week.


10.       Play games on your cell phone, just turn off the noise so that others are not bothered.


11.       Work crossword puzzles or Sudoku.


12.       Daydream - there's nothing wrong with zoning out while you wait.


Why depend on finding new magazines or someone interesting to talk with when you are stuck waiting? Bring your own "on hold" activities so that wait time become productive and seems to go by faster.



Taking Back Time After Work


Does the excitement of arriving at home in the evening get ruined when you open the door to see a pile of unfolded laundry and a week's worth of newspapers scattered around?


It's not that you are a slob; at least you don't want to be. The problem is, you have so little spare time. At the end of the day all you want to do is grab dinner and collapse on the sofa exerting only enough energy to work the remote.


Instead of berating yourself about not having enough time to clean your home, decide which jobs that you are willing to spend time on and which you can delegate. Yes, you can delegate housework.


When you delegate, you free time for what is more important to you. Start with the laundry. Find a full-service laundry that's on the way to work and drop it off weekly. The next day, you pick up clean, folded and pressed clothes.  If the laundry doesn't do dry cleaning, then find a drive-thru drive cleaner that opens early so you can drop the clothes on the way to work.


Stop ordering pizza or Chinese food when you are too tired to cook. You'll save money and time after work by purchasing frozen dinners that were made just for you with your favorite recipes by a personal chef.


Some personal chefs cook in your kitchen twice monthly while others deliver the foods. What you spend on custom prepared meals frees your time in the evening and offsets all the foods that go to waste in your refrigerator because you don't have time to cook.


If you do enjoy cooking but only when you have enough time, then use the same concept as the personal chefs do and plan an all-day cooking binge once or twice monthly then freeze the meals.


Hire a maid service to come in once or twice monthly to do the heavy cleaning, floors, carpets, scrubbing and so forth. Then you can keep the place clean with twenty minutes of speed cleaning on alternate days.


Don't fool yourself by promising to clean all day Saturday. When the weekend comes, you'll find more interesting ways to spend your time than cleaning. Rather than set yourself up to break a promise to yourself, find a combination of maid service and your own chores that works within the time you are willing to consistently devote to cleaning.


Gardening and outdoor spaces are wonderful but only if you have the time to keep ahead of the weeds. If gardening is relaxing to you, then you'll gladly spend the time to do this. But if you simply like the look of a beautiful outdoor space yet lack the passion for gardening, then get help with the yard. You can save money by hiring a student or retiree to weed and prune a small garden. If you have a full yard, hire a lawn service.


Running errands for routine matters can take hours when you are disorganized and too tired to focus on the task. Keep a list in the kitchen where you add items by location. Have a section on the list for groceries, beverages, cosmetics, personal care items and clothing.


Choose stores where a large number of items can be obtained. That saves time and gas. Bring your list and make one shopping trip each day until it's done. Or spend Saturday as your shopping and fun day, because you'll have more time after being freed from other routine tasks.



Time Management for Dinner


Back in the day all you could hear all the neighborhood moms calling the children home for dinner. Today, families are so busy; going in so many directions that it's almost unusual for everyone to sit down for dinner together in the evening.


When the family does arrive at home, there's often little time to get food on the table so Mom reaches in the freezer or phones for pizza delivery. You can find time for a healthy dinner in the evening by applying time management to dinner management.


Start by giving every family member a job to do in preparation for dinner. Whether Mom or Dad actually cooks dinner, the other parent can spend time with the smallest child. Older children can set the table, pour drinks then clean up the plates and load the dishwasher after dinner. Teens can take a turn preparing dinner, even choosing what they would like to cook.  If everyone pitches in, a healthy dinner can be on the table in an hour or less.


Choose quick-to-cook foods such as those shown in cookbooks for easy dinners or microwave prepared dinners. A stovetop grill is also useful for quick grilling. The idea of dinner at home is a little bit about food and a lot about spending time together.


The time you invest in talking with the children at dinnertime helps to cement the family bond. Dinner is not the time to multi-task; that means turn off all the cell phones, televisions and other distractions. Invest your time in talking with your family, not just eating in the same room.


If you plan ahead, you can cook double portions of dinner and freeze several items for a busier evening or to take to work for lunch. You might also cook a large roast or chicken that serves as the basis for several dinners in the same week.


Before putting away all the foods during cleanup, fix lunches for the next day. Package all the lunch items together in a simple recyclable paper sack or group all lunch items together so each person can quickly grab these items and pack them into a lunch box in the morning. 


One of the reasons that office workers eat so much junk food or fast food is that they don't take time to prepare a healthy lunch.  Don't wait until you are rushing around in the morning to make lunch, that's when you'll ignore it because you don't have enough time.


A secondary advantage to finding time to prepare your own dinners is that you can save money on both lunches and dinners. You need to plan a shopping time weekly to get all the essential ingredients. If you don't plan ahead and dash into a corner market every night, you'll spend more money than by shopping once a week at a larger grocery store.


The time you spend preparing and eating dinner with your family or significant other, is time that you are talking and actually listening to each other.  As you are enjoying dessert or after dinner coffee, it's the ideal time to synchronize everyone's schedules for the next day.   


Who needs a ride? Who will be home for dinner tomorrow? Who needs help with homework tonight? What do we need to get done as a family to free time for a weekend trip? This takes possibly ten or fifteen minutes that saves so much time later by coordinating as a group.



Managing Your Vacation Travel Time


Perhaps you think that the last thing you want to consider on vacation is time management. After all, you can sleep later and choose your activities. While that's true, there are still ways that positive time management can help you to pack the most enjoyment into your vacation travel.


Air travel gets you to your destination faster and fresher, but only if you consider travel times. Avoid flying during the morning business travel times. Airplanes are crowded and you'll spend an hour just getting thru security check at many major airports.


Better to take a mid-morning or afternoon flight and sleep an extra hour or go out for brunch on the way to the airport. If you are traveling to a major city, check online for the status of your flight. You can activate a flight time alert sent to your cell phone or computer so you know instantly if your flight is delayed.


If you prefer to drive and explore small towns on the way, your trip will include long periods in the car. Traveling with children means that you need to prepare plenty of in-car activities so that you can avoid the whiners, "Are we there yet?"  Allow extra time for several rest stop breaks so the children and run and play. Spending twenty minutes at each rest stop is worth more than making that extra hundred miles.


Whether you drive to your vacation destination or fly and then rent a car to get around town, bring city maps of your destination. Getting lost wastes time. Using your computer, you can map routes to your hotel and nearby tourist attractions. The computer maps also give an estimated time between locations.


When you arrive at your hotel, ask the desk clerk to tell you the prime traffic times in that area. Explain where you plan to drive to and ask for suggestions on the best time to leave. Locals know the traffic flow and can suggest that you wait fifteen minutes to avoid the worst traffic jams in a certain area.


You also want to ask where to find the best gas prices. If you rented a car, make sure to note the location of a gas station nearest the airport so you can fill up on the way back.  Typically gas prices go up on Friday for the weekend.


In a tourist town, gas prices may be higher than what you would pay a few miles away from the main hotel row. Don't waste time driving around town to save a few cents, just plan ahead and get gas on the way back to the hotel in the evening.


Rather than eat at the hyped tourist-oriented restaurants, ask where locals eat. You'll find the most interesting, out of the way places that reflect the local character. Plus, you usually find fantastic food at popular prices.  You can also ask about restaurants that offer lower priced menu at the early bird dining hours, 4:30-6pm.  So go to dinner early, save money and then plan an activity for the evening.


As you decide which theme parks or attractions to visit, you would be smart not to go to more than one per day. Exhausting your family or getting group sunburn will ruin the rest of the trip. Enjoy what you do, and build in time to relax. After all, it's your vacation.

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