Need Personal Time Management?

This is my story of why I decided I need to acquire some personal time management skills. My life used to look like this - yes I'm the clown and that's a tightrope I'm walking while juggling....

time management is like juggling

Can you relate?

Just like the clown in the picture above, I too was juggling lots of balls. These included

  • Raising our three kids
  • Working four days in a career that I loved but that consumed me
  • Hubby working in another country (commuting home on the weekends)
  • Sick family members who needed our help
  • Activities for the kids that needed our assistance - whew!

I wrote endless lists, carried a diary with me and still I was this person, juggling all of these balls and walking that infernal tightrope (but a little less smiley). I was so precariously balanced that all it took was an event like a sick child to alter my balance and everything collapsed. On top of everything, the house was always a mess, we could never find anything when we needed it, we always forgot appointments and if we remembered them we were always rushing.

Life was one big rush, we were on that proverbial treadmill.

The weekends would finally roll around and there would be some relief but not much - whether it was summer or winter, the weekend mornings would invariably mean looking for the sporting equipment that the kids needed and then finally get out the door but with a lot of stressing and sometimes even arguing between my husband and myself.

We would have lots of people pile over for coffee and lunch which was great but on a Sunday night the kids would say to us that they wished we'd spent more time with them during the weekend.

This was the cruncher and the reason for needing to learn personal time management skills. If I wanted to stop walking that tightrope while juggling five balls then I needed to learn these skills now!

I started off with baby steps. I revisited those skills I'd learnt in various time management courses. I looked at those techniques that I used at work where I was very productive and implemented them piece by piece into my personal life.

If you're wondering which time management gems I started with, I've listed them below. Feel free to use them too if you think they will work for your personal time management.

My Starter Personal Time Management Gems

Well, here are ten little gems that I found useful - click on the links (when I get them up!) for further explanations.
  1. Make sure the right items are on my "to do" list
  2. Have my home organized so I'm not wasting time looking for stuff
  3. Make the kids school lunches and mine for work the night before
  4. Plan our family's weekly menu and stick to it
  5. Do our grocery shopping weekly, preferably on the same day each week
  6. Get on top of the paper clutter by tackling it as soon as it comes in
  7. Enlist the kids to help tidy up
  8. Return those phone calls left on my home answer phone all at once, preferably after dinner
  9. Scheduled my personal appointments and those of the kids into my work outlook calendar (I used private settings because my team could view my outlook calendar)
  10. Set aside some "thinking time" just for me - a half hour a day was all I needed
  11. Decided what's important (e.g. making school interviews) and less important (vacuuming the lounge) and wasn't afraid to let the less important stuff slip

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The Results?

Well, these were just some of the initial techniques I implemented. Those who read closely might see that there are eleven in that list - forgive me but I couldn't cut the last one out of my top ten.

But yes they definitely worked for us. There are a few more that I tried but I feel like I need to explain some of these in more detail than just listing them so I'll put them into my next articles coming soon - watch out on the home page to keep updated.

As always, we are still learning and implementing new tricks and techniques. Sometimes life for us is still chaotic but as a family we are much happier now and more or less stress free.

I'll tell you one thing - the kids never say they'd wished we'd spent more time with them in the weekend!

If you want to read the background to why I incorporate life management techniques such as organizing my home into my personal time management gems then I recommend that you Jump from "Personal Time Management" to "Learning Time Management Skills"

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