This time last year found me getting ready for a nearly 2-week vacation. Being away from my life wasn’t the easiest (or worst!) task I’ve had to shoulder. I learned a lot about planning, delegating, letting go of control, and figuring out how to relax.
I’ve discovered that for me, relaxing isn’t just about hanging out doing nothing. In order for me to relax, I find that having routines and systems in place are important so that I can accomplish daily goals. Having routines helps me feel like I can also plan my down time (yes, that has to be scheduled, too!), which for me looks like a long bike ride, or a power walk, dinner and movie with a friend, or spending time with a good book.
In celebration of my learning to relax, I’m happy to send some tips and strategies to help plan and manage your time, put a little routine in your life, and relax for a change without feeling guilty.
Have a great month!
- Evaluate your morning. Do you wake up and immediately check your phone or e-mail to begin solving problems? Consider easing yourself into the day with an early morning walk, cup of coffee, or nice breakfast to center yourself before beginning each workday.
- Get rid of the rain clouds that follow you around. Is there a daunting task you’ve been putting off? Maybe you’ve been meaning to organize your junk drawer or unpack from your vacation last month. Though you can certainly survive and function without doing these tasks right away (which is why they are still unfinished), you will feel better after you finally say no to procrastination and get on with at least one, small project.
- Do you know where your time goes when you’re sitting in front of your computer? You could be over- or under-estimating how much time you actually spend online. Consider using a free time tracking tool such as www.rescuetime.com to evaluate how to best use your time.
- Set a cleaning routine and stick to it. It’s easier to spend ten minutes cleaning the kitchen after dinner each day than an hour once a week when the dishes pile up. It is also stressful to be looking at a mess for an extended period of time. Write out a cleaning routine for daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.
- Take time to be present. When you find yourself overwhelmed and reacting to several situations at once, spend five minutes on deep breathing, self-awareness, and collecting yourself mentally. When you are ready, make a list of what you need to do and then act on which is the most urgent. Delegate tasks if you are able.
- Auto-schedule the payments for your bills. This way you will not have to spend time paying them over the phone, online, or via mail. Instead, spend five minutes each month reviewing the charges to ensure they are correct.
- Evaluate items in your home and ask yourself what purpose each item serves. If it serves no purpose, why is it taking up space in your home?
- Create a checklist for activities. This could include: gym bag, information for the pet, home, or babysitter, school bag, extracurricular activities, overnight bag, etc. Save these checklists as word documents and update them as necessary. Keep a print out in the mudroom or kitchen to review before leaving the house.
- Keep all of your passwords in one safe place or use a password service. This will save you time with the “forgot your password” link and also expedite the login process in the future. Here’s a handy link.
- Ask for help. Honestly, I think one reason I get a lot done is that I ask for help on the tasks I don’t like or find difficult to manage. I’ve traded “time” with friends and colleagues. I helped a friend organize her kitchen, and she agreed to edit a few articles I’m writing.
- Bonus: Feel free to contact me for any time-related issues – let’s chat and see what we can figure out together! 818-400-9592