How to Make Time in an Already Packed Schedule
According to Gallup over 60% of working Americans feel like they don’t have enough time to do the things they would like to do each day. In that same article, scientists tell us not to worry because that number is pretty much unchanged in the last 25 years. Apparently the scientists fall in the other 40%. The truth is most of us feel rushed, harried, overworked and underpaid.
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Making time in an already packed schedule is tough. Kids have sports to get to, parents work longer and longer hours and if we find a minute to ourselves, our phone chimes and we are off again. This post is all about finding the time to do the things we love, without the guilt of neglecting the things we have to do.
Prioritize Your Time
On most days there are approximately 6,482 things I would like to get done. However, most of those things are unrealistic or not really necessary. Learn to prioritize what is important to you and your family. If you are intent on completing a project, set a deadline, lock the door and get it done. If sitting down for dinner as a family is a high priority, don’t schedule things that will interfere with that. Which brings me to my next point…
It’s Okay to Say No
I am giving you permission right now to tell your child that he/she can not participate in 3 different sports this semester. I am giving you permission to turn down overtime and other extra work and I am giving your permission to say no to your best friend when she really wants to go see the new Star Wars movie (unless of course this is high on your priority list). Saying no is essential to making time in an already packed schedule. It is your trump card. No = more time.
Make a Time Budget
For some reason, lots of people find it easy to budget money, but not time. If you are short $20 this month you have some options to find some more money. Maybe you borrow the money, sell something or do an extra job or two to make the extra $20. You can’t work a few hours of overtime and gain twenty minutes. You get 24 hours and that’s it.You can't borrow 20 minutes from your Dad #timecrunch Click To Tweet
In my post Scheduling for Those of Us that Hate Schedules, I talked a lot about block scheduling and that is pretty similar to how you would make a time budget. The difference between a time budget and a schedule is that you budget for all 24 hours. This is a “zero minute left behind” budget. Here is a quick overview of how to create a time budget.
- Track where you spend your time. Just like you would track your spending in a financial budget to know where your money is going, track your time so you know where you are spending it. Take a few weeks and track your time before you start budgeting.
- Be honest. If you spent an hour minutes playing on Facebook, put it on your time tracker. No sense in keeping track of how you spend your time if it isn’t a true reflection of how you spend your time.
- Use color blocking. Set a color for “budgeted time” and a color for “used time” so you can see where you are running over.
You can use any calendar app on your phone or tablet or create a spreadsheet to track it. If all else fails, pick up a day timer like this one that shows times in 30-minute increments and has plenty of room for notes.
Create a Routine
Once you have made your budget, you can create a routine. This post by A Blissful Mind gives you a great start to your morning. It is all about getting a healthy start by focusing on taking care of yourself first, so you can take care of everyone else later. Just like the flight attendants tell you.
Make a habit of coming home and throwing a load of laundry in. Start every morning with a Bible verse. Set a shower timer so you don’t spend to much time soaking. Start with one little habit and build from there.
Find Your Time
Time is the great equalizer. Yet some people seem to use it much more effectively than others. Make a time budget, create a routine an learn to say NO. Your time is yours. Don’t give it away freely, it’s the only time you have.