By Hanan Awaad
While having brunch together, a friend of mine said to me; you run a company, volunteer, write, read, cook, and do many other things, yet you have time to go to the movies with your family, how do you find the time?
Working full-time, managing a house, cooking, raise healthy kids (physically and emotionally), having a hobby, interacting with the husband, and the list goes on and on, is not an easy thing. To juggle all those tasks and roles, you need to organize your life and be creative finding the time you need to work on all the tasks. I’ve organized the tricks I use into four main themes: Time Management, Administration Management, Decision Making, Support Systems and finally Going Digital.
To manage your time effectively, there are many tricks and tools that you can use. I believe that delegation is key. If you are like me, a control freak who wants to do everything by myself, this is the number one skill that you need to work on. Decide what those tasks or assignments that no one except you know how to do it to your highest standards are, and delegate the rest.
Also, consider bundling activities. For example, list everything you need to buy for the house and consider visiting a one-stop shop on your way back to home. Or get your hair and nails done in one visit to the beauty salon, or answer your emails while waiting at the doctor’s office.
30 minutes intervals saved my life. I divide my time ½ hour by ½ hour and allocate time to each task on my To-Do list. Some activities take more than ½ hour, some take less, but at the end, I know my time budget that I am allowed to spend. When I send a meeting request, even if it is meeting a friend for coffee or shopping spree, I state my allocated time clearly.
Believe it or not, I am a lazy person! I am always thinking of ways to reduce the time and effort I need to spend on any given task or activity; this makes me brilliant in finding shortcuts. In many cases, I avoid doing non-value adding activities like meeting in person, when I can discuss a project on the phone or write it in an email.
Whether you are managing a company, an office, or a household, you need to think of ways to streamline all the activities. Using lists and reminders is an excellent way to administer your life on daily basis. Also, consider using one big calendar for the family and personal activities to save yourself the stress of having multiple agendas to go back and forth between them.
When cleaning and tidying up your house, I like to think like home staging professionals. I ask myself, what are the things I can do now that will make all the difference in how neat my house looks. I dedicate drawers to like items; I have files or even old laptops bags to store papers or receipt that I will need later for tax.
Life is about choices, and the wiser the choice, the happier the life. For example, when as a family we decided to stop watching TV, we ended up with at least 2 to 3 hours a day of extra time that we managed as a family to use for other things. Yes, we still watch our favourite shows while having dinner, but we saved those mindless watching hours that can add up to 20 to 30 hours a week.
Choices like eating healthy to have more energy, or getting up early to exercise or have some quiet me-time, or schedule one hour per day to tidy up the house, are examples of how your choices can help you find time and peace of mind.
I also noticed that whenever I simplify my life, I am not drained by decision making. For example, I do not spend much time comparing brands especially in those product categories where all brand are so close in price and quality.
How about deciding what to cook or what to wear, when you work on pre-planning your meals and preparing your outfit the night before, you will waste no time in a hectic morning thinking about trivial things.
Your network of supportive relationships is critical to your success in work and life. You might have many people in your life that provide help, guidance and support. When I talk about your support systems, I include all those individuals at work, family members, service providers, professionals, and mentors, etc.
It is your mission to establish this system, maintain it and make sure that everyone in your life helps you to live a happier life. However, relationships are two-way channels; you need to reciprocate any favour. Invest your time and energy to nurture those relationships and become more helpful and resourceful.
Going digital is not the forte for everyone. However, it is a great time saver. You can pay your bills online, shop online for almost everything even postal and shipping labels.
I always praise going paperless. I am trying hard keep only electronic copies, and for paper copies, I only keep what I have to. Google has given us many tools to use the cloud as our large filing cabinet. For the magazine, journals and other printed publications, try only to keep what is important. If you have a scanner, you can scan those articles you want to read later and use your IPAD or Tablet to read them.
Finding time means stopping the leakage in your life; detecting and analyzing your daily activities; and formalizing ways to increase your efficiency and productivity. Finding time needs employing creative ways to make every minute of your life counts. Be patient and never quit.
Originally posted 2017-05-14 22:13:23.