I’m one of those people that is really good at managing their time. I chalk it up to the fact that during my childhood, my mom was never late to anything. Ever. If anything, we were always early to events. I was that kid that got to school earlier than my teacher and would be waiting by the front door since it wasn’t unlocked yet. And instead of rebelling against time as I got older, my anxiety grew and I became overly aware of time. For instance, as a server, waiting tables in my twenties, I honed my sense of time which resulted in happy customers. And now, as an organizer, I drive to my clients homes all over Los Angeles. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve arrived late to a clients home (and I’ve been doing this since 2006).
Here are some ways that I am a time master:
- If I need to be somewhere by a certain time, I’m rarely late.
- If I have 30 minutes to get out the door, I can do it with relative ease.
- If there are a billion things to do on my to-do list and they have to get done today, i’m pretty good at checking them all off.
- I’m have an uncanny sense of how long it takes to do something (i.e. emptying the dishwasher, drying my hair). You’ll see why this pays off in a minute
So you’re probably scratching your head right now and wondering how you can manage your time better. You might look up some days and wonder, where did the time go? Or are your friends always getting frustrated with you because you are never on time. Well my friend, here are my favorite ways to make time work for you (because it kind of sucks to have it work against you).
Work backwards Say I have to be at my clients house at 11:00 am. But before that, I want to go to exercise boot camp, run to the grocery store, get ready, make breakfast and stop by their storage unit before arriving. Oh, and they live across town. So here’s what my brain does in order to figure out if I have enough time to make it all work:
- 9:30 leave house and stop by storage unit on the way to client’s house in order to arrive by 11:00.
- 9:00 shower and get ready
- 8:30 make breakfast, snacks and lunch for the day
- 8:00 grocery store
- 6:30 go to exercise boot camp
- 6:00 wake up and train dog
Plan ahead You can see in the above scenario that I have to make meals and lunch for the day and go to the grocery store. I should have planned ahead and gone grocery shopping the day or so before so I would have more time in the morning. I also could have prepped my meals the day before to save even more time. The last thing you want to do is not make this mental mind map the morning of (or worse yet, not make it at all). I would analogize not doing this to not balancing your checkbook or budgeting for the month. If you aren’t in the habit of planning ahead, you will most likely be frazzled, late and frustrated. #notfun
Time yourself If you don’t know how long it takes you to shower, put on make-up or empty the dishwasher, time yourself doing these activities. It’s kinda like knowing how many calories are in your food. When you know that eating a cupcake can undo an hour of working out, you might say no to the cupcake. Same goes for time. If you know that it takes you an hour to get ready and you’re always late, you might plan to get up earlier or figure out a way to get ready quicker. I’m a huge fan of a five minute make-up routine in the morning (will have to post a video of that to share with you soon)!
Track your time In addition, I’m a proponent of knowing where your time goes. You might not realize that you spend a huge chunk of your day responding to emails and on social media. Use an app like RescueTime to find out where your hours during the day go. Once you know where your time is spent you’ll be able to get rid of those distractions. For example, if you spend most of your day in your email inbox, start looking into tips on how to nip that in the bud.
About this blog: Time. We don’t want it to be your ultimate enemy. That’s why each Monday we write about ways to save it. It’s no fountain of youth, but we think we’re getting close.
Image via JackThreads