Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time Management

Remember those lectures you used to get from your parents and teachers about how important it is to learn how to manage your time wisely? I remember sighing heavily, rolling my eyes, and thinking in my I-know-everything-already teenage way, “I KNOW this stuff, obviously, because I turn in my work on time and get generally good marks on it. DUH.” Ahhh, the arrogance of youth.

Now, as a full-time working wife and mom of three boys, how I wish that I had paid a little more attention to those lessons (yes, I realize now they weren’t lectures, they were valuable lessons). And now that I’ve also started up my own business on the side, it’s even more important that I make sure to make the best use of my time. Don’t get me wrong, our bills are paid on time and I meet deadlines at work. But I’m also, admittedly, a procrastinator. I used to joke that I work better under pressure, so it was GOOD that I procrastinated. But you know what? Now that I’m a grown-up (really and truly), I’ve realized something important. I don’t LIKE pressure and stress. There’s enough stress and pressure in life that I can’t control, so I’m now taking an active role in reducing the stress that I do have control over.

How am I doing it? That’s where the wishing-I’d-paid-more-attention-years-ago comes in. If I had, I wouldn’t be “reinventing the wheel” right now. I keep a day-planner. I make a LOT of lists so that I don’t forget things I need to do. I try to NOT multitask as much—hence the lists—since I’ve learned that I end up with a bunch of half-finished tasks instead of completed ones (and I don’t just mean work tasks, I mean even simple ones, like cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry). I still forget things sometimes. I’m still learning what works best for me and my family style, but I’m already seeing a difference in my stress levels!

What do you do to make the most efficient use of your time?

Julie Daneman is wife to Bryan, Stepmom to Jacob and Caleb, and Mommy to Sam. They are a boisterous, loving, happy interfaith family.

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