EFFECTIVE USE OF TIME AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Too many times, a parent spends the majority of his time and resources responding to crises. Better, is the parent who prevents crises and who has delegated and organized to the extent that others in the family can respond to situations. When I entered college as a full-time student effective use of my time and resources became a priority.
Many times I stayed up late finishing a paper or studying for a test only to be so tired the next day that I could not function properly and was grumpy. Prioritizing my schedule and setting aside certain time-periods for specific activities has helped a lot. Friday and Sunday evenings are for family only.
Scheduling the day and having set rules and habits helps, too. As a family, we plan our calendar and have councils to decide what we want to accomplish and then decide what is really important, and is it worth our time.
Also realizing that many times the children would rather just play than have an organized sport and activity fill each waking moment, is hard for parents to recognize in our ever more sophisticated lives.
Time and resource management is a constant battle for every parent and home. The fact is, too many times the parent perceives his children as incompetent, or just not able to handle the skills and tasks; or not in the way the parent wants it done.
A visionary home administrator, one who believes in their children and sees their potential, not just their weaknesses, will help their children, to rise to the occasion, and to learn and to experience.
This delegating of authority, will in itself; if done properly, bring about the saving of time, and the growth of family resources, that is needed for the children and the family to prosper.
She has some good points in this video. I always have tried to teach decision making, critical thinking, and refining processes along with time management.
Because it is true...if you do not know how to manage yourself...you will not be able to manage your time.
Why Time Management Doesn't Work
Video on how time management is a two step process of managing time and yourself with Success Television expert Sharon Melnick.
However, I disagree with her premise that the tools are really not that effective. Even the worse offenders can improve just by using some of these tools.
I have seen college students through the years, that as they are introduced to some of these tools and begin to utilize them, that they become more effective and productive.
I think she is speaking to the gurus who already are using many of these tools, but need to become even more effective. These people need my refining process class, they need to learn about systems, make better decisions, and work at setting priorities.
It is a constant juggling, balancing act.
I once had a professor that said, Life is as though you are juggling glass balls. Each ball represents: family, work, marriage, community, church, school, personal, and so forth.
He said the main concern, was that as you juggled things around, and as life becomes so hectic at times, that we may even drop a ball. He said to just make sure that the ball that drops and shatters is one that CAN be replaced...
Also, another point is the word: FLEXIBLE. If you have scheduled too rigidly, scheduling every minute of the day, your system will never work.
LIFE will ALWAYS get in the way of your schedule.
Let me repeat that:
LIFE will ALWAYS get in the way of your schedule.
So what you need to account for in scheduling is the everyday little (and Big) issues, dilemmas, challenges, accidents, problems, that WILL come up unexpectedly!! With nine children...this is a given...I constantly check my schedule, master calender, and day timer to make sure I do NOT have things over scheduled, packed, rigid, too close together.
I know I NEED to schedule FREE periods as they inevitably WILL fill up with the many LIFE moments that just seem to spontaneously appear.
This tool of FLEXIBLE scheduling will also allow the parent to have the ability to respond to a crisis, but not get further behind because he or she missed all the scheduled duties while responding to a need.
This concept is especially important with children, because there will always be a mess to clean up, the diaper to change just as you are walking out the door (already late!), the teen driver that has a car accident, the athlete that breaks an arm, the stitches, the illnesses, college papers to help with, the break up...needs to talk....
The crisis's of parenting will never stop, never go away. You can not fire your children, nor your spouse...so this will always be your greatest challenge. BE FLEXIBLE. SET PRIORITIES. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO SAY NO TO AN OUTSIDE PROJECT OR PERSON! This is the one ball you do not want to shatter!!
This is a Time Management tip this week, and an integral part of managing one's time is to do things in the right priority.
Many times, we manage our time through crises, in other words, we just do what we have to do each day and just get done whatever that is.
One way to overcome this dilemma is to make lists.
These lists serve several purposes.
The first of which (especially as you get older or busier) is to help you remember things.
I always have a list by my desk where I jot things down as they come to me.
I also have one in my purse, one in my planner, and have even written things down by the bed, in the bathroom, etc.
Great thoughts do not always come at opportune times.
So...when they do come...when you do remeber something that needs to be done, or a poem comes to your mind, or an impression about what to do about an employee, a child, a circumstance...WRITE IT DOWN. Before you lose it!
The second reason a list is helpful, is that as you see all the things written down, you can then-
1. Prioritize them as to needs or wants.
2. Prioritize them as to important or not important.
3. Prioritize them as to immediate or future (however...be careful to NOT procrastinate what needs to be done now to ensure a better future)
Now- I have my list, I have my priorities, I make decisions (hopefully, wisely) and use my time to concentrate on the things that will give me (and my loved ones) the most benefit.
Do I accomplish everything on my lists? Usually, although it may take weeks or months for some items.
And if something stays on my list long enough without being done. I sometimes realize it is not really important to me and I then eliminate it from the list.
Be careful...for sometimes we put things other people want us to do on the list-- and we must always be choosing what our priorities really are.
Sometimes we fill up our lives with good things, but we really should be filling it up with better things.
Time Management Tools and Rules
Just as if you were trying to lose weight, learn to budget, etc. One of the first things you need to do is document and learn what is going on. A Master Schedule is perfect for this. For example if you were dieting the nutritionist or dietitian would have you write down everything you have eaten everyday for a week or so.
Same thing with money. Carry a schedule around for one month and keep track of every penny spent. Coffee in the morning, a candy bar from the machine, etc. You would be surprised just to see how much money just disappears in small ways.
The same is true of time.
This is one way in which each individual is equal. We all have been alloted the same amount of time.
What sets us apart and makes one person more successful than another is HOW we use that allotment of time.
So you need to keep a master schedule for 2-3 weeks until you can see patterns of how you use your time.
Then just as I explain in the refining processes; you look at the process. Is there a way to shorten it? Can I eliminate a step? Are there two steps that can be combined?
We do the same with time. For example, I like certain political shows, but I use a DVR to record them, so I can watch them back at my convenience. I usually watch them in the morning after I get my children off to school. I turn the TV up loud and then I listen as I do the morning dishes, sweep the floor, clean the living room, etc. If it is a program that I want to watch, I have a craft that I can work on while watching the show.
Sometimes, I shower beforehand, and then put on my makeup and do my hair while watching. This way, 1) I am not wasting time watching commercials, 2) I am completing another task that needed to be done anyway, or 3) I am doing something constructive (the craft).
The purpose of the Master Schedule is to provide a detailed list of all activities and actions that need to occur, in order for the scheduling objectives to be achieved. This table is an example of the details that could be included in the Master Schedule. You can make copies of this and use one for each day. Use these to help gauge where your time is being used, wasted, lost, stolen, misused, overspent, and so forth.
Okay, use the master schedule for several weeks. make copies and write down each activity from brushing your teeth to work appointments. LOOK and THINK organizationally. Do I spend 3 hours a month at the doctor's office? Is there something else I could do while there? Instead of just looking at magazines, could I take an article about a subject that I need to learn about?
For example: I always carry papers that need editing, or copies of material I need to study. That way if I get stuck in traffic, or in a waiting room, in a line, etc. I can do something productive, not just play a game or surf the Internet on my cell phone.
Does breakfast take one hour? Are you spending 2 hours to get the children ready for school? What can you do to make that process go faster? The night before, have your children (and you) get their clothes out. Make sure socks and shoes, backpacks, and so on are all out and ready. This way you are not looking for things, or signing papers in the morning.
When I had a baby, I always packed the diaper bag the night before. I filled up the sippy cups and had them ready to go in the fridge. To this day, if I have a training session or presentation the next day, I make sure that I have all the materials for the presentation, ready, the night before. I even put my clothes and jewelry out so that I do not have to make those decisions in the morning.
Also, I learned that life is always going to throw you something when you least expect it so if it is an important meeting you always need to allow for extra time to get there as you have no control over the traffic, or lights, or whether the baby poops just as you go out the door, or your two year old made a mess and you have to change them...
BUT...if you allowed for extra time...if that was already built into your schedule...you will not feel stressed out, have road rage...because you still have time.
So one of the rules of time management is to allow extra time and to be flexible.
Another tool of time management is the daily planner. This can be an appointment book, an assignment book, an iphone, notebook, or blackberry. But you need something that you can keep with you at all times.
CONSULT IT--BEFORE YOU MAKE ANY COMMITMENTS OF YOUR TIME!!
If you are not sure or you need to ask your husband first... DO NOT SAY YES!!! I do not know why young busy mothers or working professionals tend to over commit!! Check your planner, tell the person you tentatively MAY be able to do it, BUT you have to check your master calender at home.
I, myself, prefer an appointment book that has the whole month on two pages. I have found that when I use a daily planner or my phone"s calender that I over commit as you do not see the day preceding the event or the day after. If you just go to that day and see that you have it "free" it is easy to say, "Oh yea, I am available. I can do it." However, if you had the whole month in front of you. You would have noticed that you already have so much to do that that was one of your only free days!!!
YOU need to keep certain days and time slots FREE.
When else are you going to do laundry, go grocery shopping, go out with your husband?
Most people DO NOT schedule chores into their day, and then they schedule TOO MANY activities, and then they do not have time to do all the little mundane things that life requires, so then they are STRESSED OUT!!
Sooo...either schedule chores onto your calender and planner or block off chunks of time that you reserve for family, chores, and all of life's little surprises.
PLAN AHEAD/ Family Wall Calender
As a student, when I receive the syllabus from the teacher, I take it home and put the DUE dates of each assignment, test, project into my planner. I also put it onto the Family Wall Calender.
When my church puts out their calender, I do the same.
When the children's school calender comes out. I transfer each item onto the family calender and into my planner. My husband is a school teacher and so I put his dates on there , too.
When I get a note about a school function, it goes on the calender and into the planner.
Same for doctor and dentist appointments. Training sessions, meetings with clients,EVERYTHING goes on the WALL CALENDER and into my PLANNER.
The calender hangs on the wall in my home office. That way when I am at the computer, or on the phone, I can look up and see exactly what is planned and where I (or one of the children) needs to be.
If I am out, I can look at my planner and see the same. If, while I am out, I add something to my planner, the next morning as I go over my day, I have the habit of pulling out my planner and comparing it to the Family Calender to make sure both are updated.
In addition, Phone numbers, addresses, important family info should be in one area nearby your working area. (In the home office section, I will explain how I do it).
TO-DO LIST/ DAILY SCHEDULE
Another tool that is essential to good time management is the To-Do List. This can be a notepad in your appointment book or even just a sheet of paper that you keep a list of things that need to be done.
Personally, I write EVERYTHING down on this list. When I was younger, my memory was so good that for the most part I only had to write down few things.
However, as I have had my life become more complicated through the years and now I have to remember things for my mother (who lives with us), my children, my husband, my schoolwork, my business, my church....well, you get the point.
I do not think age is a factor as much as we simply are so busy and our lives have become so complicated that we simply have TOO MUCH to remember and do.
Therefore, relieve yourself of that burden, by writing it down.
You will find that just as soon as you add it to your list, and you know that you will see the list in the morning and then you WILL remember to call so and so.
That way YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SLEEP, because now you do not need to worry about remembering.
This is perhaps the best part of good time management.
The better you become at using these tools and prioritizing how you use your time.
You will make better decisions with time use and be more calm, have more peace, and actually get more done.
A good video on prioritizing time is:
FranklinCovey's The 7 Habits Video Preview: Big Rocks
This is a video preview of Big Rocks, a video featured in The 7 Habits workshops. This classic video helps participants grasp a clear understanding of "big rocks" as they watch Stephen R. Covey teach ...
When I was a missionary and when I was selling advertising, I had so many appointments each day, I actually had to carry a day-timer. This is a small daily planner in which you can write down where you need to be at what time. I also, always wrote down the address, the phone number, the secretary's name (Hey- if you remember his or her name you will get in quicker), and any other information about the company that I thought I would need.
I keep individually wrapped wipes in my purse to use for a multitude of reasons.
The other day, I went to the bank to open an account for my daughter. Of course, this is a process that takes awhile and one is just sitting there, answering an occasional question.
I used the time to clean out my purse. I went through and threw away unneeded papers, etc.
I reorganized miscellaneous items, cleaned the wallet, and put things in order.
I always purchase purses that have three compartments. I keep papers in one.
I keep my wallet and keys in another and the middle compartment has personal items such as lipstick, comb, mouth freshener, and so on.
I also always make sure that the purse has a zipped pocket in the middle compartment where I can put personal hygiene items.
Using time that is usually wasted is a key to becoming more efficient.
I was careful in my cleaning and discreet about doing so.
If we had been sitting in a public area and not back in an office, I probably would have not done so.
However, I always keep a book and a notebook with me so I can always use (wasted/waiting) time to read or write.
An incredible and very enlightening of prioritizing items is the Urgent | Important activity matrix originally developed by time and organizational management guru Stephen Covey.
This matrix is based on all tasks being assigned a level of ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’ as illustrated below (see link below).
Urgent-Important Matrix for setting priorities
Human nature means that we instinctively act on tasks that are ‘urgent’, whether these tasks are important or not.
That’s OK for the tasks that are also important, but the other ones are not necessarily the best use of your time and effort. This matrix can also be used to explain why taking action on goals sometimes gets into trouble.
Goals are typically derived from dreams and desires, which by their very nature are not ‘urgent’. Goals are however VERY important and their enabling actions need to be elevated in priority over tasks that are not really important.
So as a tool for helping you prioritize your action items, start by identifying which part of the matrix each task belongs in, and then manage them as follows:
"Don't be a time manager, be a priority manager. Put your major goals into bite-sized pieces. Each small priority or requirement on the way to ultimate goal become a mini goal in itself."
Stephen Covey: Goals and Priorities
Buy Steven Covey products at http://www.yoursuccessstore.com/index.php?main_page=products_all&cPath=9&sub=author&value=Stephen+R.+CoveyDr. Stephen Covey: The 8th Habit. Stephen Covey defined the...