Monday, November 5, 2012

Time management

Since classes started this year, it's been hard to find time to get everything done. While during the summer finding time to do laundry or cleaning or shopping was relatively simple (basically because I had nothing else to do), now that my days have been reduced at least 6 hours, things have started to get out of control. It's time to review daily and weekly routines.
When it comes to planning a routine, an important aspect to bare in mind is priority. Is that load of laundry more important than cooking dinner? Should you study before you touch that feather duster? Do you need to walk the dog before you fluff those pillows? In my case, studying always comes first and cleaning cannot become an aid to procrastination.

First of all, make a list of all the things you need to get done daily and during the week and how often. For example, in my case, I have at least 3 hours of classes, 5 days a week and I cook twice a day, 7 days a week. Floors are cleaned once a week and beds are made daily.

Once you've completed the list, it's time to decide how to space out your tasks. I used Excel to create a simple table to get a good look at my week. I used different colours to shade in different tasks I get done (or would like to) weekly. Try and be realistic with your time.

1. First of all, shade in the time you spend sleeping. Make sure it's al least 7-8 hours. If you're tired, chances are you won't be as productive and you'll take longer when doing tasks and probably end up skipping some of them. This will only add to your daily to-do list and make you frustrated. So, schedule that sleep!!

2. The next thing to do is to shade in the hours you spend at work or in class. Hopefully, these will be as regular as possible. If you take more than 15min to get to and back from work, make sure you shade that in too.

3. Now it's time to focus on eating. Fill in time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you eat at work, include that in your work schedule. This time includes food preparation. I chose to leave about two hours for preparation and meal time.

4. At this point it's time to focus on laundry and cleaning. I used to do my laundry on Saturdays, but since the weather's got so cold and rainy, the clothes take too long to dry and I can never get enough loads done in one day. So now I dedicate some of my Wednesdays and Saturday morning to laundry.
And when it comes to cleaning, the only day I have enough time to do some deep cleaning is Saturday morning. If I can, I try to squeeze in some time in the afternoons throughout the week, AFTER studying, but I can't always manage.

After shading, you should end up with something like this:

In this case: green is for eating, orange is for class, purple is studying, blue is cleaning and grey is sleeping.

In your case, you may have activities such as taking kids to after-school activites, set shopping times, gym...

After you've finished you should have a good idea of how much time you have left to do other activities you don't do every week or as often, such as going out for dinner, date night, going to the movies, taking the kids on a trip, etc.

To keep track of appointments, trips and birthday I use my monthly calendar on my new Message Board in the kitchen. You can find the calendar under the Printables tab:

And for everything school related (exams, class changes, seminars, etc) I use my planner:

Establishing a routine will make your home run much more smoothly and hopefully, give you less of a headache. Hope this was helpful!!

Have you organized your time yet? Do you use a different system? Please share in the comments below!!


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