Time management has always been a big deal to me. I want to squeeze every last drop out of life and I want to GET THINGS DONE! At the brink of this new school year, I hope this article offers something helpful for you. One thing I would add, though, is to write your daily list down on a sticky note. If it doesn't fit, what makes you think you could get it all done in one one day. This has helped me tremendously to focus on 3 or 4 main things for the day. I have set myself up for success because I usually can get those important things done. It's manageable. It's being realistic.
Where do all of my other tasks go? On a longer, running list of 'to do's and that is where I pull my daily "to dos" from.
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We all want to get things done, but it's important to get the right things done. Nothing is more equal than time; each of us has the same amount. Sadly, there is no store where we can purchase more of it and without some forethought and planning, time has a way of vanishing. To help out the harried homeschooler, I offer some perspective on how to take hold of your time to GTI.
1. Change it Up
Whatever time management strategy you use, it will change because your needs change. For example, if you are a homeschool parent who follows a traditional school schedule with summer breaks, then you know how different summer looks at your house than during the fall and spring semesters. Create two schedules per year.
Also, what works this year may not work next year or in five years.
2. Know Thyself
Some people like a great deal of structure; others would wither under it. Create a schedule that has the level of structure that you feel comfortable with. If you need to write out every single thing you need to do in a day, minute by minute, then do it, otherwise, see tip #5 and chunk it.
3. Eat Like Mark Twain
Just like we don't eat dessert before dinner, eat your frogs first. Thank you, Mark Twain, for the origin of this saying. Our "frogs" are the tasks that we find disagreeable so we procrastinate. By doing them right away, they don't pile up, nor do they hang over our heads all day or all week, burdening us. Do it and feel immediate satisfaction or relief. It's a sure way to GTI.
4. Make Appointments
Schedule certain tasks on specific days. For instance, one of the biggest time savers for me was when I decided to make two days a week my errand days. Now, I don't run out the door every time I need something. This seems like a no-brainer but the shift in my thinking came for me when I realized that one errand day would not suffice. Another day is reserved as my "paper" day for paying bills, dealing with paper piles, and writing out birthday cards or other special occasions.
5. Think in Chunks
This tip is especially helpful for those who don't like a tight structure. Chunk up the day into 1 or 2 hour blocks. Include a few 15 minute and 30 minute blocks. Write down what you need to do during those time frames. With this method, you'll have some wiggle room. Here is what this might look like: ( 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.) Clean a room; (10:00 a.m.-10:30) Read-aloud to children, etc... Writing it down is important because it will clearly show you the available time in a day. You won't be able to get it all done and you will be forced automatically to cull the unnecessary items.
Those are a few simple tips to get you started and really, that's all you need for now. None of us can be effective trying to implement too many new things at once.
There is more to time management than meets the eye. The second part of a system that helps you GTI is actually DOING it. First, comes the PLAN, then comes the ACTION. That's what motivation is all about. Coming soon in a future post!
Where will you find me when I am not teaching?
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