Time management Monday: Streamline your day

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The Hours

Last Monday’s post was about “doing less,” which most readers agreed is advice directed more toward managers and people who have the option of delegating work to others. This doesn’t apply to many of us in our daily lives. So how can we manage our tasks and schedule so we don’t feel like we are running in circles all day?

The answer is to get things done with less effort by streamlining. The secret to this is not to make decisions on the spot, because you have sorted everything out ahead of time. You don’t have to waste energy and your brain’s limited decision-making resources by trying to decide what to do next all day, because you already know. You have your plan, all you have to do is work it. Here’s how:

Plan your day the day before: In the afternoon or evening, plan the following day in as much detail as you can. Note any appointments or scheduled events, and plug in your must-do tasks around them. Then when you wake up you can hit the ground running.

Routines: Before you groan, hear me out. Routines are a great way to streamline tasks because you don’t have to think about what’s next, you just go on autopilot and get your tasks done. Simple things like running the dishwasher every evening and unloading it in the morning, setting out your clothes the night before and having lunch box items on hand will simplify routines so you can go through your morning with ease. You don’t have to decide what to wear or what to pack, you just breeze right through and onto the next thing.

Time blocking: I’m a big fan of time blocking because it allows me to be in the moment. I don’t have to worry about what else I should be doing, because I know I’m doing what I need to do at that moment. I’ve scheduled time to take care of other things later.

What are some other things you do to streamline your day?

3 thoughts on “Time management Monday: Streamline your day

  1. I think mom’s can delgate. We do way to much for kids. Make a laminated list and attach it to their bag, let them get their bag packed-someday they will be an adult and have to learn it then. Save them alot of stress later in life, its much easier to assist them when they are still at home 🙂 they can do their laundry, make their own beds, clean their bedrooms/bathrooms, & even do the shopping. My youngest is 14 & can take my shopping list and my mother’s and not miss a beat. Second, trim down outside activities–less is better.

  2. I also time block and have routines, but I have found that the one thing that consistently works for me is to write out necessary steps as soon as I put something on one of my planner pages. For example, my kids only have gym on Tuesdays. When I do my next month planning session (usually one week before the end of the current month), I not only write “gym” on Tuesdays under my kids names, but I also write on Mondays “put out sneakers for gym”. This means I can find the wayward sneakers they day before and put them by the front door next to their backpacks, ready to go for the next morning. I do the same for birthdays, parties, doctors appointments, bills, etc. As soon as I note it in my planner, I think of what my need to be done for this particular event and in what time frame (one day versus one week, etc) and I jot it down on the appropriate date in my planner. I try to build in some wiggle room in case I need extra time. For example, if I know that a birthday is on the 12th, I will note 1 week before that I need to buy the gift or card. This gives me a few days in case I have trouble finding something nice. It took a few months of getting this into a consistent habit, but it has saved my sanity, reduced my stress, made me more efficient and I have rarely forgotten an item needed for an appointment or a gift for a birthday. It has truly allowed me to plan in advance. BTW, I love your website. It is chock full of useful information. I read it every night aspart of my routine.

    • Wow Paula thanks for these great tips! I’m going to start implementing these immediately. And thank you for your kind words, I’m glad you like the blog!

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