Oh no! It’s October!
The first is usually followed by the later. The turning of the leaves and the appearance of pumpkins and scarecrows in the stores is usually a fun, welcoming sight…until it brings on a state of panic.
Signs of fall are a reminder of the approach of winter, the end of the year. Suddenly we are reminded of that as the old year leaves, so does the chance to fulfill our promises to ourselves of what we’d get done this year.
On top of angst, there is the realization holiday season is now knocking at the door. Here comes the joy of Thanksgiving, December holidays and New Year’s. Here also are major time demands of family visits, cooking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, gift giving, school performances, dance recitals, holiday parades and church concerts.
I’d like to tell you there is a magic trick for getting everything done without stress but if I did, I’d be lying. Overall it seems like a good time of year to think about time – how we save time and how we waste time. An overall awareness of our valuable time is a good place to start in making the most of the minutes you do have.
5 Time Wasters Begging for Change
- Hello! It’s Your Phone
If you’re like me, you spend so much time on your phone and it really has little to do with talking. If it is in your hand or back pocket even, there is a constant urge to use it. Got to check my email, take a photo, share it with a friend or use it to update my status, look stuff up, read the news (which may really be just gossip or trash because one thing leads to another. Notice there is nothing in that list about phone calls.
Solution: It’s beyond time to take control of your phone instead of your phone controlling your time. Here are some steps:
- Turn off notifications. Trust me – you don’t need a pop-up to tell you someone tagged you on Facebook or someone else posted on Instagram for the first time in a long time. You also don’t need to know you have a new email that is probably from Amazon asking you to rate your last purchase.
- Use phone time as reward time. – There is no doubt it is fun to use social media, play video games and check a video but fun times should come after you’ve finished work or during a scheduled break. Make some rules for yourself. (Pretend you are your own teenager!)
- Set a timer. It is easy to think you’ll take a five minute break and check emails and then 45 minutes later you are still on the phone. You’ve got a timer. Use it. Set it for five or 10 minutes and then go back to what you really need to be doing.
- Silence it. If you are working on a big project, block out an hour or two and silence your phone. Let calls go to voice mail. Concentrate so you can really get things done and then return messages.
- Taking Care of Yourself
Oh my gosh, you are a lot of work. Have you ever added it all up? From laundry to grocery shopping, it is all self-maintenance. Add in exercise, hair salons, pedicures, make-up routines, doctor visits, medications, vitamins, making outfits (that you don’t’ like and discard and try another) and even getting to bed. Seriously, taking care of you is a big chunk of time when added altogether.
Solution: Even when you are the type to skimp on your own care, which I don’t recommend, it is still a lot. That doesn’t mean you can’t do a better job with your time.
- Streamline. Both hair and make-up routines can be streamlined. Talk to your stylist about your hair style and routine to find a way to make it easier. Have a makeover with the idea of cutting back on both products and time. Learn some easy techniques with minimal products to save time. Besides, it is a great way to keep your look up-to-date.
- Go to bed. Being tired all day is like walking under water. It is hard. You get less done and you can’t focus. Even though you have things to do, stop doing them and go to bed. Have a set bedtime to turn off electronics and lights and go to sleep. You’ll benefit by getting more done daily.
- Get a laundry routine. Create a laundry routine so you do laundry regularly- including taking it to the drycleaners and picking it. (Try a delivery service!) Make it a habit to finish your laundry routine by creating a week’s worth of outfits. Line them up in the closet so you can grab and go. It’s also a great way to make the best use of your wardrobe investment instead of grabbing the same thing all the time.
- Organize your meds. Get a pill box labeled with the days of the week. They aren’t just for old people! Organize your medications for a couple weeks or even a month at a time. Then you don’t need to open multiple bottles and can easily take your day’s vitamins or meds in a jiffy and always know if you took them or not. Take advantage of prescription refill services offering automatic refills. Then you never need to reorder daily meds.
- Watching and Watching
I know I’ve got more options for chilling in front of a screen than ever before. Between Hulu, Netflix, Acorn and satellite, just to name a few, I can watch anything, anytime. That’s just great unless you are tempted to watch anything, anytime. When I hear people have “binge watched” a series and did it in two days, I always wonder what they didn’t do that needed doing.
Solution: Know there are more things available to watch than time in the day. You could watch 24-hours in the day, every day and not see it all. This issue is only going to grow so the only one that can help you with this is – you. Set limits or suffer the consequences.
- In- ter – rup- tions
Honestly, you are just too polite. It’s so sweet you are willing to grab the phone, check the email, go to the door and put down the project you have a deadline for just to chat with a co-worker who popped in. On the other hand, what are you doing to yourself?
Solution: Realize it is okay to occasionally be selfish- well, politely selfish. Learning to limit interruptions doesn’t make you a bad person.
- Actually schedule time for a project on your planner. You can’t get things done when you “get around to it.” You’ll never find time that way.
- Close the door. An open door policy is great except when it keeps work from getting done. A polite note is all you need “Project in Progress. Leave a note and I’ll find you this afternoon.” Don’t have a door? Move a chair into your doorway of your cubicle and prop the note in it.
- Hang an inbox on your office door or at the entrance to your cubicle so people dropping things off don’t need to come in and interrupt.
- Leave. Take your laptop and go outdoors or to a spot where no one will bother you.
- What To-Do List?
There are three surefire things for wasting time during a day: not having a plan, not having a to-do list and not having a routine.
Rushing about willy-nilly doing first this and then that, while wondering what else needs doing causes you to replan all day long. It also means you are likely to not get things done that have a deadline or are most important.
Solution: Create a routine that involves planning. Either end everyday by making a plan for tomorrow or start every day that way.
- Keep a running to-do list. Know you’ll never finish it. It isn’t meant to be finished. It is meant to be a reminder for you. Add things as they come up. Cross them off as they are done.
- Prioritize that list each day based on deadlines and importance.