Figuring out how you spend your time and then managing how you WANT to spend your time is one of the key steps to becoming more productive and better organized.
If you spend most of your day on your phone, but want to be getting ready for the next big event or holiday, then you’re not doing yourself any favours.
Also, if you’re working all day but want to go back to school, you may need to sacrifice some personal or family time in order to meet your goal.
When you do have a bit of time, how can you manage it effectively?
I like to think of my time in chunks!
I find it becomes WAY easier for me to guiltlessly focus my time and energy on certain tasks.
For example, I have my morning chunk, or pre-drop off chunk. I try to get up before everyone else so that I can have a few minutes on my own and try to get a work out in. Then, as everyone else starts waking up, we empty the dishwasher, make coffee, make breakfast, pack lunches and back packs, pick up any laundry left laying around (I swear I need a huge blinking light on the laundry hamper!!), and tidy up a few toys if they’re laying about.
After drop off, I get to divide the day into my actual productive chunks. I also have different chunks for different days of the week, because my days vary quite significantly. I work nights a couple times per week so I know I will be less productive on those days so I set my sights a bit lower to provide some recharging time.
If you work all day, you may have a harder time dividing up your day so that you feel productive. Maybe you can create a chunk of time through the evening or you can focus more on chunking your weekend.
The idea behind your chunks is that there is not just one task per chunk.
A chunk is a category of tasks!
So, my first chunk after dropping the kids off is fitness. It’s usually in the way of a walk with the dog, or a shorter walk for the dog and a run for me, or some weights at home. I am really working on hard on making my fitness a priority.
My next chunk is chores and lunch. I try to do at least a couple chores each day so there isn’t one big huge chore day, ‘cause who wants to spend all day doing chores, right? Even if it does make the house sparkle and shine!?
My last chunk before pick up is my longest chunk of the day, and it varies the most. Sometimes it’s a nap, sometimes it’s errands, sometimes it’s a new organizing project, and occasionally its just some guilt free tv binging!
Then of course, there is the afterschool chunk. I lump a lot into this chunk. It pretty much goes until the kids go to bed (which has some unpredictable timing since COVID started). This chunk includes picking up the kids, extra curriculars, a couple chores for the kids, play time, dinner and tidying up from dinner, some good quality family time and the bedtime routine.
There is one last chunk that again has some variability. It’s the chunk where sometimes I’m working, but mostly it’s couple time. Sometimes we have to do chores like garbage, or sorting the fridge, or other organizing project that we need to tag team, sometimes we’ll do a date night at home, or we will have a night apart in the house for us each to do our own thing.
I have personally had a lot of success with breaking down my day into categories of tasks. It allows me to focus on different parts of my to do lists so that I am not feeling so overwhelmed with just doing it all!
If you start thinking more categorically about your day, I bet you may naturally already have chunks in your day! There may also be parts of the day where you think, “ok, I’ve got til this time! I can get so much done! So…where to start…” then you end up losing part of the day trying to think about what to do first. Also, you may get less done simply because there is no pressure on your time. Dividing up the day should put enough pressure on you to help you stay engaged in the task that lines up with whatever category! But, not so much pressure that you get overwhelmed.
Try to get chunky this weekend. Chunk a bit of time to think about Monday, or all of next week and see how it alters your week and your time management.