10 Easy Steps to Update Your Time Management Style

Julie Morganstern’s time maps are designed to bring renewed energy and satisfaction to every part of your life. All you need is a pencil, paper and the right mindset to budget your day, week, or month in a way that reflects what's important to you!

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Prioritize

Identify your priorities by marking them down in a calendar. By blocking these time periods off first, you’ll know how much free time you have to work with. Be sure to include the constants in your life like work, standard mealtimes, and your child’s extracurricular activities, suggests Julie Morganstern in her book Time Management from the Inside Out.

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Make Time for Hobbies

Set aside time to do the things you love like running, writing, or painting. Incorporating your hobbies and passions into your schedule allows you to fully devote yourself without feeling guilty that you should be doing something else.  Once your family and friends notice your commitment and routine, you’ll find yourself with more time to indulge--interruption-free.

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Relish Self-time

In addition to your priorities and hobbies, schedule self-time, which you can use to catch up on a good book or go to the spa. Use self-time as a reward to look forward to in the middle of a busy day or at the end of a long week. Scheduling self-time back-to-back with mundane tasks can serve as an incentive to pick up the pace when you know you can relax soon after.

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Layer Activities

If you discover that you have more activities than your time allows, consider multi-tasking. This may seem daunting, but simple, enjoyable additions-- like playing classical music while you pay bills or scheduling phone calls while you wash the dishes-- will help you get through chores faster and make the process more restorative, says Morganstern. 

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Stick to Your Schedule

Adhere to your time map even on days off. Doing so will allow you to maximize your productivity on lazy days instead of letting them whizz by while you watch television.

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Make Empowered Choices

Use your time map as a guide to determine when you can fulfill spontaneous, time-sucking tasks. Say no when you must, postpone tasks to a later time, or simply say yes to whatever priorities scream the loudest, says Morganstern.

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A Flexible Approach

If sticking to a structured schedule isn’t for you, implement Morganstern’s balance tracker as a time-management technique. Start by listing your tasks along with how much time you’d like to devote to each one. Then, break down your time in increments and mark off as each block is fulfilled. Even if a task isn’t completed all at once, a balance tracker will help you manage how much time you spend on it overall.

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Use All Time Windows

A sudden opportunity list is another method you can use for flexible time-management. Organize tasks by how long you think they’ll take you to complete. When you find yourself with an extra five minutes, make that quick phone call or mail that birthday card that’s been on your desk.

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For the Overly Committed

If your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to break up your day into small increments, consider a vertical time map, which allows you to sets aside entire days to fully commit to a single task. Don’t feel guilty spending full days drawing or painting, as long as you allot other days for different tasks.

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Keep in Mind…

Time maps are intended to work only 80 percent of the time. Use the other 20 percent as a cushion to handle urgent matters as they arise. “Time management is a fluid process,” says Morganstern. “It will not work all the time but that’s something you should always come back to.”

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Make Adjustments

Fine-tune your time map to always ensure it reflects your big-picture goals. It should include adequate time for all of the categories you want to get to and always make you feel balanced and energized.

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Julie Morgenstern is an organizing and time management expert, business productivity consultant, and speaker. She is a New York Times bestselling author with five books that serve as timeless, insightful reference guides. Each volume features techniques and observations culled from her 20 years of experience as a consultant to individuals and companies.

 

Time Management from the Inside Out is available on Amazon.com

 

For more information about organizing expert Julie Morganstern, visit JulieMorganstern.com

 

Click here to read 10 More Time Management Tips

Photo courtesy of Julie Morganstern
First Published March 1, 2011

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