“He who has confined his heart solely to the search for the goods of this world is always in a hurry, for he has only a limited time to find them, take hold of them, and enjoy them. His remembrance of the brevity of life constantly spurs him.”
Alexis de Tocqueville
Americans are always in a hurry, wrote Alexis de Tocqueville. An Amazingly accurate perception of the developing American spirit… more than 150 years ago.
Today, we find his words continually ringing true. We are, it seems, always in a hurry. Perhaps that hurry will be forever linked with our pursuit of the American dream.
In 2011, Gallup Poll said, “The more cash-rich working Americans are, the more time-poor they feel.”
According to Economist Magazine, “A Harvard Business School survey of 1,000 professionals found that 94% worked at least 50 hours a week, and almost half worked more than 65 hours. Other research shows that the share of college-educated American men regularly working more than 50 hours a week rose from 24% in 1979 to 28% in 2006. According to a recent survey, 60% of those who use smartphones are connected to work for 13.5 hours or more a day.”
With increasing demand on time in our careers, we are also seeing that reflected in school and student activities. Some affluent school district PTSA groups have and are circulating petitions and gathering signatures to force districts to limit homework and even high school start times.
Is it true? Are we working longer hours… or does it just feel like it?
Economist reports, “American workers toil some of the longest hours in the industrial world. Employers are not required to offer their employees proper holidays, but even when they do, their workers rarely use the lot. The average employee takes only half of what is allotted, and 15% don’t take any holiday at all, according to a survey from Glassdoor, a consultancy. Nowhere is the value of work higher and the value of leisure lower. This is the country that invented take-away coffee, after all.”
And speaking of that coffee… grab a notebook, and the coffee, and let’s talk about ways to manage that time crunch and de-stress our lives in the process.
Get ready to “Bullet Journal.”
Assignment: For one week, bullet journal your activities. Get a sense of where you spend your time, and how much it requires. After a week, you should have a realistic idea of how many hours you need to devote to particular tasks. And, hopefully, find areas in your life that need tweaking, activities that are preventing you from reaching your goals and stressing your life. You will learn when to say, “No.”
5 Time Management Tips to De-Stress Your Life
1. Create a Routine
Routines prepare you for success. Establish a plan that works for your individual needs and your schedule. Doing the same things, in the same order, lets your mind work on the important aspects of your day. My morning begins with stretching, shower, teeth, make bed, get dressed, makeup, hair, tidy bathroom … coffee. And then, the carousel of my life beings to spin.
2. Make an Appointment with Yourself
Take the first 15-30 minutes of every day to write a to-do list or bullet journal your day. I find it especially helpful to categorize my list. I also take this time to forecast the week/month ahead, keeping a side column list of impending obligations. I like to categorize my journal with daily tasks for shopping, housekeeping, work, appointments, charity/volunteer. In addition, I have an ongoing prayer list, goals list, inspiring ideas list for vacation, home improvement, garden, book lists, etc. And then timebox your activities. Restrict tasks to specific times and stick to it. Deadlines keep you on track.
Plan intentionally so you can live intentionally.
3. Plan Breaks and Be Flexible
Life will always happen. Schedules will shift and change. Kids will get sick, cars will stop running, appointments will be canceled. We need to flex with fluid times. Perfection is not what we’re aiming for.
It’s important to plan breaks and flex time into your daily schedule. We all need a bit of relaxation to rejuvenate and recharge. Doing something we enjoy can inspire us to finish the day strong. Whether that be a break to spend some time on social media, or participate in your favorite hobby.
4. Limit Distractions and Say No
By consulting your daily list, you’ll know how much or how little disposable time you have. Distractions are deadly and can derail success. Don’t let it happen. Learn to say “no.” So more importantly, you can say, “Yes.”
Take advantage of useful organizational tools. Again, be intentional and thoughtful, however. It’s easy to shop at the Container Store, only to come home and throw it in the closet with all of your other unused storage and organizational apparatuses. Use the tools at hand.
WebMD says, ‘”As we have increased the numbers of time-saving devices and products to make our lives easier we have found ways to fill the time,’ says Tracy Lyn Moland a time management consultant and author of Mom Management, Managing Mom Before Everybody Else. And a chronic lack of time leads to stress.”
The tools I use over and over again and really pretty simple. Life would be impossible for me without my iPhone Family Calendar app that links to all our mobile phones. All activities and appointments are recorded there and everyone has access to it, immediately. Secondly, I carry my journal and an additional notebook for random uses. And to be honest, I keep a lot of lists and information on the notes app on my phone.