Do you feel like living in your own version of the Groundhog Day?
Every day you get up, you do something, you tire yourself out, and in the evening you realise that you have not achieved much: the laundry basket is still overflowing, the garden is drowning in weed and your hair is still unwashed.
I wonder if it’s’s because you don’t have a to-do list for the day, which in turn is part of a bigger goal that you set for yourself.
Goals are essential — they motivate you, give your life a purpose and help you to achieve new amazing things.
But goals without a clear plan on how to achieve them are not goals. They are fantasies similar to fairy tales. Goals are fuelled by our actions which we undertake every single day.
And because goals require actions, so many of us get too overwhelmed merely by thinking about doing anything. And those that give up continue floating through life not even brushing their dreams ever so slightly with tips of their fingers.
So how do we conquer that fear and start going towards our goals? As the saying goes: ‘eat an elephant one bite at a time.’ So our big plans need to be broken down into smaller goals and then even smaller achievable tasks. You could accomplish those tasks every day, and they won’t look that scary to us.
The strategies below will help you to take control of your life. They are simple and easy to make your own. They are tried and tested and there to help you live as stress-free and balanced life as possible while going after your goals!
18 Key Time Management Secrets for Successful Women
"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." - Jim Rohn
1. If You Don’t Plan Your Day Someone Else Will
It might sound like a cliche, but some sort of planning and goal setting needs to take place for your own wellbeing and sanity.
If you don’t know where you are going then how are you going to know that you have arrived? Walking aimlessly takes too much energy as you don’t know whether to spend time here or there.
There is no one to answer the questions: what’s important? what will bring me closer to my goals?
2. Create a Long Term and Short Term Goals and Everyday To-Do Lists
You will feel so much better if you have your long term goals written down somewhere. You do not need to constantly keep on thinking about it. And it’s nice to find your old notes and see what you were dreaming about.
You do not need to reinvent the bicycle every time you are thinking about what you really want. The long term goal could be your starting point. It does not have to come true unless you really want it to. It could be your northern light - you can go from there and think about what you really want.
Creating long term goals will set you free.
Short term goals will help you get there.
Everyday goals will help you not to get flooded by new information and go off course.
3. Prioritise Your To-Do List
Having a plan or a to-do list is well and good. But unless you know what is important and what is not you might quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of your tasks. Make sure your to-do list, especially a daily one, has clearly marked tasks that are an absolute priority for this day. Always tackle those first.
4. Set a Time Slot for Your Daily Planning
Decide when you are going to do your daily planning. You might choose the evening, before going to bed. Or the morning might sound more appealing to you. You might want to plan the whole week on Sunday and then tweak it during the week.
There is no right or wrong way of doing it. As long as it suits you and your family.
5. Have a Goal Dumping List
Create a document where you capture all the random goals, thoughts and ideas. Go through them once in a while to see if they need to be moved to your short term goals list or whether they are more fitted as a sub-task on a long term list. Or they could remain on the dumping list or be deleted altogether.
6. Follow a Morning Routine
Unless you are an owl through and through and cannot function in the mornings at all - mornings are the best time of the day to plan and prioritise important tasks. This is because we are at our freshest. The new day has restarted our system. Use this opportunity to create a quick morning routine to help you kick start the day in a positive way.
It could be Morning Pages a method based on Julia Cameron's book The Artist Way where you follow your stream of consciousness and handwrite up to three pages of text; writing that article for a blog; going through your renovation plan to see if you can notice what has been missed.
Always tackle your tasks from the priority tasks first.
7. Know Your Unique Windows of Opportunity
We all are different. What works for some might not work for others. Are you a morning or a night person? Make sure you don't spend your most productive time scrolling the social media feed!
It is also a good idea for us, women, to know when we are the most productive according to our personal monthly cycle. There is some scientific evidence to support that our mood could be affected by our monthly cycle. But unless we know our bodies inside out no one will be able to tell exactly when are we the most productive. Try capturing your moods using Ovia tracker or any other health apps. Check whether there is a tendency to be more or less energetic depending on where you are in your individual cycle.
8. Under Plan and Overestimate Your Time Slots
This is my trick as a project manager! Include fewer plans that you can accomplish in a day! Life has its own to-do list - it will interfere with yours. If you do not have a too-tight list you will be flexible enough to add more tasks if needed or spend that time re-planning.
9. Be Flexible
This point is super important! The planning you are doing is to help you clear and free up your head. It is not for creating constraints, limits and feeling of hopelessness when you cannot achieve tasks from the never-ending to-do list.
Be prepared to move your tasks, rearrange them, delete them.
You could even create a to-do list of uncompleted tasks. You will see how many of them could be deleted as they are not vital or important any more.
10. Remind Yourself Why Your Goals Are Important
From time to time reread your short and long term goals and remind yourself why they are important.
For example, your big dream or your long-term goal - is to buy a bigger house in two years time.
You dream about it because you are growing out of your current house, you need more storage space, you need an extra room as an office space, and a bigger garden is must to fit all the kids' toys.
Your shorter-term goals could be to:
start saving 10% every month
don't spend more than 5% per month on renovating the current house
agree on your ideal location
Rereading those dreams/goals will help you to either motivate yourself to continue or if the dream is no longer valid - to replan with a new exciting dream - e.g. build an extension or built up into the loft.
11. Edit Your To-Do List
Even if you have created a plan for the day and you are happy with it your brain might still have some ideas that didn’t fit in or that you forgot about. Jot them down before going to bed or as you go along.
Check what you’ve written during your next allocated planning slot and see what tasks need to be added to your to-do lists.
12. Give Yourself a Task or Chore-Free Evening/Day
This point is critical - tasks and chores free evenings are a must! Whether you take Saturdays and Sundays off, or maybe you prefer Saturdays and Wednesdays - you need to have a few days when you don’t do much apart from something nice and fun. Or nothing at all. Those days are for being and going with the flow. Your brain will thank you for that as being in constant planning and acting upon mode is exhausting. You need to have space to restart your brain.
13. Include Fun Tasks in Your To-Do List (e.g. eat a muffin, watch Friends)
It is all about living a balanced and enjoyable life as much as possible. Remember to include fun or enjoyable tasks to your daily lists. This is important because otherwise, your plans would always look like a list of boring chores. No one loves chores. If you have something fun planned in - all the efforts will feel more exciting.
14. Introduce Technology Free Evenings
Include a technology-free evening on your list. Sounds simple but we often forget to have a quick detox from our gadgets. Make it a family detox day.
Make sure it coincides with your planning/chores free day if you are using a digital planner for capturing your tasks.
15. Create Lists for Downtime Activities
Use some of your short term goals' planning time to create a list of activities you could do with the kids. This does not need to be for this month only. Create a list of 100 or more activities, then go and highlight what you want to do this month.
16. Create a Meal Plan for a Week
There are so many people earning their money from creating meal plans and easy to make recipes. Follow some of them on the social media - print out the ideas and try them out - one thing less for you to think and worry about.
Bulk buy frozen or ready-made foods for when you don't feel like cooking or for chores free evening. Indulge yourself and enjoy!
17. Save Inspirations and Interesting Ideas
Make it a habit to save/bookmark/write down inspirational and interesting ideas or places. Create a list or a folder where you could capture places you'd like to visit, restaurants you fancy dining out in or holidays to consider. You will be so grateful for having so many ideas saved and choose from when the time comes.
18. Optimise Your Household Chores
Download a chores timetable, adapt it for your household and follow. You do not need to overthink household tasks. Don’t sweat the small things — use someone else’s ideas and free up your evenings for something more fun.
I hope you've found my "18 key time management secrets for successful women" useful. Do you have any tips or ideas on how to make time management and achieving your goals easier and more fun?
If yes - do share them with me!
As you are unique and special, you need to adapt any routine, ideas, thoughts and tips to fit your unique lifestyle and requirements.
Time management, planning and going towards goals should not be thorny and difficult. Streamline your day as much as possible. Use printouts, meal plans and other people's ideas on how to entertain your kids. Whatever works! As long as you are happy, cheerful and smiling and on the route to achieving your most heartfelt dreams and desires.