We all have key roles to play when it comes to protecting our own health but all self-care, self-management, and self-parenting are, is becoming aware and being able to treat and manage your own mental health and wellbeing. To begin self-care it has to be initiated by the individual who requires it by managing their self and time better.
Time is the greatest resource we have that there never seems to be enough of or it passes too quickly. It is how we measure the passage of time representing the present as being between the past and future. There is nothing we can do to slow it down or get more of it, we have as much or as little as life presently allows, so making the most of it is vital.
Time is a continuous process of progression from the past, through the present and into the future. All we can do with the time we have is to get the most out of it. There are many ways where one goes about getting the most out of their day but without time management skills, you may be setting yourself up for failure time and time again.
We all want to accomplish more, procrastinate less and free up time for non-work related activities such as family days out or personal care.
Planning is a must to get the most effective use out of your time. Self-management involves time management so planning your day the night before, writing down things you need to do the next day and the steps it takes in order to accomplish the tasks and goals you need to achieve, could be more beneficial.
Gathering any information like phone numbers, paperwork or items required so you’re prepared and less likely to forget something allows for better organisation. The best tips to improve time-management consists of delegating, planning and prioritising, setting goals to work towards or that are achievable, meet deadlines, stay organised, find your productive time and minimise stress.
Sometimes we don’t notice where we are wasting time (procrastinating) or bringing on unnecessary stress by trying to juggle or take on more than we should. Self-care is often the time that is first to go and when this happens a sluggish cycle is likely to take its place, altering your mindset to think, act or behave differently.
We can put ourselves off doing any task for many a cluster of reasons, you may not know where to start, dislike it, understand it, lack confidence in your abilities to accomplish the task or worry about the outcome. Whatever the reason avoiding it creates anxiety that is getting no one anywhere. This, in turn, has knock-on effects that better management skills could have prevented.
More often than not it is better to just tackle the more worrying or difficult task first while you have the mental and physical strength to combat any unpleasantries that may or may not arise. Sometimes the hardest job is initially starting the task but not always, sometimes determination is the driving force alone that sees you through completion.
A good tip I plan on incorporating into my day-to-day living is prioritising and planning jobs the night before so I at least have some direction the next day. I often find whilst doing the easy or more enjoyable tasks first I’m constantly reflecting on the fact I have the bigger job in the back of my mind, like a dark permanent reminder.
I’m always focusing on the task I’m avoiding for whatever reason making everything seem much more challenging than it really is, creating unnecessary stress that then requires further management to get things back under control.
By prioritising tasks to start with the most difficult, more time-consuming or least pleasant given the environment fits the task, will allow for more effective and fulfilling results. By getting the one that elicits the more energy drainage out the way first will increase your motivation for what lays ahead, making the easy tasks feel that much more manageable and satisfying.
By spending some time looking into what you need to do with your time you may find someone else could do the job more effectively by delegating. They may enjoy it more depending on the skill level for the task in question, reducing the time and energy spent managing and thinking about that task. Therefore time is freed to complete other tasks that may require more skill or attention.
When delegating you must be careful not to consistently or frequently have others complete or help with jobs that you should be doing by yourself. This can create many problems so planning, prioritising and delegating require a balance that is considered manageable for the individual, groups or any other party involved.
A goal is a measurable objective that gives us something to work towards. Goals that are too easy won’t help keep us motivated but the ones that represent a challenge that isn’t too difficult, can. Having specific goals in life creates an order which keeps us motivated and working towards something
By setting goals to improve your time-management you can get a better understanding of what you are able to achieve in a day. You become more aware of your capabilities and what goals may have been too high or low, what was achieved and what wasn’t.
When it comes to organisation have a place for everything and put everything in its place. Have what you use more often closest to you and it may be worth setting aside a little time each day for organising.
You could write to-do lists, shred paperwork you no longer need or ensuring everything is in its place. Having a calendar or day planner can help remember important dates and deadlines.
By planning the time you need and keeping a record you will be less likely to forget or find yourself in the position where you have to drop everything in order to complete the objective.
Poor management of time creates unnecessary stress leading to more problems in the future, that could have been avoided. Stress creates anxiety and worry that can become distracting.
By not managing our time this can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety over completing tasks in a timely manner. To reduce stress we first have to figure out what is causing or creating it.
Is the issue at home, work or about a task or job that needs completing because once you figure out what the stressors are, it can be managed. Now that you know what is causing the stress you need to figure out what parts can be controlled and what can’t, break it down.
There will be some stressors that you can not control so you must either try to come up with a way to exert more control or to simply ignore the issue and focus on the parts of the stressors you can control.
Unfortunately, there will be some stress you cannot control therefore focusing on reducing stress physically would be another step you could take. This entails dedicating time to self-manage oneself by getting appropriate sleep, being physically active and eating a balanced diet that is right for you.
Some tips for improving sleep are to reduce distractions, very dark, quiet, going to bed and waking up the same time every day, avoid caffeine late in the day. Before going to bed try relaxing in a warm bath, listen to soothing music, reduce worry by writing a list of things to do the next day.
A common reason for struggling with time management is because we take on to many obligations because of the feeling we can’t say no.
We do this sometimes when we have little time but want to help others, we feel guilty for saying no or have simply misjudged the time we had.
It may feel good at the time to have said yes but have you considered what the actual commitment is?
How much time, effort and energy it will take?
Is it a good use of your time?
If not you could be agreeing to something that takes much longer than first anticipated, thus creating stress, worry and anxiety unnecessarily, that could have been avoidable and manageable.
For those that struggle to say no even when they know they should there are four steps to try help counteract this problem
- offer the other person a reason for why you are declining so as not to cause confusion, or make the other person think you are just being selfish or lazy
- Be tactful so as not to cause any hurt or anger.
- You could suggest an alternative that takes less time, creating another option.
- Say no as soon as possible, don’t take time to think that may create more problems if you know you are going to probably have to say no.
I studied ways of improving time management a few years back and thought I’d share my refresher course for those that may find it of use. I struggle with my executive function skills when I lack consistency, concentration, and focus.
I need to pay more acute attention in these areas because the way I am managing my time at the moment isn’t very beneficial all round. As I continue to work on my self-management things should improve becoming much more manageable.