Instead of spending this week after Christmas fretting over how you’ll celebrate New Year’s Eve, why not plan for a better new year? What would you like to improve in your life? How about gaining more time that’s better managed? Sounds like a plan! Here are a few ideas…
Christmas vacation is a great time to relax and see family…but try to carve out some alone time to think about how you would like to spend your time in the new year. One of the biggest enemies of good time management is poor planning.
Some “well-timed” habits you might want to try…
Wake up an hour earlier every day. The most productive time of day for most people is early in the morning, when they are least distracted and most motivated. If you have a creative project you would like to tackle in the new year (starting a business, writing a book…), try to get up an hour earlier than usual to nibble away at it, every day. Once this creative focus is out of the way, you can glide through the day (or try to, at least) without your top to-do nagging at you.
Commit to spending an hour at work outside normal business hours. Want to make your job easier? Go in one hour early, or stay one hour later, once a week. This gives you freedom to concentrate away from phone calls, meetings and emergencies. Spend some of this extra time organizing and prioritizing: Clean up files and paperwork. Create schedules. Write down your three most important priorities. Then set deadlines for each of them, and create a manageable to-do list that prioritizes the tasks. You will spend your regular workweek working, rather than trying to gain control.
Cook a week’s worth of dinners twice a week. Even if you love to cook, planning and prepping the daily main meal every day can be time-consuming! Pick a late afternoon, early evening, in your week that’s least busy for you—like a Sunday afternoon. Prepare two meals, making sure that both reheat well and one is large enough for leftovers (like chili). Eat part of the big meal on Sunday, the other meal on Monday, the leftovers from the big meal on Tuesday, and you won’t have to cook or do takeout till Wednesday. Do this twice a week, and the rest of your dinnertimes will be a breeze (if you do that take-out thing once a week). What will you do with all the extra time?
Thanks to Stephanie Winston, time-management consultant and author of The Organized Executive: A Program for Productivity for help with these tips.