If you’ve ever thought there aren’t enough hours in the day, you’re not alone. Both successful time managers and the most disorganized among us have the same number of hours to work with in any given day. But, ultimately, effective time management comes down to having a plan for every day and sticking to it. According to Kristin Long of Organizational Specialists, there are four simple changes anyone can make to use those waking hours wisely.
1. Commit to Goals in Writing
“So many of us are just trying to get through the day,” Long says. “Determine instead which objectives you are trying to accomplish, and write them down!”
Long suggests treating your home like a business. Any business plan has both short- and long-term goals that, when put on a timeline, create daily mini-goals that an entrepreneur must achieve to reach the larger goals. When it comes to personal endeavors, give them the same level of importance you would a business investment. Whether you want to spend more time with family, get in shape, advance your career, or finish a household project, write down your goals and commit to achieving them.
2. Plan Steps to Reach Goals
Break each target down into manageable, daily increments. If you know you want to redesign your bedroom, for example, but can’t imagine being able to paint the entire room in one day, plan to paint one wall each day until it’s done. Then move on to completing those Pinterest projects that will bring the room together; but don’t expect miracles. Expect to meet smaller goals that will get you one step closer each day to your ultimate goal.
3. Build Your Own Success System
“Managing your time is so much easier if you plan ahead,” Long advises, suggesting that a successful plan involves intentionally setting yourself up for success. “If you want to be in better shape, schedule the day and time you plan to exercise. Then, send yourself e-mail reminders, set alarms, have a friend call you, and post it on Facebook.”
Long says it’s easier to accomplish objectives if you—and others—believe you are already achieving them. All it takes is a commitment to keep appointments with yourself to work toward your goals.
4. Forgive Lapses
If your family’s evening at home gives way to screen time one day, don’t allow yourself to give up on that goal of more togetherness. Consider it a temporary setback that belongs to yesterday, and renew your resolve to make today the day you meet those goals you’ve set.
“Every day is a new chance to achieve your objectives,” Long says. “Don’t let yesterday’s disappointments keep you from seeing today’s possibilities.”
Kristin Long is the founder and CEO of Organizational Specialists, Inc., a full-range professional organizing services company based in northern Virginia and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers since 2004.