Time Management. Mastering the Art of Scheduling. Balancing it all. Today’s blog could have so many titles. What time management boils down to is how to effectively accomplish everything that needs to be completed. Everyone faces not having enough hours in the day to balance it all at some point.
There are a number of traditional strategies available to make time management happen. Diligent scheduling, avoid overcommitting, or set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier each day. These strategies have value, yet often fail to make a difference in accomplishing our ability to manage time. WHY?
First things first:
Managing time must begin with an assessment of what matters most in your life. These activities need to be given center stage. All other peripheral activities need to work around the main event(s). The problem is that the peripheral activities are often the most time consuming and quickly get out of control. I work FT+, so for me, the peripherals include things like laundry, picking up toys, meal times, and keeping the kitchen (our hub of daily life) clean.
In recent weeks I have been adding more responsibilities to my life’s agenda. This has created the need to become more efficient. I had a rash of late nights and early mornings before I realized I was doing something wrong. So I paused. First, I second guessed myself for taking on the extra activities. I ultimately concluded there was nothing I wanted to give up. So, I evaluated what matters most to me and decided. Experience is more important than things.
The motivation to eliminate “things” from my life so as to make way for experience brought my time management skills to a whole new level of understanding. Eliminating things is still a work in progress, but now I have a strategy. Here is an example of how I’m managing time by decluttering.
The kitchen. It’s the heart of our home and sees continuous mess. I am constantly wiping down countertops, filling the dishwasher, and vacuuming the floor. Kids! I did a quick analysis of what “things” I could eliminate so as to improve my time spent in the kitchen. I started with the most egregiously cluttered space- under the sink.
There were 46 items precariously placed underneath. Some of the highlights:
- Watering can
- Lighter fluid
- Empty can of disinfectant
- Single use fire extinguisher (aren’t those supposed to be kept away from the stove so it’s actually accessible when needed?)
- Bubbles (why wouldn’t they be next to the lighter fluid? Totally safe!)
- Spray Paint
- Mosquito repellant (do not grab the wrong aerosol can in our house)
This clutter led to no room for other frequently used items on the counter to be stored…which led to excess items taking up space on the counter…which left little room for the dishes…which meant the dishwasher always had to be empty…)
In the course of 45 minutes I was able to declutter down to only 8 items!
Now only things that are actually useful are located under the sink. All other items were either moved to a safer or more appropriate location, or will be going to the hazardous waste drop off.
This small victory inspires me to complete more decluttering projects. The goal is to reduce things in my life so I have maximum time for experiences. I want to be nimble and free. As a bonus, I discovered cleaning supplies under my sink that will delay a trip to the store for products I thought I’d run out of. I have legitimately added time into my day by virtue of decluttering. Wiping down my countertop is a breeze now too because items are tucked away.
Thank you to Heidi from Avant Synergy for the many motivating conversations around Process Improvement concepts, decluttering, and time management. Thank you to Erin from The Organized Life for posting weekly inspirations and organizing projects. I’ve been so motivated to decrease clutter and increase my long-term available time.
Small victories, big results.
-Angela, Operations Manager
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