Advice Column for Time Management | Tips and techniques for time management
at home & work to enhance success & create more free time.

Self Help Time Management Advice Column


KRS EDSTROM
Advice Columnist, Radio Host,
Speaker & Author

Personal Growth Time Management Advice Columnist

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Dear KRS,
I can't fit it all in! I'm 39, have a full time job, 3 kids (4 counting my husband), 2 dogs, parents who need my help and a volunteer organization that is demanding of my time. I'm also trying to take on classes toward my MBA each quarter. Could you give me some time management tips-fast?
Need More Time 


Dear Need More Time,
Time management is not what you need. You need to apply the brakes or they will be applied for you in ways you won't like. It seems our goals in what has become "a race to the finish" have gone awry. It has become a  contest of cramming the most in. Doing it all but experiencing little. Quantity, not quality. Was it Peggy Lee who sang "Is That All There Is?"? The answer is both Yes and No. Yes-we eat, we sleep, we work, we play, we live. That's "all" there is. But No, that's not all there is in that it's how we do those things, the quality of the activity, that makes it broader, more complete experience than what is seen on the surface.

Granted, we are  victims of  high technology, faster-is-better era, but it's important we recognize we've created this (both individually and globally) ourselves. The good news is that we can stop the runaway train. There are many promising signs of awakening as people being to realize that this is not a contest or a race but an intriguing (if not always Disneyesque) ride. Our only job is to make the time to enjoy it.

I've got advice for time management, but I
shan't be detailing it here. Your first step is to make a huge effort to cut back on the activity (stop the classes for now), get domestic help, if only for one or two hours a week, and leave the volunteering for a few years down the  road. Once you  eliminate some activities and create more time, you may not need as much time management as you thought. Your kids need that time now, and so do YOU. One thing you might want to think about "cramming in" before the year ends? A wonderful, if inexpensive, vacation for you and your husband. 
KRS

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Dear KRS,
I'm a 34 year old working mom who is having trouble finding time for myself. Since I had my baby, it seems that I finish my "paycheck job" and head home to another full time job.  Since she's in daycare all day, I want to be with her as much as possible the rest of the time.  I'm not asking for two weeks in Hawaii, just a break here and there.
No Time for Myself


Dear No Time for Myself,
It may not come as a surprise to you that the average combined home/office work week for women is 75 hours compared to only 62 hours for men (a 13 hour difference!). So you're not imagining things.  You really do have a demanding schedule.  But congratulations for recognizing that you need a "balance adjustment" instead of seeing how fast you can run and for how long.   A break "here and there" can be quite powerful and is well within your reach.  It will revitalize you to feel better about yourself and to be a better mom.  I'll give you a few ideas that you can expand to suit your particular lifestyle.  Write them down with others you think of so they'll be handy on days you are too exhausted to think.

Buy special soothing music to play in your car and at home instead of listening to the news (baby will respond to it too).  Make a ritual of taking a bath each night (after your little one is firmly ensconced in the Land of Nod).  Light candles, play soft music and sip herbal tea while you visualize being on a quiet beach in Hawaii.  It'll help restore mental and physical calm along with a sense of balance. 
KRS

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Dear KRS,
How do I set a realistic time frame to work out and then stick with it?  My goals are either too high or non-existent.  
Finding Time To Exercise


Dear Finding Time,
The answer is in your question.  Be REALISTIC.  Grand goals can be quite debilitating if they are not realistic.  Realistic means that the workout fits comfortably into your schedule.  What is realistic for your best friend may not be realistic for you.  Start with a Less-is-More mentality and make up a non-ambitious but SPECIFIC workout schedule. If in a few weeks you are not sticking with it, lessen your schedule a bit more.  On the other hand, if you are sticking with it and want to do more, resist the temptation until you have a solid 2-3 months of "workout success" under your belt (and less fat) and then rethink it.  If you still feel the need, gradually increase your schedule. You may find some extra workout time by analyzing your calendar and commitments and making some changes and/or sacrifices.   The point is, if you establish a doable workout schedule, you will be more likely to stick with it.  It's sort of a Catch 22. 
An added bonus: These same "set realistic goals" skills will translate to the rest of your life as well, including your career.
 KRS

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