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Importance of Tracking Time

At the end of the day, you’re tired but you wonder what you really accomplished. Your “to do” list is largely untouched.

Or you start on a project – planning a party or writing a blog. You want to do a little research. Before you know it three or four hours have passed, and you have not really started your project.

Both examples are where tracking your time can be very valuable.

I have worked with clients who want my help prioritizing and scheduling projects. They have tried this on their own and failed. I hear comments like, “I am a stay-at-home mom. I don’t understand why I can’t get through my project list.”

Let’s look at the above example and what we found when she started tracking her time. At first, I just had her write out what she did during a normal day.

She started her day early and fixed her breakfast and laid out breakfast items for her family. She walked the dogs. She drove one of her daughters to and from school and to events. She did volunteer work. She took her mother to doctor appointments and to any errands she wanted to run. She prepared lunches and supper. She would like to find time to work out or do yoga. She felt it was important to end her day after supper so that she could have quality family time. She can’t understand why she can’t find time to refinish the floor in the basement.

Then I had her lay out her week in half hour time blocks. I had her plot out her upcoming week as she knew it then and plug in her commitments. I pointed out that some of her commitments overlapped and she only had a couple of half hour blocks of time here and there that were free of a commitment. No one could take on another project with that schedule.

Just seeing on paper what her day looked like, she felt better. She knew that she was not being lazy.

We next talked about priorities and boundaries. She felt her main job was to care for her family and said “yes” to anything they asked. Everyone in her family was used to her agreeing to do anything they asked. She had allowed that to happen.

The family members were just doing what they always had done but now with two children in middle school and one in high school and a mother who had recently moved nearby and needed more assistance the total amount of time that was needed to meet their needs had greatly increased.

We talked about her sitting down with family members and showing them her 30-minute calendar blocks. She could ask her mother to schedule, when possible, all her doctor appointments and errands on one day of the week so things could be coordinated. She could look at car-pooling with some other moms for the one child who needed transportation to school and events. Perhaps even her husband could manage some of the evening events. A family calendar could be posted where everyone puts up what obligations they are committed to attend.

This is just a start. We also talked about how important it was for her to have some time for herself to either exercise or mediate or both.

And that basement floor could be hired out.

Knowing how you spend your time each day helps you to know exactly what you are doing and evaluate what is important to you. Use your time wisely. Taking breaks and looking out for yourself is all part of good time management. Savor your free time – don’t squander it.

If you want help or just some accountability in setting up or working on a time management or other organizational plan join Diane Quintana and me on our Clear Space For You clutter support group.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing and virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.

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