It seems the biggest complaint I hear from people is that they just don’t have enough time.  As a professional organizer I have learned that it is the systems and the structure that help us get things done efficiently and timely so that we don’t run out of time.  It tends to be hard to discipline ourselves (but pretty easy to set limits and consequences for others).  So if you are one of the majority out there that just doesn’t seem to have enough time, try setting up a schedule (the structure) and routine (the system) to see if -with a little self discipline- you don’t end up with more free time.

Here is how to get started:

1. Pay attention to how you are currently spending your time.

  • make a list of what you do and when you do it
  • how long does it take
  • how much time do you waste (or not use effectively)
  • are you over-committed to things that don’t add joy or benefit to your life or family

2. Make a list of goals you want or need to get done in a day or week.

  • be realistic about what needs to happen (kids have clean clothes and food…yes; learn a new skill each week…no)
  • make sure your goals include down time and family fun time – the idea is not to budget all of your time to work and productivity, but to make sure those things get done while still leaving time for what you love/want to do

3. Create a schedule of when these things will happen.

  • Use a calendar program or date book and actually make a schedule of when you are going to do your activities (For example, Monday 9 -11 Laundry, 11-12 Exercise, 12-1 Lunch, etc.)… Stick to your schedule unless it is an emergency.  Don’t let something else, like a friend calling, derail you.)
  • be strict with your schedule but be realistic with how you schedule your time
  • Don’t book too much into your schedule
  • Follow it for a month and see if it works – tweak it as you go if necessary, but give it a chance to become a good habit.

4. Create a system for doing things so it is done the same way each time (this is more efficient).

  • Laundry can be done all on one day or one family member’s clothes per day – whatever works for you.  Just be sure to complete the whole process.
  • Plan meals and make sure you only go to the store once a week or less.
  • See if you can’t take a few steps out of the way you do some things – make sure you are being efficient with your time

5. Start enjoying your free time