How to Manage Time Well

My awesome mentor Clare McAlaney who is a bestselling author and publisher at Creatavision, has shown me a simple yet effective exercise for managing time. I have this problem where I love to help people and get distracted easily. I end up spreading myself too thin. I have mentioned before I use the time I have each day to work towards my goals, which for this year include: raising $20,000 for a World Vision Child Rescue Centre in Cambodia and visiting the centre, teaching my toddler Elijah all of his letters, guiding my three older kids with their cottage industries, and saving a deposit for an investment property. I’ve stopped splashing little bits of light here and there, and am focusing my time towards specific goals like an unstoppable laser!

Singing at The Ellington with talented and stunning musos Tracey Barnett and Madi Henry!

Clare told me to draw a ‘time bank’ table. I drew a table with 24 rows which represented the hours in a day. I did one for weekdays and one for weekends. I filled it in with my current activities. What I found was that I had two spare hours at the end of each day, and that I was spending time doing things that weren’t going to help me achieve my goals for this year. I loved everything I was doing but just had to let some things go. I was leading a group of 30 amazing volunteers for an organisation I love, and was also on a committee that I loved, but it was taking up more than one day per week. I was sad about quitting, but am now so relieved that I will have a whole extra day per week to work towards my goals.

My priority is to look after my family well. As I wake up each day, I come up with five business priority tasks that I’d like to achieve that day. I write them down in the notes on my phone, e.g. 1. Invoicing 2.networking meeting 3.uploading tracks to iTunes 4.thank you gifts to people who have referred me 5. Write this blog ;) I spend most mornings doing housekeeping, preparing meals, etc. and my toddler plays alongside me and I just enjoy his cuteness! Then he has quiet time after lunch and watches a DVD (I’m loving the educational Dora DVDs from the library that teach kids their colours, shapes, etc.) and this is when I get my five business things done for the day. This is my last year of having a toddler at home and he will be in kindy next year! So I’ll have an extra 20 hours per fortnight next year! Then the following year he will be in full time school so I’ll have an extra 30 hours per week during the day! I can always make more money later but I’ll NEVER get this time back again and I don’t want to wish it away and regret it.

If an opportunity comes up that doesn’t align with my goals, I say no thanks. If it aligns with my goals, I say yes. I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, in control of my time and finances, and have a deep sense of peace and happiness that things are going well. So I highly recommend the time bank exercise. I also drew one up for my hubby who was considering taking up an additional volunteer role (he’s already a volunteer fire fighter) but after the time bank exercise he realised this was not the right time to be taking something else on! One day our kids will move out and we’ll have all the time in the world. But right now, we’re going to see this season for what it is, a fleeting moment that isn’t going to last, and we’ll deeply miss it once it’s gone.

It’s not all about work all the time. Yesterday I had a day off where I didn’t rush anything, had a nap while Elijah had quiet time, took the kids to a free water playground after school and got some take away for dinner. It was relaxing and I feel energised and ready for my five gigs this weekend! You only get to live once so live your life the way you want to! How does your time bank look?