*The information in this blog is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Jasmine Eddy, AMFT is not establishing a therapeutic relationship with readers and this information is not a substitute for a relationship with a licensed psychotherapist*
There’s so much talk about creating better work-life balance and mastering time management can be a vital piece of the puzzle. For many of us, structuring our time efficiently leads to making more space for all the things that matter. We’ll take a look at how better time management can support you and discuss a way you can create a time management system that works for you.
Benefits of Time Management
Developing a solid time management strategy can be helpful for increasing productivity, improving organization, and managing stress. Many people find the value in getting more things done in a way that takes less effort and decreases the effects of burnout. Planning out your day can also support you in living your day-to-day life as you choose. While there are many obligations that fill up our daily schedules, we can harness our pockets of free time for activities that support our emotional and physical wellbeing.
How Time Management Leads to Better Work-Life Balance
Practicing time management skills is often an exercise in setting boundaries. It’s something that many of us find difficult to do but is an important part of creating a healthy work-life balance. As stated earlier, free time is typically a luxury. There’s limited time to do all things for all people. You may need to renegotiate how and when you can show up for others. When you consciously prioritize self-care and other activities that matter to you, it can be a complete game-changer. All areas of our lives benefit when we give from a more resourced place. We have what we need to show up as better students, partners, parents, workers, and citizens.
How to improve time management for better work-life balance
So, how do you improve your time management skills for a better work-life balance? I suggest starting with taking inventory of your life. Take note of how you spend your week. What are your work hours and where do you fit in your other responsibilities? When do you have free time and how are you spending it? Do you have more energy in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Over the course of a week, which days are you experiencing high energy versus low energy? This process can help you find patterns in the flow of your life. From there, you can see what’s working well and what could benefit from some adjustments.
Once you’ve got an idea of your current weekly flow, map out your non-flexible obligations like work, school, or family obligations. Take a minute to ponder if any of these could possibly be changed, especially if it makes your life easier. For instance, would a slight (or drastic) change to your work schedule be possible? If you feel comfortable discussing that with your supervisor, you may be able to make that adjustment happen. Then, if you haven’t already, budget in time for self-care and personal hobbies. I encourage people to set aside at least 20-30 minutes daily to do something that they find restorative. That could be a nap, reading a book, watching tv, working out, or making art. Whatever works for you, please make time to do it. Finally, see what space is left for the tasks and activities that you feel like you should do or want to do. These could be things that are not obligatory and are not specifically for your wellbeing. If there’s limited time, you might have to prioritize the activities and some may not make the cut. As space becomes available on your schedule, feel free to add the other tasks.
Next, you’ll need a planning system. Typically the options are paper planners and digital planners. Some people stick with one or the other, but using a combination of the two is also common. Personally, I use the calendar associated with my work email account for work and business-related appointments. I use my paper planner for special events or appointments and to organize my daily tasks and projects. It may take some time to find a system that works for you. I’d recommend trying out a schedule or planning setup and reviewing it weekly for a little while. This will give you the opportunity to fine-tune your system. Then, once you’ve gotten the hang of it and feel comfortable with your system, consider reviewing it on a monthly basis.
There are tons of wonderful paper planners out there as well as computer-based planner apps. I’m not an affiliate for any company and I don’t gain proceeds from referrals. I am just truly a fan of Passion Planner and would recommend this planner for those of you who want some extra support around goal setting and life design. Whatever system you choose, I hope it’s one that complements your life.
Would you like some support around your motivation blocks? Consider working with a licensed professional. If you’re a California resident, I’d be glad to work with you. Feel free to contact me for a free 20-minute consultation to see if we’re a good fit.