Each day gives us the opportunity to use our time in a variety of ways. I just enjoyed a wonderful long weekend that included plenty of time to relax and hang out with family and friends. It was a good combination of planned and unplanned time. Even though every day isn't like a long weekend, we can integrate certain concepts to regularly give us a more balanced mix.
Looking at one of my typical days, I noticed that it was divided into eight segments. These groups represent how the time might be used during a given day. If you are feeling overworked and time poor, try integrating some of these ideas into your day. It might result in a more comfortable balance.
8 W's of Time Management . . .
Wake. ready for the day sets the tone for the hours that follow. Review your morning routine. Do you give yourself enough time to prepare for your day? Instead, are you rushing and stressed from the moment you wake? What can you do to improve your start? I like to shower first thing. The water is refreshing and helps me wake up, as I wash the sleepiness away. After getting dressed, I make time to enjoy my morning cup of coffee and a small breakfast.
Work. The work begins. Do you feel ready to start? Have you looked at your calendar the night before so that you know where you need to be and when? Have you planned for travel time? Most mornings, I wake early enough to have some desk time before leaving for my clients'. I use that time to catch up on emails, work on social media, papers or calls. Then I leave to work with my clients.
Waffle. You don't have to eat a waffle, but eat something. Working takes energy. It's important to take a break and nourish yourself during the day. It can be tempting to eat on the run. I have been guilty of that and have eaten sandwiches while driving. That's not good for digestion or the other drivers on the road. Sitting and relaxing while you eat is beneficial and safer. Most likely, you’ll want to repeat the Waffle segment around dinnertime.
Walk. Since much of the work I do is indoors, it's essential to get some sunshine and fresh air. Especially now with the gorgeous, spring weather, I love taking walks. It's even nicer when walking with my family or friends. Not only is it great exercise, but also I get to reconnect with the people I love.
Wiggle. Add the toe-wiggling factor into your day. What do I mean by that? What makes you so joyful that your toes wiggle in delight? It's different for all of us. For me, a simple cup of blueberry or grapefruit sorbet from our local ice cream shop, The Blue Pig, is enough to bring on the wiggle. I'm not suggesting that you eat ice cream every day. The idea is to incorporate simple things that bring you pleasure.
Write. Writing has become a regular part of my days between blogging, authoring The Other Side of Organized, emailing, social media-ing and journaling. Using this way to reflect enriches my daily experience. Sometimes my writing is just a sentence fragment containing a seed idea. Other days, an idea develops into a full-blown blog post. Writing in different locations is inspiring too. One of my favorite places to write is at the Hudson River. If you don't enjoy writing, consider recording your thoughts or taking a reflection break where you don’t record, but just think about your day.
Wrap-Up. Days are full. Before finishing, take time for preparation and closure. Preparation might include reviewing tomorrow's schedule, clearing your desk, gathering items you'll need the next day or selecting your clothes. I have a pull down desk. I know I've finished my wrap-up when I clear the surface, turn off the light and close the desk. It's my "done for the day" signal. How do you know when you’re done?
Wish. Your day is nearing the end. Give yourself time to relax, dream and restore. Perhaps you like reading in bed, watching a movie or laying down and doing nothing. Sleeping and dreaming will replenish your energy and get you ready for tomorrow. Each new day brings another chance to design the day with your combination of W's.
Which W’s resonate with you? Are there other W’s you’d like to include?