If we do not become a master of our time, our time will master us.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same several hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”  ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

We are given the same 24 hours in a day, but it is up to you how you tackle it. We have all heard this before, but it is a critical lesson to revisit again to develop a mastery attitude. If we do not become a master of our time, our time will master us. What does your schedule look like today? Tomorrow? Is it too overwhelming to even think about? You are not alone.

Here are some tips to help you manage your time:

  • Pick one day out of the week to forecast how the rest of your week will play out. Use your smartphone, desk/wall calendar, sticky notes–whatever it takes to plan out how each day should start and finish. Allow yourself some leeway in between your responsibilities to live life! Schedule yourself what needs to get done and allow the gaps of “nothingness” to stay open for when appointments gets shifted around.
  • For every project I start, I turn on my apps Stone Hill Time Card and Focus Bar. If you have not tried using these free apps, I highly recommend you try them! When I do similar projects for different clients on the same platforms, I notice my brain stays focused for the first hour and then starts to wonder. As soon as my mind starts to wonder off task, it is hard to get it back on track. Do you know what I mean? These apps gently remind you, what task you should be focusing on and shows you how long you have worked on it. Clocking my project time used to intimidate me, but overtime I have used the graphs SHTC generates as a guide on where I need to improve.
  • Set a bedtime for yourself. (I’m serious about this one.) How many of us count the number of hours of sleep we will get if we go to bed at this hour? I have a friend who turns off all her electronic devices about an hour before her bedtime, dims the lights about 30 minutes before, and falls into bed right when she is suppose to. I admire her discipline, but it does not always work out that way for me. It is enough to say, by 9pm slow down. Ween yourself off the computer and put your cell on airplane mode for the night to start focusing on rest for the night.
  • Mornings come early enough as it is without a good night’s sleep, but to get up the same time every day trains your body to listen. Start listening to your body from the night before. Did you stay up too late working on a project? Do you need more coffee to stay awake? Sleep tracking apps like Sleep On It and others can be quite helpful by taking the guess-work out of knowing how much sleep your body actually needs. By going to bed early enough to get up and start the day, I have had some of the most productive days imaginable!
  • Exercise. Schedule yourself some time to burn off the day by scorching calories. I’m not asking you to train for a marathon every time you work out, but an activity that gets your heart rate up for 15 minutes or more. Do it at least three times a week. I remember telling myself I was too tired and far too busy to work out, but squeezed in time anyway. I have been known to put dinner in the oven for 45 minutes, lace up my shoes, and head out to power walk around my neighborhood. After my workout, I would come back in time for dinner. Find time for exercise–there’s no good reason not to.
  • Meditate. Pray. Relax. Repeat. When we can find our center in the midst of a chaotic week, we have balance in knowing what we can and cannot do. By keeping your mind, body, spirit, and soul balanced overlays into your professional life in a subtle way to give you a competitive edge. The next time you feel overworked and exhausted, take a few deep breaths to regain your center. Keeping yourself in control of what you can and allow the rest to work itself out when you are back to 100%.
  • Did you finish your project earlier than expected? Did you make the deadline? Reward yourself! Small victories lead to bigger accomplishments. To be your own motivator is not always easy, but sometimes you are the only one who can motivate you exactly the way you need to be motivated.
  • Have a “me” day. On this day, I avoid looking at any electronic devices and enjoy the day for what it is–a “me” day. This is your chance to do the things you could not get to during the week that required your undivided attention. Is it cooking a home cooked meal? Is it exercising or spending time with a loved one? Whatever it may be, go out and do it without a second thought and allow yourself to recharge.

How are you managing your time?

“Cleaning is like pulling off a band-aid. Once you start, there’s no turning back!” -RLT

I couldn’t find a quote that fit what I wanted to write about, so I made my own. Do you ever do that? Quotes encourage my mind to put action into what is being said. I repeat, “Cleaning is like pulling off a band-aid. Once you start, there’s not turning back.” If you’re honest with yourself, you know I am right.

I had some “free” time, which doesn’t happen very often and decided to tackle my room. I am the most organized person you will ever meet … outside my bedroom. I live in my bedroom to sleep, change, get ready, and head out the door. When you a college senior, part time employee and an intern, you aren’t always home to have a ‘home life.’ Today,  I did three loads of laundry and have walking space on my floor again to walk from my desk to my dresser. (I should have censored the details, but I want to be transparent about this because it’s something not many people openly discuss.) I remember I was given advice on to “maintain” your surroundings by doing a little each day to prevent what I just did– a two-hour cleaning session. I used to give the excuse that I didn’t have time each day to “maintain” it the way it looks, but I would by lying. I simply choose to do other things.

Here’s what has helped me

Action Plan:  When the dryer stops drying my last load of laundry, I will immediately fold it and walk it over to my room. Do I wait to put it away? If I did that like last time, I would have a pile of folded clothes and nothing put away. This time, like the previous two loads of laundry, I hang up what needs to be hung up and put the rest in its proper drawer. Now, I have bed and floor space with no clothes lingering around. It’s a good feeling!

Motivation during the clean:  When you clean in an all day affair, or a few minutes each day try to stay motivated. It’s hard, so I suggest playing some music. I pressed “play” on iTunes and get to work. A song is about two minutes times 10 songs is 20 minutes you continued to clean your room. That’s a huge accomplishment! When you press through the barrier of the initial start of cleaning, it’s easier to continue with it.

Divide and conquer:  I have to give credit to my mom on this tip because it’s what she has given me all my life. When I gave her the excuse, “I have so much stuff I don’t know where to begin…” she would help me divide and conquer. (Let me explain further.) When I look at my room, I have a few areas that can be divided. I have two dressers, bookshelf, desk area, mini-fridge, storage container (mostly beauty and shower goods), a cabinet where I hang clothes up and what’s on top of this cabinet (candle, movie, and pen-pal storage boxes). It sounds like a lot, but my room is not that big so it can be overwhelming. My mom’s suggestion was to pick one area or two (depending on my time frame I had) and tackle just those areas I picked out. If I organize the cabinet where I hang up my clothes and what’s on top, I only clean and organize that area. Period. It’s easy to get sidetracked and see other areas to clean, but this is where cleaning starts to consume you and the battle feels like it never ends. Take a stand and commit to those areas and plan another time to come back to the others. In a few cleaning days, the entire room will be taken care of over time. This is a tried-and-true method for me, and that’s coming from a perfectionist who doesn’t like leaving projects unfinished.

Reward yourself:  Every time I clean my room, I feel better about myself and the job I did. By rewarding myself with burning a candle when my room is clean, I feel good and the feeling stays with me longer. I know it is unsafe to burn a candle in a messy room because something might fall on it and be a hazard than a haven.  Rewarding myself helps motivate me to keep my action plan together, so I can keep burning candles in a clean environment.