Kathy Goul

Kathy Goul

Too little time and too much to do is a common condition for many of us.

Everyday demands or chores seem to engulf the day, leaving little time to pursue those things you enjoy. But you do have choices about how you spend your time. Balancing what you need to do with what you want to do can lead to happiness and success.

Set Goals

Goal setting is crucial to effective time and life management. You set yourself up for failure with vague, changing or impossible goals. You must guarantee your own success by learning to construct a goal with meaningful parameters.

Your goals become more powerful when you put them into writing. The more specific, realistic, measurable and achievable your goals are, the greater your chance of reaching them. Write your goals down and refer to them often. Decisions are easier to make when you know what you want.

Take Responsibility

Once you know where you are going and how you are going to get there, take responsibility for your time. Many of us blame others for wasting our time. As long as you blame others for your time management choices, you will have little opportunity to improve your life or reach your goals.

Learn to Say No

Learning to say no, as simple as it sounds, is the most difficult aspect of time management for many of us. You must develop this skill, because without it all other time-management behaviors are of little value. The ability to say no permits you to exercise greater control over your life.

Evaluate requests

Do you have time to participate? What will you have to give up to take on this new responsibility? Will this activity get you closer to accomplishing one of your goals? Do you want to accept this request? All are important questions.

Change Your Habits

All of us develop habits that are supposed to save time, but sometimes we take the behavior too far and it becomes a detriment.

Some of us retain habits long after they serve their purpose, blow good habits out of proportion, or hold on to time-wasting habits.

Take time to evaluate your habits. Which ones save time and which ones waste it? Understand that in order to learn new habits. You have to let go of old habits.

Simplify Your Life

Most time management experts agree that, to be effective at time management, we also need to learn how to organize and de-clutter the spaces where we live and work. Studies have shown that we waste valuable time each day searching for items that get lost in the shuffle of our lives.

Begin de-cluttering your life of things you no longer need or use. Make a list of every area in your home or office that you need to tackle.

Good time management does not mean being busy all the time — it means using your time the way you want to use it — bringing with it increased relaxation, less stress and more satisfaction.

For more information on family resource management or adult development and aging, contact the Marais des Cygnes Extension District in Paola at (913) 294-4306 or Mound City at (913) 795-2829, or write to kgoul@ksu.edu or go online to www.maraisdescygnes.k-state.edu.

Source: Adapted with permission from University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

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