Time management power tips
By Donna Peters-Imbrogno
Running a business is far from easy. Combining the demands of managing staff, payroll and your daily interaction with family can be overwhelming. Even if you don’t own a company or manage a business, your job combined with children of any age, parents and or our four-legged friends can be exhausting.
It is time to up your game to get everything done so that you can “stop and smell” the roses. In other words, it’s time to enjoy your life. This is “stop and smell” advice from a mom, employee, wife, sister, aunt, daughter of aging parents, friend and dog mom who manages to enjoy more than the occasional glass of wine while smelling the roses.
S – SIMPLIFY
Streamline and simplify your life wherever possible. Little things make a difference, like signing up for automatic bill payments to reduce the hassle of constantly paying bills. Or take financial management to the next level and try Quicken (a personal and business finance management application) that allows you to see all your bills in one place. With either system you never will miss a due date and never have to look for stamps again. Don’t underestimate how automation and technology can help you save time.
T – TRUST
Part of simplifying your busy life comes down to trust. Most people can delegate many more tasks than they realize, and some opportunities might be right under your nose. For example, if a grandparent offers to pick up a child, or a friend offers to run an errand for you, say yes. If your budget can afford it, combine “simplify” and “trust” and hire extra help, whether in the form of a nanny, elderly caregiver or dog walker. Pro tip: Virtual assistants can take care of many tasks at a reasonable cost.
O – ORGANIZE
Getting and staying organized is vital for a busy life. A digital or paper calendar system is a must, especially if you have been late to meetings or have left your children at the ballpark because you forgot to pick them up. A shared calendar with your spouse or significant other is also helpful so they can never claim to not know plans, and it will prevent double-booking. (Sound familiar?)
P – PREPARE
Preparation = planning. This can be as simple as making meals in bulk on a Sunday and freezing them for when they are needed or cutting veggies in bulk to have healthy snacks on hand to grab when time is short. Being prepared does not stop with meals and snacks. Using that calendar helps you to plan logistically and sequentially. For example, if the grocery store is on the way home from the retirement home and you need to pick up tomorrow’s lunch and visit your 90-year-old father, planning helps you combine the two tasks into one trip. Bonus: You will save time and gas.
S – STRATEGIZE
Strategizing will use time to your best advantage and help you to plan your course of action. For example, strategies include not procrastinating or wasting time worrying about things you can’t control. Strategic thinking will help you break a problem down into small parts so that you are not overwhelmed by the enormity of something you have to do. It is how you eat an elephant – one bite at a time.
M – MULTITASK
When possible, multitask when doing things or chores that do not require that high level of focus. Some easy multi-tasking ideas: Walk your dog briskly while listening to an audiobook or podcast. Drop the kids at their sporting event and then run an errand, work out while waiting for them, or return five emails from the bleachers. It helps you get things done and saves the calories you’d consume eating while watching the game.
E – EFFICIENT
Efficiency can take many forms, and the lowest hanging fruit to simplifying your life is shopping online when possible. Grocery delivery services are time savers, and meal delivery services can save prepping and shopping time. Efficiency Pro Tip: Touch something once then follow the TRAF rule of “Trash, Read, Action or File.” I keep a box in the corner of my den where I put objects that I want to lend, return or give away.
L – LISTS
Do not underestimate the power of lists. They help organize your thoughts, keep track of needed items and prioritize things for that action plan. You can enter them on your phone so they are always in hand’s reach and not easily lost or a paper version can be helpful. It is surprisingly rewarding to check off a task when complete. I even keep a list of shows that I want to watch or books I want to read. This saves hours of scrolling time on Netflix.
L – LIVE LIFE
Time is precious, so we have to get things done fast to enjoy life. We also have to take care of ourselves, as getting ill or being too tired will not help us get things done or help us create time for enjoyment. Book that manicure over the lunch hour at the same time as your friend to catch up. Exercise or run errands with a friend to make both more enjoyable. Keep an eye out for creative time-saving opportunities – like my friend who has their car detailed at their golf course.
I hope these tips allow you to stop and smell the roses and carve out that much-needed time for date night or to simply chill (a glass of wine is optional).
Donna Peters studied Finance and Economics at Western University and later obtained her CFA. She joined the fixed-income Portfolio Management team at a prominent Canadian life insurance company following her graduation from university and has remained there since. She currently lives in Toronto with a loving husband, two teenage sons and an adorable poodle.