Make Time for the Good Stuff this Summer

By Amy Tokos

Summer is the time to slow down, right? It goes too fast and as mentioned in an earlier post, if you don’t make a plan on how you want to spend it and who you want to spend it with, you’ll blink and it’s gone.

Slowing down in our world isn’t easy. It seems that everyone is more than busy with work, home responsibilities, kid activities, and so forth that there doesn’t feel like there’s time to relax, read, enjoy your hobby or just some quiet.

We want to let you in on a little secret: We all have the same amount of time in a day and it’s up to you how you want to spend it. It’s amazing what the power of a plan can do to shaping up your day. Of course, you can’t control every second or every aspect of your day, but you have better chances when you start with a plan.

If you are struggling to slow down the pace of your life or finding time to do things you enjoy, here are a few steps you can take TODAY to change.

1. Know your priorities. Not everything in your life can be a priority so you have to carefully spell out what is. Taking a few minutes to write them down and keep them in a visible place by your calendar or to-do list can change how you schedule your days. For example, if you write “reading with my daughter” as a priority, then you can start to build your day around that particular priority instead of filling your day and trying to squeeze that in later.
2. Schedule it. Block out time for your priorities. One easy way to do this is to schedule time on your calendar for priority activities at the beginning of the month. Visiting an older relative may be a priority, but something you struggle to do week after week. Find time on your monthly calendar and schedule it. Maybe you want more time to spend with your family on the weekend. Literally, block out a chunk of time so that you aren’t tempted to fill it with appointments and to-dos.
3. Take it with you. Many people struggle with finding time for the activities they enjoy, maybe reading, knitting, writing, etc. Consider keeping the necessary tools in a bag and take it with you wherever you go. Now when you show up early for an appointment or decide to stick around at your son’s practice, you’ll be able to spend extra time on something you enjoy.
4. Combine priorities. The more you put priorities on your calendar, the more you”ll see opportunities to combine priorities. For example, spending time with a friend is a priority and exercising is a priority. Why not agree to go walking together?
5. Write down what is on your mind. It doesn’t hurt to have a master to-do list by your calendar too. As you plan the month and/or week, you can consolidate and tackle similar items. The key is to add these items last, after you’ve scheduled your priorities.
6. Remove distractions. Computers and phones can steal precious time if you let it. It is very easy to stop what you are doing to “quickly” check e-mail or Facebook, but you usually end up being on the computer for much longer than you think. It might help to set a time to address e-mails and to do my networking sites. A good rule of thumb is once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

About the Author:  Amy Tokos, CPO® , has been a NAPO member since 2008, is the owner of Freshly Organized in Omaha, NE and currently serves and teh NAPO Marketing Committee Chair.

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