Time management: Establishing the basics

Benefit from time management by understanding and engaging in its three most basic components.

Time management is about getting your time, space and life in control.
Time management is about getting your time, space and life in control.

Michigan State University Extension educators recognize time management as one of the most valuable processes people can benefit from; it is made up of three different components. The first component of time management involves organizing your time: you will need a planner, calendar or notebook so you are able to write things down. The more complicated your life becomes with your appointments, spouse’s appointments and your child/children’s appointments, the more difficult it will become to remember things. Get in the habit of writing it down! Make a “to do” list and keep it in the same place your family calendar is. Cross things off as you do them. This will also give you a sense of accomplishment. Try not to put more than five “to do’s” per day. Be realistic with your list!

The second component of time management involves setting priorities: decide which item on the list is the most important for that particular day – it becomes your number one priority of the day. It doesn’t matter when you get it done as long as you get all or part of it done. When you get the most important thing done, then it’s time to focus on the next most important item on your list. When you are a parent, tasks and goals tend to be prioritized differently and may take longer than pre-children days!

The third component of time management is organizing space: clutter can be a huge time waster and can make you irritable. Too many toys, clothes, electronics, magazines and the like can be overwhelming. For instance, if a child is trying to find a specific toy and she has to sift through many toys in many different places, the child may feel frustrated and precious time will have been lost. The same goes for parents. Try to minimize what you have to a point where you feel in control of your home and your space. Creating a play area for children that allows organization can be helpful. Teach your children where everything goes so that when asked to clean up, they have a general idea of where to put things.

Time management is about getting your time, space and life in control. You have to do the “to do’s” before you can do the “want to’s!”

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