Summary

Make your busy schedule more manageable with these time management tips.

Life is demanding. And with varying levels from survival mode to success, work, relationships, family life, and even self-care take time and intentionality. Time management strategies are one tool to help get it all done (or most of it done) without getting too stressed out. Here are some specific ways to better manage your time.

Time Management Tip #1: Do Less

Got a lot on your plate? It may be because every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you don’t say ‘no’ to something else. That math simply doesn’t work. Your plate will overflow. You will burn out. The first time management skill to practice is this: do less. Here are a few ways to get there:

Say No

This one’s for all the people-pleasers, perfectionists, and pushovers. The first step toward better time management is to accept that your time and energy are limited. Then, act accordingly. 

Start by keeping a list of everything you do in a day or over the course of a week. It’s probably a lot more than you think! Also, take note of how your energy ebbs and flows as you complete tasks. Which duties energize you and add meaning to your life? Over time, a pattern of what deserves your ‘yes’ and what needs your ‘no’ will emerge. 

When it comes to actually saying ‘no,’ ease in. Next time something is asked of you, wait. Don’t feel obligated to answer right away. And when you do say ‘no,’ you can do it nicely.

And if you have a friend of coworker who is taking on too much, help them by letting them know that it's okay to say "no". Or talk with their partner at home or manager at work to let them know that this person needs a break.

Outsource Tasks

If it’s in your budget and the services are available in your area, outsource the stuff you’d rather not do. Dread grocery shopping? Get it delivered. Hate cleaning? Hire a housekeeper. Can’t stand ironing work attire? Get a laundry service. Detest yard work? Let a landscaping company take care of it.

No time to prepare dinner? Let Thistle do the cooking for you. Eat our delicious and nutritious meals cold, or simply heat them up. And if you have a little bit more time or want to inject some variety, try some Thistle meal hacks: 4 ways to make a meal for 2 and these tips and tricks

Good human tip: For any task you do outsource, pay well and tip well. Just as your time is valuable and a challenge to manage, so is everyone else’s. Generous pay is the best way to show your appreciation for good service and the time saved.

Share the Load

Here’s a budget-friendly and straightforward way to do less: help each other out. That could be as simple as starting a carpool group to shuttle kids to school and other activities. Imagine playing chauffeur just a few days per week instead of every day! Don’t stop there: tag-team childcare with a neighbor, meal swap with a coworker, ask a friend to help you move, and so on. 

Bartering is another way to practice the time management skill of sharing the load. Are you an excellent cook with a brown thumb? Trade some home-cooked meals for yard work. Tech-savvy but not handy at all? When you help a friend update their business website, they can install some light fixtures for you.

Time Management Tip #2: Do It More Efficiently

For those tasks that bring you joy or simply must be done, seek ways to do them more efficiently. 

Don’t Multitask

Focusing on one task at a time is the new multitasking. Once touted as a strength, multitasking is now known to be a time management train wreck. In the case of texting and driving, perhaps even quite literally! Multitasking slows down productivity and makes you more error-prone. Just say no.

Plan Strategically

Yeah, this may sound like corporate-speak, but hear us out. Planning skills and time management skills are practically one-in-the-same. Instead of day-by-day planning, consider the whole week, the next month, the entire year, and even your entire life. Strategically plan now to save time later and to make sure you’re consistently focusing on tasks and activities that actually align with your values.

Meal Plan & Meal Prep

One of the most practical time management tools is meal planning. And we’re just a little bit passionate about it here at Thistle. To get more efficient in the kitchen and waste less food, start by crafting a solid meal plan each week. Mix in a meal prep day and you’ll see an even bigger increase in the time saved. The same goes for money saved and enhanced wellness -- by meal planning and meal prepping, unhealthy takeout won’t feel as tempting.

Time Management Tip #3: Take Control of Tech

We have a “wag the dog” relationship with screens and technology. What ought to be a time management tool and amazing efficiency gain often ends up being a time suck that rules our lives. Rather than letting it run the show and endlessly distract you, take control of tech and use it to improve time management skills.

Detach From Your Phone

Smartphones are useful and entertaining...to a point. To keep your phone and other screens from becoming a time suck instead of a time management tool:

  • Turn off most notifications
  • Uninstall apps that wreck your productivity
  • Install an app that blocks your access to distracting websites
  • Install apps that limit your overall amount of screen time. Some require you to ask an authorized person for extra time before it’s given to you. How’s that for accountability?
  • Leave your phone in another room when doing chores or working on a project
  • Put your phone away when talking to coworkers, family, and friends. Give your full attention to the person in front of you. You won’t miss important details and you’ll rarely have to ask someone to repeat themselves. Time saved and relationships strengthened!

Make a Message Schedule 

Instead of treating it as a mindless distraction, imagine checking your email, texts, Slack, and other messaging platforms only once or twice a day. Close all other tabs in your browser, then take 30 minutes to focus solely on reading and responding to messages. Schedule it. Stop when the time is up. Return to it only during the next scheduled time.

While we’re on the subject: be a good emailer! Value other people’s time management needs. Keep messages short and break your text into manageable chunks. Bold or highlight what’s most important. And when appropriate, ditch the email, video call, or messaging app altogether and…wait for it...pick up the phone. Sometimes a two-minute phone call will save you the time suck of 15 back-and-forth emails.

Hack Your Family Calendar 

Create a shared digital calendar for your entire family. Color code it so that at a glance you know what’s on whose plate: blue for dad, red for mom, green for kid #1, purple for your pet, yellow for the entire family, to-dos in pink, etc. 

Customize push notifications for everyone. Some family members may do best with a reminder the night before, while others do best with a five-minute reminder. At the beginning of each week, print the calendar and post it on your fridge. By seeing it frequently on your screen and whenever you open the fridge, you’ll be less likely to forget an appointment or a pick-up time.

Time Management Tip #4: Make It a Family Affair

It’s hard enough to manage everything on your own plate. Add a family to the mix and the challenge becomes even more daunting. You alone will never be able to do time management for everyone in your family. It’s time to get buy-in and do some delegating.

Hold a Weekly Family Meeting

Put away all distractions and gather around the calendar to review the week. This gives each family member a chance to learn and digest what’s expected over the next several days and a chance to express wants and needs. Discuss everything from meal requests, additions to the calendar, supplies needed for a school project, outstanding chores, ideas for what to do with leisure time, etc. 

Family meetings are critical to time management because they limit distractions and “fires” throughout the week. The pesky need to multitask will lessen. Ideally, fewer family members will spring fewer “Mom, my science project is due tomorrow!” crises on you. The meetings will also help each family member realize they’re part of an interconnected whole, and no person’s time is more valuable than another’s.

Create Spaces and Systems

The proverbial idiom “a place for everything and everything in its place” is the theme song of time management, especially for busy families. Ever think about how much time per week you spend attempting to solve the mystery of “Whose water bottle is this?” or “Whose towel is this?” All that stuff needs a designated space.

To make your home mystery-free, label water bottles and assign everyone a hook, basket, and bin for all of their stuff. Towels, jackets, backpacks, school papers, shoes, toiletries, clean laundry, dirty laundry, all of it! Bath time, meal times, and the morning rush will be smoother sailing and there will be less visual chaos in your home. Major time management win! 

Teach Your Children Well 

When you take the time now to teach your kids important and practical life skills like laundry, lunch packing, and meal prep you’re setting them up for responsible adulthood and you’re enhancing time management skills for your entire family. Everyone will gain a better understanding of how much time it takes to do things and take greater responsibility for various tasks.

Yes, it will test your patience to do the initial teaching and it will feel anything like good time management. You’ll be tempted to proclaim, “Just let me do it myself!”, especially if you’re a perfectionist. But over time your kids will go from needing teaching and direction to actually completing the tasks with little oversight from you. More time will soon be yours!

Whether you have a busy school year ahead of you, a demanding job, a calendar that’s desperately overfull, or all of the above, here’s to adopting several of these time management strategies to add a little more time to your life.


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Aug 13, 2021
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.
Summary

Make your busy schedule more manageable with these time management tips.

Life is demanding. And with varying levels from survival mode to success, work, relationships, family life, and even self-care take time and intentionality. Time management strategies are one tool to help get it all done (or most of it done) without getting too stressed out. Here are some specific ways to better manage your time.

Time Management Tip #1: Do Less

Got a lot on your plate? It may be because every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you don’t say ‘no’ to something else. That math simply doesn’t work. Your plate will overflow. You will burn out. The first time management skill to practice is this: do less. Here are a few ways to get there:

Say No

This one’s for all the people-pleasers, perfectionists, and pushovers. The first step toward better time management is to accept that your time and energy are limited. Then, act accordingly. 

Start by keeping a list of everything you do in a day or over the course of a week. It’s probably a lot more than you think! Also, take note of how your energy ebbs and flows as you complete tasks. Which duties energize you and add meaning to your life? Over time, a pattern of what deserves your ‘yes’ and what needs your ‘no’ will emerge. 

When it comes to actually saying ‘no,’ ease in. Next time something is asked of you, wait. Don’t feel obligated to answer right away. And when you do say ‘no,’ you can do it nicely.

And if you have a friend of coworker who is taking on too much, help them by letting them know that it's okay to say "no". Or talk with their partner at home or manager at work to let them know that this person needs a break.

Outsource Tasks

If it’s in your budget and the services are available in your area, outsource the stuff you’d rather not do. Dread grocery shopping? Get it delivered. Hate cleaning? Hire a housekeeper. Can’t stand ironing work attire? Get a laundry service. Detest yard work? Let a landscaping company take care of it.

No time to prepare dinner? Let Thistle do the cooking for you. Eat our delicious and nutritious meals cold, or simply heat them up. And if you have a little bit more time or want to inject some variety, try some Thistle meal hacks: 4 ways to make a meal for 2 and these tips and tricks

Good human tip: For any task you do outsource, pay well and tip well. Just as your time is valuable and a challenge to manage, so is everyone else’s. Generous pay is the best way to show your appreciation for good service and the time saved.

Share the Load

Here’s a budget-friendly and straightforward way to do less: help each other out. That could be as simple as starting a carpool group to shuttle kids to school and other activities. Imagine playing chauffeur just a few days per week instead of every day! Don’t stop there: tag-team childcare with a neighbor, meal swap with a coworker, ask a friend to help you move, and so on. 

Bartering is another way to practice the time management skill of sharing the load. Are you an excellent cook with a brown thumb? Trade some home-cooked meals for yard work. Tech-savvy but not handy at all? When you help a friend update their business website, they can install some light fixtures for you.

Time Management Tip #2: Do It More Efficiently

For those tasks that bring you joy or simply must be done, seek ways to do them more efficiently. 

Don’t Multitask

Focusing on one task at a time is the new multitasking. Once touted as a strength, multitasking is now known to be a time management train wreck. In the case of texting and driving, perhaps even quite literally! Multitasking slows down productivity and makes you more error-prone. Just say no.

Plan Strategically

Yeah, this may sound like corporate-speak, but hear us out. Planning skills and time management skills are practically one-in-the-same. Instead of day-by-day planning, consider the whole week, the next month, the entire year, and even your entire life. Strategically plan now to save time later and to make sure you’re consistently focusing on tasks and activities that actually align with your values.

Meal Plan & Meal Prep

One of the most practical time management tools is meal planning. And we’re just a little bit passionate about it here at Thistle. To get more efficient in the kitchen and waste less food, start by crafting a solid meal plan each week. Mix in a meal prep day and you’ll see an even bigger increase in the time saved. The same goes for money saved and enhanced wellness -- by meal planning and meal prepping, unhealthy takeout won’t feel as tempting.

Time Management Tip #3: Take Control of Tech

We have a “wag the dog” relationship with screens and technology. What ought to be a time management tool and amazing efficiency gain often ends up being a time suck that rules our lives. Rather than letting it run the show and endlessly distract you, take control of tech and use it to improve time management skills.

Detach From Your Phone

Smartphones are useful and entertaining...to a point. To keep your phone and other screens from becoming a time suck instead of a time management tool:

  • Turn off most notifications
  • Uninstall apps that wreck your productivity
  • Install an app that blocks your access to distracting websites
  • Install apps that limit your overall amount of screen time. Some require you to ask an authorized person for extra time before it’s given to you. How’s that for accountability?
  • Leave your phone in another room when doing chores or working on a project
  • Put your phone away when talking to coworkers, family, and friends. Give your full attention to the person in front of you. You won’t miss important details and you’ll rarely have to ask someone to repeat themselves. Time saved and relationships strengthened!

Make a Message Schedule 

Instead of treating it as a mindless distraction, imagine checking your email, texts, Slack, and other messaging platforms only once or twice a day. Close all other tabs in your browser, then take 30 minutes to focus solely on reading and responding to messages. Schedule it. Stop when the time is up. Return to it only during the next scheduled time.

While we’re on the subject: be a good emailer! Value other people’s time management needs. Keep messages short and break your text into manageable chunks. Bold or highlight what’s most important. And when appropriate, ditch the email, video call, or messaging app altogether and…wait for it...pick up the phone. Sometimes a two-minute phone call will save you the time suck of 15 back-and-forth emails.

Hack Your Family Calendar 

Create a shared digital calendar for your entire family. Color code it so that at a glance you know what’s on whose plate: blue for dad, red for mom, green for kid #1, purple for your pet, yellow for the entire family, to-dos in pink, etc. 

Customize push notifications for everyone. Some family members may do best with a reminder the night before, while others do best with a five-minute reminder. At the beginning of each week, print the calendar and post it on your fridge. By seeing it frequently on your screen and whenever you open the fridge, you’ll be less likely to forget an appointment or a pick-up time.

Time Management Tip #4: Make It a Family Affair

It’s hard enough to manage everything on your own plate. Add a family to the mix and the challenge becomes even more daunting. You alone will never be able to do time management for everyone in your family. It’s time to get buy-in and do some delegating.

Hold a Weekly Family Meeting

Put away all distractions and gather around the calendar to review the week. This gives each family member a chance to learn and digest what’s expected over the next several days and a chance to express wants and needs. Discuss everything from meal requests, additions to the calendar, supplies needed for a school project, outstanding chores, ideas for what to do with leisure time, etc. 

Family meetings are critical to time management because they limit distractions and “fires” throughout the week. The pesky need to multitask will lessen. Ideally, fewer family members will spring fewer “Mom, my science project is due tomorrow!” crises on you. The meetings will also help each family member realize they’re part of an interconnected whole, and no person’s time is more valuable than another’s.

Create Spaces and Systems

The proverbial idiom “a place for everything and everything in its place” is the theme song of time management, especially for busy families. Ever think about how much time per week you spend attempting to solve the mystery of “Whose water bottle is this?” or “Whose towel is this?” All that stuff needs a designated space.

To make your home mystery-free, label water bottles and assign everyone a hook, basket, and bin for all of their stuff. Towels, jackets, backpacks, school papers, shoes, toiletries, clean laundry, dirty laundry, all of it! Bath time, meal times, and the morning rush will be smoother sailing and there will be less visual chaos in your home. Major time management win! 

Teach Your Children Well 

When you take the time now to teach your kids important and practical life skills like laundry, lunch packing, and meal prep you’re setting them up for responsible adulthood and you’re enhancing time management skills for your entire family. Everyone will gain a better understanding of how much time it takes to do things and take greater responsibility for various tasks.

Yes, it will test your patience to do the initial teaching and it will feel anything like good time management. You’ll be tempted to proclaim, “Just let me do it myself!”, especially if you’re a perfectionist. But over time your kids will go from needing teaching and direction to actually completing the tasks with little oversight from you. More time will soon be yours!

Whether you have a busy school year ahead of you, a demanding job, a calendar that’s desperately overfull, or all of the above, here’s to adopting several of these time management strategies to add a little more time to your life.


Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Aug 13, 2021
 in 
Lifestyle
 category.