Every year more and more women find themselves struggling to balance their lives. Busy women are bombarded with demands on their time, whether it is split between home and the office, being a stay-at-home mom, or a woman with a successful career, they all face a daunting task.
“Women today are faced with too much information bombarding them, overwhelming to-do lists and not enough time in one day to complete the list, let alone in an entire week,” author Julie Morgenstern said.
Morgenstern has written several books, including “Making Work Work,” “Organizing from the Inside Out,” “Time Management from the Inside Out” and “Never Check E-mail in the Morning.”
She believes most women know how liberating and satisfying it would feel to accomplish all of their personal and professional goals, but they set too many without a specific plan for achieving them. They are pulled in so many directions, they don’t accomplish much and are left with feelings of frustration and guilt.
“Trying to complete too many goals and tasks can leave you feeling frustrated, unfulfilled and exhausted. But, if you are very clear about those three or four most important things you must complete today, then you can let go of the rest until tomorrow because you have accomplished what really matters most,” Morgenstern said.
Morgenstern recently partnered with FranklinCovey to design and launch her first exclusive organizing system and collection, Time Management Your Way. The product line is based on her own methodology and aligns with the principles FranklinCovey teaches regarding time management, organization, productivity and goal achievement.
Morgenstern and FranklinCovey offer the following 10 tips for busy women seeking life balance:
1. Establish boundaries between work and home
Schedule how many hours you will spend at work and stay focused on achieving your three or four most important work goals for the week or day. Work hard at work but know when to go home and when you get there, be at home. Spend quality time engaged in self-renewing activities with people you care about. Women who are well-balanced thrive more in both environments.
2. Prepare the night before
For busy moms and women, every minute in the morning is precious. Get out the door faster by preparing the night before. Pre-pack lunches, backpacks and purses; coordinate bathroom schedules; plan and lay out clothes; and review the following day’s schedule before going to bed at a good time.
3. Take time for weekly and daily planning
Set aside 20 minutes each week and 10 minutes each day to plan your time and schedule, including the most important goals, tasks and appointments. Reviewing your week and day can also give you added insight as to how you can better manage your time.
4. Write it down
Remembering everything without recording it is a challenge that eludes even the brightest minds. Use a planning tool, either a paper planner or planning software and a handheld device, to enter your goals, tasks, appointments and contacts.
5. Group like tasks
Grouping similar tasks or tasks that can be completed together will maximize your time. If you have to revisit the same store multiple times for things that could have been purchased the first trip, you are spending, not saving time.
6. Say “no”
When presented with a new opportunity on which to spend your time, ask yourself, “What is the wisest and best use of my time right now and what do I have to remove from my schedule in order to make time for this?” If the given opportunity does not meet that criterion, appropriately and graciously say, “No.”
7. Estimate your time
The easiest way to get overwhelmed is by being unrealistic about how long it takes to complete certain tasks. Realistically estimate how long each of your goals or tasks will take to complete and schedule the appropriate amount of time into your planning system.
8. Be flexible
Circumstances change, and new opportunities can be both urgent and important. Be flexible and willing to change your schedule and reprioritize it to accomplish something that is most important.
9. Establish routines
Guarantee that you make time for what is important by creating routines. Set aside a regular time in the day to spend time with your spouse, kids, or on those activities that are important to you in your life. For example, spend time each night talking with your family about their day or spend time exercising.
10. Make “me-time” a priority
One of the number one complaints women have about their over-packed schedule is the lack of time for self. Self-renewal leads to having a more balanced life. Make time in your schedule for activities (physical health, escape and people) which are renewing and re-energizing.
“No one lives a perfectly balanced life, especially busy women,” Morgenstern said. “I encourage every woman to ask herself, ‘What is the one change I can make to better organize and manage my time so I have a more balanced life?’ Once you have examined and identified the one thing you need to change, work on it until you are successful in accomplishing the change. Then, keep repeating the process. Eventually, you will feel a greater sense of peace, fulfillment and contribution in the days and years to come.”
Want more info?
The Julie Morgenstern Organizing System and Collection by FranklinCovey (Time Management Your Way) includes a wire-bound paper planning system, leather binders, purses and accessories. For more information, call 1-800-236-2571, visit FranklinCovey retail stores nationwide, or www.franklincovey.com/julie.