In today's fast-paced environment, it's easy to forget things that we believe we just HAVE to accomplish. To keep your sanity and your schedule in check, here are a few tips on how to manage your daily activities more effectively:
Make a list. At the beginning of the week, make a list of everything that you need to accomplish that week. Then, prioritize the list to ensure that you are able to accomplish those things that are of a more urgent nature vs. those that seem to constantly loom over you.
Delegate responsibilities. If you feel like you have too many things to do, and you see items on your list that you can delegate to your spouse or kids, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, feeding the dog, etc, do it! You will feel the weight of that responsibility lift as you give it to someone else in your household to take care of!
Check back. At the end of each day, check your list for that day to see what you have accomplished. If you did not get everything finished that you intended to finish, then move those items to the next day.
Keep your list either electronically or in a small notebook.Whichever way is most comfortable for you-this will help you keep track of all that needs to be done, and if you use a small notebook, you can take the notebook with you wherever you go in case there are items that need to be added to or deleted from the list. Both ways will also help you track your progress in getting tasks accomplished.
Family first, then others. It's easy to look at a pile of laundry and the eyes of your 2 year old and truly believe you need to flip a coin to see which one is the most important investment of your time at that moment. Spend it with your 2 year old. Laundry can be done during nap time, lunch time, or after your child goes to bed in the evening. Your 2 year old is only 2 right now…and you will miss out on the wonder of that age if you don't spend that time with your family.
Running errands. Try to organize the "pockets" in your day such that you are able to run errands all at the same time. For example, if you know that your new dryer will be delivered this afternoon, and you were not given anything more specific than "between 12pm and 5pm" to work with, run your errands in the morning. You will also want to make sure that you run them in order of proximity to each other and to your house. This will cut down on time running back and forth across town or across the community in which you live. When you return home and are waiting for your delivery, you can work on cleaning the house or playing outside with your kids.
Work vs. personal life. It can be extremely difficult to put your personal life first if you have a demanding job. Some of the same practices can be put in place involving your work life. Prioritize your projects at work, reevaluate your progress, and ensure you utilize your "best" time for your most difficult tasks. This will help ensure you accomplish all you need to in your 8 hour day, and enable you to leave on time to enjoy your evening.
Early Bird vs. Night Owl. If you are an "Early Bird", you will want to get up early and get some of the most difficult tasks accomplished right away. This will help you make the most of your day, as you can take care of less stressful or difficult tasks later in the day. Conversely, if you are a Night Owl, take on less complicated tasks earlier in the day, and reserve your focused energy for later, when you are more alert, focused, and ready to get going mentally.
Implementing just a few of these ideas will help you begin to manage your time more effectively, and will help you complete key tasks each day in an efficient way.