Life Coach Magazine

Maximizing Your Time

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Maximizing Your TimeChances are that you know whether you are a morning person or a night owl, but are you maximizing your time by putting your peak hours to their best use? Many of us juggle household management with work and the business and creative aspects of maintaining a writing career. Working with and not against your own preferences can make the difference between seized opportunities and wasted time.

For example, my husband makes a point of doing his most important tasks first thing in the morning, whether it’s paying bills or scheduling meetings, and he reserves the evenings for low-stress chores. I like to allow the mornings for household maintenance, meaning anything I can do on autopilot! Afternoons and evenings are my best time for heavy mental lifting, and so I do all my writing and blogging when my mind feels sharp and my creativity and energy are at their peak.

If you aren’t certain of your own personal rhythms of energy and motivation, indulge in a little personal observation. Spend a week or two tracking how you spend your time and honestly gauging your productivity. (This includes your downtime. Productive leisure should be satisfying, not guilt-inducing!) Very soon you’ll seen patterns emerge that will help you to design your days and maximize your time. See if you can find weekly or monthly patterns as well. If you prefer to get things out of the way, try to frontload your week with busy Mondays and keep the rest of the week at a more relaxed pace. Feeling the need for a Sabbath rest? Schedule it – then protect it. Motivated by deadlines? Impose them on your assignments and tasks to propel yourself through the month.

By claiming your best hours for your most important, exciting, or enjoyable work, you’ll benefit by increasing your output. You may also find that you struggle less with the undesirable tasks if their slots do not compete with your other priorities.

If you don’t have the luxury of setting your own schedule, don’t despair. First try asking for the change you need to maximize your time. You might be surprised at how often the people who depend on you are willing to accommodate, especially for a more productive yield. If that doesn’t work, make small adjustments as you’re able. An unproductive hour at the keyboard after the kids are in bed might become a wildly creative hour before they wake up – or run your errands on your way to work and write through your lunch.

The key to maximizing your time is learning to recognize your own preferences and patterns, and then intentionally designing your days, weeks, or months in a way that suits the needs of your household. To learn more about this concept, I recommend the book Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern (Holt, 2004).

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