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Time Management for your Ideal Life

September 2, 2014 | By | 3 Replies More

time managementRecently, after a conversation I had with someone about all the things I love to do – gardening, cooking meals from scratch, canning and preserving, vermicomposting, spending time outdoors, and running Tomato Envy – they asked me, “How in the world to you have the time for all of that?”

Despite the fact that I have a demanding corporate career that requires frequent travel and long hours, I am doing more things that I enjoy and trying more new hobbies than ever before. Part of this shift has come from my personal demand that my life be bigger than what I do to earn a paycheck.

In planning my ideal life, some other big decisions became important, too. A big reason I have time to do so many things is that I chose a child-free life. Even from a young age, I knew this was the right path for me. I also wisely chose a husband who is truly my partner. Mr. President happily helps keep our home clean, runs errands, and folds laundry along with most of the “heavy lifting” of home maintenance. I’m only telling you this because if you have kids and it seems like you never have enough time to do things you enjoy, try logging all the time you spend taking care of your kids, driving somewhere, or watching their plays, concerts and sports games. Then, pat yourself on the back because it takes a ton of time to be a good parent!

Regardless of your lifestyle or family demands, there are some time management strategies I use that I hope can help you make the most of your time.

  1. I’m willing to spend money to buy time. For example, we hired someone to clean our home every other week and it saves me several precious hours each month. I value my personal time very highly, and I spend it even more judiciously than I spend money. Consider the time you could gain by outsourcing something if you can afford it.
  2. I say “yes” to things that are consistent with the life I want. When you have a clear picture of your ideal life, right down to the details of how you want to spend each day, time management becomes much easier. Which brings me to my next point…
  3. I rarely do things strictly out of obligation. This does not mean that I never do something I don’t want to do. But, I have learned to be a little selfish with my time and people close to me mostly accept it and don’t take it personally when I turn down an invitation.
  4. I have dedicated time for social media and online “surfing.” I need to keep up with social media for Tomato Envy, so I shoot for 20 minutes, three times a day so I’m not constantly distracted.
  5. I don’t watch much TV. I know there are many smart programs and films, but TV is a passive way to spend time – usually with nothing gained. I keep up with world events by watching just a little news in the evening or during my online time each day.
  6. I plan my days and assign time blocks to activities, including time for meditation and leisure activities. I purposely overestimate how long it will take me to complete a task rather than underestimate so I have a bigger sense of accomplishment as I knock out my list. Planning is best done at the end of the day so you can hit the ground running every morning.
  7. I get out of bed early. Early morning is a peaceful but prime time for knocking something off the to-do list. By the time I start my work day, I’ve sometimes already made a pot of soup for the freezer, weeded the vegetable garden, or written a blog post. Try it for a week – you’ll love the time you gain!

time managementMy final piece of advice about time management is to get real with yourself and stop making excuses. The best way to do this is to choose three consecutive days and keep a diary of how you spend your time, kind of like a food journal. You will probably be amazed at how much time you waste doing things that are not consistent with how you want your life to be. And, the more you tell yourself, “I don’t have time,” the less time you’ll seem to have! We find time to do the things we personally value the most.

Do you have any tried and true tricks for time management?





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Category: Enviable Ideas, General, Home and Garden

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  1. Can Frugality and Decadence Coexist? - Tomato Envy : Tomato Envy | May 19, 2015
  1. Belinda says:

    I really enjoyed your article!

    As a mom of many, I frequently forget about all the time that is invested in our children’s lives … Sometimes, I just don’t have time for blogging, etc.

    I look forward to reading through your site…


    • Brande says:

      I think “moms of many” have THE most demanding career out there! It truly is an investment of time as the ROI is a good future for your kids. Thank you for following and hope you found something useful here. 🙂

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