Time management is somewhat of a sticky subject for me. In some ways I'm a pro. I never fell behind on a project at work and when teaching swim lessons I never felt pressured that my student's weren't going to pass because we hadn't hit all the subjects yet. In those cases it was easy. I prioritized, figured how much needed to be done in what amount of time and got things done as planned.
When it comes to personal time management on the other hand I'm not so good. I went into last weekend with a 22 item to do list, some of which would take 2+ hours to complete. Seven of the twenty-two went undone.
Obviously I wasn't idle. That said, some of the important paperwork oriented house work got neglected, some of which has been successfully side stepped for over a month. While I can work my tail off for a weekend I can still walk away feeling like I'm behind on my work. As far as I can tell this is a combination of two things.
1) Difficulty prioritizing in the personal domain
2) Biting off more than I can chew
I guess the first one isn't too hard to figure out. Who doesn't chose to work on the fun projects first? What I need is a way to get the not so fun jobs to stay on the top of the list instead of perpetually sinking to the bottom of the list. My strategy, which at this point is entirely untested, is to have 2 to do lists running. One will be for things that keep the basics of my life running. Paperwork, co-ordinating my Master's, finances, and basic house hold chores will fall into this category. One of these items must be done every day.
The other to do list will hold most everything else. House projects that are fun rather than necessary, my writing (both on this blog and fiction), baking, gardening, and crafts will all fall under this to do list. My goal will to be to do a part of this list every other day.
As for the second problem that is always a bit more complex. I detest being idle and any appreciable amount of down time will inevitably have me searching for a new commitment. As it stands I can firmly say that for the moment I will take on no more new projects until my current projects are done. That includes no new crafts until all three current crafts are done, no new around the house projects until the current five are done (unless they are necessary to keep the house standing), and no more students for tutoring.
On top of that I believe that it is time to let a couple of things reduce their prominence in my life. Most notably I won't be taking any more students to tutor once my student lets off for the summer and won't be looking to pick back up with her in the fall. This blog has shifted to, and will continue as, an every other day event. (Not that I'll stop writing to you, it's fun and makes me work on an area of my life that would otherwise go neglected. That said I am dropping it from a 8 hour a week commitment to 4 hours a week.) Add to that I am looking forward to having my brother's wedding present done so that I don't have my crafts of a schedule.
I am looking for other areas in my life which can be cut back without too much suffering, especially once I start my Master's in September. I have always been able to swallow what I have bitten off, though it has not always been without difficulty. However, I am coming to realize (at my advanced age of 23) that if I want to accomplish a lot in the areas that are important to me I can not fill my time with a hundred different types of commitments. At the same time, I need to have a healthy balance of work and recreation; science, literature, and art; hobbies; and the fun of being a handy woman.
Any advice for a novice at time management?