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Posts Tagged ‘priorities’

I heard a quote recently that stood out to me: “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” I feel often like the days are flying or moving faster than I would like. This quote reminded me that I am in control. 

Controlling your time and schedule isn’t easy and something that takes constant adjustments and awareness.

Dwight D. Eisenhower shared a matrix that he used to help with tasks and prioritizing his time. It can help you with that list as you:

1. Identify at a glance what needs to be done.

2. Move tasks around based on how important or urgent.

3. Have an overview of where you need to focus your attention in the short and long-term.

4. Stay on top of all your to-do lists.

Let me share an example from my own life.  While working from home I knew I would miss the movement that accompanies my usual daily tasks. I am not often confined to a desk and I prefer moving around.  I look forward to classes at the gym for the movement and socialization.   Using Eisenhower’s model I went through each step with my movement and working from home concerns in mind.

Identify at a glance what needs to be done: I need to work some walks and movement into my new workday, as well as other times throughout my day.

Move tasks around based on how important or urgent: I will start my day with a workout; an exercise video or a run. I will also take a stretch break in the afternoon and stand to complete some of my work tasks.  I can listen to music and I gave myself permission to dance.  Occasionally, I’ll even invite my new “coworkers” join. 😉

Have an overview of where you need to focus your attention in the short and long-term: I set reminders on my phone and log my workouts in an app to track progress. 

Stay on top of all your to-do lists: each week I look at my tasks, my needs and make any necessary adjustments.

Image created by Courtney Woelfl

With so many of us moving our offices to our home, some kids schooling from home, gyms closed, activities reduced and more it can disrupt our normal routines. These disruptions can throw us off balance and create extra obstacles to overcome.  Using these to guide your priorities and the matrix to determine your schedule and to-do list can help with any changes you might be dealing with related to staying home and other battles.

I am no Dwight D.  Eisenhower commanding the Allied forces in Europe or a president making decisions for the entire United States, BUT I am in command of my own time and to-do list, and you are too!

Writer: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami  County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewers:   Courtney Woelfl, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Chuyahoga County, woelfl.1@osu.edu

References:

Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Using Time Effectively, Not Just Efficiently; http://commonhealth.virginia.gov/documents/wellnotes/UsingTimeEffectivelyNotJustEfficiently.pdf.

Midgie, BillT, Mind Tools Content Team, Mind Tools Content Team, & Mind Tools Content Team. Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle: Using Time Effectively, Not Just Efficiently. Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_91.htm

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Do you find yourself running from one activity or commitment to another? Do you find it difficult to get everything done on your to do list? Do you get to the end of your week and wonder where it went? If so, maybe it is time to reestablish your priorities.

Many of us wear our busyness like a badge of honor when maybe instead it’s a burden that needs unloaded. Organizational and time management skills can help youcalendar-1868106_640 be more efficient. But even the best time management strategies aren’t enough to tackle a schedule that is just too full. David Goldsmith in his book, “Paid to Think: A Leader’s Toolkit to Redefining Your Future” recommends scheduling only up to 60% of your day. That leaves you a cushion of 40% for interruptions, delays and the unexpected. We tend to be over-optimistic about what we can accomplish in a day. This principle applies to both work and personal life.

There is no easy checklist for finding that balance, but here are some things to consider:

Set priorities… and that means making tough choices… letting something go. Before committing to yet another project or volunteer opportunity or an activity for your child… ask yourself if it fits into the 60% of your life. Does it align with your family’s priorities?

Get on the same page. Make sure your family agrees on priorities. Before you add a big commitment to the family calendar, check with your spouse to avoid unnecessary time crunches.

Realize you cannot do everything. As much as we try to do it all, we have limits. Be realistic with your calendar and your energy level on the number of commitments you have.

Say no. We probably kick oursfamily-2149453_960_720elves more often for saying yes when we should have said no. Such a little word and yet so much power to free up the schedule. There is a great Live Smart Ohio blog for points to consider about overscheduled kids .

 

Keep your focus. Reestablishing priorities is a cyclical process as we go through life. Make sure those priorities show up on your daily to do list, as a way of being intentional about keeping your focus on what is most important.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County

Sources:

Chapman, S & Rupured, M. Time Management: 10 Strategies for Better Time Management (C 1042), University of Georgia Extension, April 2014.

Goldsmith, D. Paid to Think: A Leader’s Toolkit to Redefining Your Future. BenBella Books, Inc., Oct 23, 2012.

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christmas tree

As the holiday season approaches, requests are made to participate in “Secret Santa” at work, office parties, “Ugly Sweater” contests, and for the kids, “Elf on the Shelf”. Add to that list decorating, cooking, shopping and gift wrapping, inventory, and end of year reports at work. That’s a lot to juggle from now thru the end of the year. To help you stay sane, try a strategic approach to reduce stress, while still balancing work-life responsibilities during the holidays:

  1.  Set Priorities– Go through the task of ranking your priorities. Is your top priority family time? Volunteer work? After you establish your priorities, you will be able to say no to events that don’t make the list (or at least put time limits on your participation).
  2. Do a Time Study – For one week, keep a log of how your time is spent. Log general groups of tasks that include activities such as errands, housework, shopping, cooking, and so forth; then total your column times. Did the way you spent your time align with your priorities? If not, adjust your schedule to bring your life back into balance.
  3. Set Limits on Work Hours – This is easier said than done, but if work-life balance is important to you, then set limits on the hours that you are willing to work and enforce them. Maybe that means leaving the office no later than 5 pm, and/or no working on the weekends. As the holidays approach, it’s important to carve out extra hours for all of those seasonal tasks, as well as keeping time for you to exercise and relax. If you’re someone that usually works late hours, communicate the temporary change to co-workers.
  4. Get Help – Is cleaning the house, running errands or baking taking up a large amount of time? Consider sourcing out some of those chores. It may be a better use of your time to pay someone to do a few of those tasks – such as purchasing cookies from a neighbor that likes to bake. If you are not able to hire out, scale back your menu, have a potluck or rethink hosting every party.
  5.  Unplug – Turn off the social media and emails. Don’t check your work emails until you are back at work. If you can’t forgo checking emails, set limits for when you will check work email.
  6.  Get Moving – If exercise didn’t originally make your priority list, be good to yourself and schedule it back in. This will boost your energy level and improve your mood!

Work-life balance is an ongoing process. Keep your priorities on task and just do your best. Priorities will change as your life changes – especially during the holidays. Periodically reassess your priorities and take inventory of your work-life balance.
Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD. Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Donna Green, MA, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu
Sources: http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/25-ways-find-joy-balance-during-holidays

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