Personal Time Management

What is Personal Time?
Who does your time belong to? When you wake up tomorrow, you’ll start with exactly 24 hours of personal time. However, most of us have traded part of our 24 hours for benefits. If you work or go to school, you have traded part of your time for education or pay. Personal time is what we call “free time” or the time we haven’t already bartered away.

How do we spend our time?
The average person spends the following amount of time in an average day:

  1. 8.5 hours sleeping.
  2. 1 hour devoted to personal care.
  3. 2.5 hours on household chores (cooking, cleaning, gardening, shopping, etc)
  4. 8.5 hours at work and/or school related activities on weekdays and (4 to 5 hours on the weekend).
  5. 3 hours caring for others, either those who live with us (children and spouses) or those outside of our homes (elderly relatives, volunteer work).
If you add up the numbers, you’ll see that “free time” is really at a premium!

Making Every Minute Count
The trick to managing personal time is first determining how much time you have to manage. Use the example above and put the time you spend sleeping, in personal care, doing chores, at work (or school), and in caring for others during your week to zero in on the personal time you have left to manage.

  • Be realistic in categorizing your time. You’ll need at least three categories: work (school) time, sleep time, and personal time.
    1. Your first inclination in planning personal time may be to subtract your 8-hour workday from your 24 hours, leaving you with 16 hours of personal time. However, although sleep-time is part of personal time, it isn’t really time you can manage. Sleep patterns are very important to the way you function during your waking hours. Don’t cut yourself short. If you think you’re sleeping too much of your life away, gradually cut down on sleep. Begin with either retiring 15 minutes later or waking 15 minutes earlier.
    2. Consider travel time to work as work time. If your main focus on waking is getting ready for work, you might also want to consider that as work time.
    3. Personal time spent in relaxation is as important as the rest of your day. Schedule time to read, exercise, meditate… things you’d like to do… on your To Do list.
    4. Break times at work are personal time. If that’s not true for you, then you probably need to learn to say “no”. Make use of wasted minutes during lunch hours and breaks. Bring a book to work, take a walk, run an errand.
    5. Delegate some daily chores to the weekend.
    6. Learn to multi-task. You can fold the laundry while the potatoes are cooking.
    7. Divide large tasks into small ones. “Today I’ll mow the lawn, tomorrow I’ll tackle the weeds.”
    8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate some chores to others. Learn to barter with housemates. “I’ll help weed the garden if you’ll help wash the car.”
    9. Mark your place. A lot of us waste a good part of our time just finding “where we left off”. Keep a notepad or a pad of post-its nearby for emergencies and write yourself a note. Cross finished chores from your To Do List.
    10. Become listed. A grocery list can keep you from an extra trip to the store when you forget the milk. To Do Lists help you keep your focus on what you need to get done so that you have more time to do the things you want to do!

Time Management for High School Students ►

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