Time Management for the Overworked and Overstressed

by Michelle Prima



As our days get busier, time seems to slip by more quickly.  We stress more over the little things, and wonder why there aren’t enough hours in the day.  Yet, have you ever looked at how you spend your days? 

You may be surprised that you have the time after all, if you would organize your days better, and if you were more selective in how you spent your time.  The key is to make the most of your efforts by concentrating on the tasks that give you the highest pay-off.  Here are a few tips on how to analyze your schedule, and how to make the most of your waking hours. 


The first step is to see where your time goes.  Select a typical week in your schedule.  Then set up a chart to track the following:


·         Time the activity started

·         The activity

·         The activity category

·         Time spent on the activity

·         Value or priority of the activity


Look at your log with a critical eye.  How do you answer the following questions:

·         Where did I spend the most time?

·         Did I spend the most time on high-priority tasks or trivial items?

·         Did I have a good balance of work and family in my time?

·         Did I work late into the night on high-priority tasks after spending the day on trivial tasks?

·         Did my tasks achieve my goals for the week, or did I still find unfinished business at the end?

·         Did I spend any time on tasks I enjoyed?

·         What are my strengths?  What can I accomplish quickly?


Once you have analyzed your time and addressed problem areas, you can come up with solutions.  Setting up an action plan and scheduling your time accordingly will help you on your way. 

The Action Plan

·         Set goals for the week

·         Prioritize your goals (High, Medium, Low) or (A,B,C)

·         Write down the steps needed to achieve those goals

·         Work these tasks into your scheduling


·         Enter your ‘fixed’ events into your calendar such as appointments, work schedule, etc. 

·         Look at the High or ‘A’ priority goals on your list

·         Schedule time in your week to accomplish those tasks

·         Look at the Medium or ‘B’ priority goals—can any of these fit into your schedule without losing family or work time?

·         Do the same with the Low or ‘C’ priority goals—Don’t stress if you can’t fit everything in, especially these unimportant tasks.

Scheduling Tips

·         Tackle the most challenging chores on your list first. 

·         Don’t schedule more than you know you’ll have time for. 

·         Preserve contingency time to handle the unexpected. 

·         Allow for time between events and tasks

·         Verify appointments 1-2 days beforehand

·         Take phone numbers and directions with you. 

Goal-setting is not just a week-to-week task as this example implies.  You should always have your eye on the big picture. 

Do regular reviews of your goals.  What were your goals for the week or month?  Did you accomplish what you wanted?  Did you find your tasks took up more time than you thought?  Less time? 

Also look ahead.  What are your goals for the next month?  Will you accomplish them by finishing the tasks on your weekly lists based on past experience?  What are your goals for the coming year?  What are your goals in life?  Do your daily and weekly tasks work toward your larger goals, or against them?

A well thought out plan will help you accomplish your goals and help you work toward what you want out of life.  Remember, you are in ultimate control of your destiny.  

Michelle Prima is the owner of Prima By Design, Inc., an Organizing and Relocation business.  As the owner of Literary Liaisons, Ltd. also, she has learned how to juggle her time to fit everything into her busy schedule.  She also presents workshops on this topic.  Contact her for more information.

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