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Time is free, but it’s priceless.

You can’t own it, but you can use it.

You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.

Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.

Harvey MacKay

Without a doubt, everyone wants to be able to accomplish more in our lifetimes than ever before. There are lofty career aspirations, family responsibilities and personal goals that all require attention. But we are still plagued by the intense desire to balance and juggle all our myriad responsibilities. It may seem impossible at times, but with the proper set of tools and practice, you can manage your time so that you can get more done and still have time to spend with your family and friends. It all boils down to time management.

Evaluate, first

The first thing you need to do when trying to get more done is to evaluate how you are already using your time. Everything you do in the course of your day consumes some amount of time. So, you need to figure out what, of all of those thing, is most important and what can be cut from your day. Once you know where the time is going, you can move on to a few other time management tips to get more done:

1. Eliminate your time wasters so that you can spend more time on the things that really matter to you during the course of your day.

2. Multitask where you can. If you are running errands, try to organize your trip so that you can get it all done in a single round rather than making several (gas-guzzling) trips. Multitasking works well for things like running errands, but not for those things which require more intense focus or concentration. In fact, most people do not multitask important items and issues well.

3. Do not procrastinate! Procrastinating can really get you into trouble and suck up all of your free time from something that you really want to do.

4. Ask for help. Never be afraid to ask for help. Many people see themselves as being independent, and that can be a good thing. But, always remember that it is okay to ask your spouse, or family member, friend, or colleague to help you with something. Teamwork and delegation will help everyone get more done faster.

5. Create a schedule and stick to it. Schedules help keep you on track and help set a pace that you can follow.

Quality, not quantity

Once you begin to better organize and manage your time, you will naturally be able to create more time to spend with your partner and your children. The next task is to come up with fun activities that everyone can enjoy together. Here are a few ideas:

  • Set a game night where the entire family can play games, do activities or watch a movie together, as a family.
  • Arrange a weekend trip to somewhere fun for the entire family. Maybe an amusement park, zoo, water park, or something fun and educational. The time away will recharge your body and mind and bring you closer to your family.
  • Make an arts and crafts night. Perhaps you can make a scrapbook together and allow everyone to include their own memories into the book, or you can pick up a painting or sculpting kit and design something together. With holidays approaching, perhaps you would like to consider dome handmade gifts that you can all work on together.
  • Reward your children for good grades or good behavior by having a theater night on the weekends. Take the children to a movie they want to see that is appropriate for their age group and enjoy movie theater popcorn and soda together. Not only is this relaxing, but it a positive reward for a week of hard work. This is also a good example to set for your children. They will be able to see that there are relatively inexpensive ways to reward yourself, and that it is beneficial. They learn from everything they see you do.
  • Play! Simply play with them. Children, especially smaller ones, love it when their parents join them in their imaginary world. So, take a breath and travel back to your own childhood and be one of the kids. If they are a little older, perhaps you can play sports or other activities together.

Building a better quality life

By managing your time better, you will not only get more stuff done, but you will also be able to spend more time with your family and recharge your batteries. It is really important to spend quality time with your loved ones because family memories are the real memories that you will treasure forever.

Thoughts?

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