We all have the same 24 hours in a day so do not tell me that you do not have the time to do something. What we do and say is all about life choices and what we value and prioritize. As a wife, mother, business owner, athlete and now volunteer soccer coach for my boys, I choose my time wisely.
I was taught at the age of 14 how to compartmentalize my time and my thoughts during track practice. I strongly believe this is why so many student-athletes are successful in life because if they know how to handle training and school plus whatever else life throws at you then you are prepared to handle life and achieve any goal you so choose. Time management is a skill that many are not taught, but it helps to be able to better focus and achieve goals for all the hats that women must wear in life.
Plan it out
I sit down and plan out my family calendar every year for yearly goals to quarter goals down to daily tasks. My husband may be the OCD clean freak at home, but I am an OCD time management freak. My high school coach used to tease me that I even had planned out when I was to have children at the age of 14. He was right, but that plan did not work out right. I missed it by ten years, but that is ok. You just readjust as life happens. Not all plans, go as planned, but thinking it through and knowing which direction you want to go and how you want to get there helps you see what needs to be done in the process. Through track and field as an athlete and coach, I was taught macrocycles and microcycles for our training. You have 4 year long goals as a high school student-athlete, college student-athlete and for Olympic trials. I simply have applied these to life.
What is your overall goal. As a wife, mom, business owner, athlete I have learned to break down goals into personal goals, couple/marriage goals, family goals and business goals which all in some way to point to the overall goal. The overall goal is your long term goal of i.e. paying off your mortgage in 5 years, buying a new car in cash, competing in a 10 k race or qualifying for a competition, a retirement date. This goal can be 1 year away to 4 years away or more. Right now it may seem impossible, but it is the baby steps and daily disciplines that will get you there in the end. Every year I buy a desktop calendar that I write down ALL family events and goal expectations on. I also use the iPhone calendar with my husband so we know what is on the schedule when he is away from home. Yes, he laughs at me. I even have “pick up dog poop” in the iPhone calendar which is a huge daily discipline.
This is were I break it down into quarters. I like 90 day goals which I break down into monthly goals. This allows you to take a chunk of the elephant and just focus on what needs to be done for the next 3 months. For some it may help to think what needs to be done this season, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. For me personally, it is more like off-season, fall/winter conditioning and prep, competition season. Training wise, I have done schedules in 6-8 weeks cycles sometimes 4 depending on the time table. As a mom athlete, the major issue on the schedule is on and off season.
3. Monthly Goals/Bi-monthly Goals
What do you want to accomplish this month? What major events are happening this month? Birthdays, competitions or special events. What are the goals of your training this month to help you along to your overall yearly goal to your overall goal? I use the time table of paying my monthly bills to not only keep me on budget, but to help me keep aware of time that the month is almost over. Time passes quickly when you are “busy”, but it does not mean that you are productive. Time management is accomplished when you also have time awareness. How much time do you feel you need to realistically complete a task without being a total stress case? There is the time that you can get something done, but then when you have kids, husband, pets, friends and family…slow progress is still progress.
4. Weekly and Daily Tasks
I am a huge sticky note writer. In college, I would have sticky notes all over the place in my car, in my apartment on the bathroom mirrors. It is those daily reminders and mantras that help you get things done when you either forget or do not feel like doing what needs to be done. My husband on the other hand, does not like my sticky notes all over the place so I try my best to stay organized and keep my daily planner. WRITING IT DOWN is key! Typing it into a phone does not work especially when people upgrade or lose phones so often. There is something magical about writing down tasks. I go back and look at lists from years prior and even though I may have lost that sticky note at the time, I generally completed every task on the list. I make daily tasks lists and prioritize what NEEDS to be done today. The bottom of the list generally gets pushed to what I need to accomplish within the week. Life happens, just remember what you need to do to get to where you want to go. That is why I write my lists and cross off tasks as I get the done. The sense of accomplishment builds self confidence that I have done something and I can do more. You can always do more especially if you know how you spend your time.