The Art of Better Time Management. As a highly sensitive person (HSP), is managing your time one of your biggest challenges? Do you tend to zone out and forget to look at your to-do list? Or, worse still, purposefully ignore everything and think I'll deal with that another day; today, it's too much.
Being a highly sensitive person can make time management challenging. You might feel overwhelmed by the stress of being overworked or the anxiety of getting things done on time. This might lead to you getting less sleep than usual, further exacerbating your sensitivity. It's important to take care of yourself while also managing your time wisely.
How do you manage your time so that you can be more productive without burning out?
Being organized is one of the most important things I can do for my sanity at home and work. The creative side of your personality is thinking, well, that kills the fun in everything if I have it all organized out, and it's a dull routine.
But that boring routine will save you from feeling anxious and help your mind to focus on what you need to do in your life. Firstly you need to get a big picture of your life so you know where to start.
Work on organizing your home and work to-do lists – what do you have in your life that is outstanding and you need to get done?
By getting your life organized, you will have the big picture. Add in things you would love to do, like taking a pottery or yoga class.
Add those to a separate list. Write absolutely everything down, take time to do it properly. All the time and effort you put in up front will make the coming weeks and months easier.
Notebook or App
Throughout my life, I have tried many different ways to organize everything, a notebook I carry everywhere, the bullet journal method, just write everything down as you think of it method, and any other written method I could find.
Then I added apps since many can sync with your calendar, and you get pop-ups to remind you.
I can't say I love any one way; none have filled that void. I'm not too fond of many apps because they are too busy, the colors too loud, the font is wrong, too big, and I can't change it.
I prefer a very minimalist visual app with soft colors. I currently use an app called Things 3 which only works with Apple devices.
It's the most minimalist-looking app I could find, and this way, I can add a task to my phone when I am not home. I also have a notebook handy and between the two I manage to stay on top of everything.
Plan a day where you work on organizing your life, both work and home – if that's too much, then plan two days, one for work and one for home.
Try to make it a day where you are home alone and can concentrate on what you are doing, or make sure people leave you alone.
It's hard to focus when someone keeps interrupting you or constantly talking.
There are two options you have here once you make your to-do list:
1. You can start with the easy ones and rapidly run through them, cutting your list down quickly.
2. You can concentrate on the most important to-dos and get those out of the way first.
I do a mixture of both of those two. If things are not critical, I'll run through all the easy ones to cut the list down.
If anything needs to happen soon, I do the important ones first. Work with whichever of those suits you best.
The main point is to focus; the day is just for organizing and continuing until you finish it. HSPs can hyper-focus and block the world out, take that strength, and put it to good use.
Try not to multitask; a little bit is fine, but too much can be overwhelming. Take small breaks to eat or when you need them but don't let your focus drift off to something else.
Once you have completed all the items on the list that you can do in a day, break out any remaining ones over the coming weeks and months.
Suppose your work list is a nightmare; set realistic goals. It's tempting to try and do everything at once, but that can cause burnout and stress.
Instead, establish reasonable goals for yourself in your list so that small accomplishments will keep coming throughout the week or month instead of feeling like an overwhelming mountain of work at once.
The most important thing is being proactive in managing your time and providing a framework for developing that habit. Think about your goals and create a plan around them.
Now that you are caught up, you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish by simply making a list of daily activities and prioritizing your tasks. Managing your time is not easy for highly sensitive people, but it can become easier by spending time to stay on top of it each day.
The Art of Better Time Management
Now that you have your to-do lists in order and are on top of your work and home life, you can work on time management.
Look at the year ahead, and enter any big events on the calendar, both for work and home.
Then, work on the current month, enter the various things that you need to accomplish that month. Move through the other months and fill in the calendar.
Now you'll want to look at the current month and start with the week you are about to enter.The
See what you have listed, goals, meetings, home projects, bills to pay, and dinner with friends; make sure all of it is listed out.
Now you have the big picture., and can start to get control of your time management and cut out a lot of anxiety you may feel.
Work on the upcoming days and break out each part of your day into manageable time slots.
Include your morning workout, breakfast, work emails, meetings, work projects, to-do list, grocery shopping, and write everything down.
Each evening when you finish your day, you can update the following days with anything you may not have completed or need to add.
You will know ahead of time what your day looks like. You have already done the heavy lifting of organizing it; now, you need to spend a little time each evening updating it and staying on track.
The calendar will work as your guide on how to spend your time. It will also help you see where you may be spending too much time on things that you shouldn't or that you haven't seen friends in a while. It will keep track of it all.
You can create different calendars if it helps you to divide things out; I have Mac calendars for work, home, health, and to-dos. I can look at them separately or all together.
If you are tracking food or hobbies, you can have calendars for those. Make it as complicated or easy as you need, and adjust as you move along.
Keep trying different things until you are happy with how you are tracking everything. New apps are coming out all the time with different functionality. Keep up to date with all of it.
Make it a Habit
Once you get the hang of what you need to do and how to prioritize things, it can be easy and fun. It is still possible to achieve your goals regardless of your sensitivity.
By becoming aware of your tendencies and by learning the best ways to channel drive and work efficiently, you can find a way to establish productive habits even under stressful or hectic conditions.
I feel my best when I have my life completely in order; bills are paid, the house is spotless, and everything is where it should be, so I don't have to look for anything.
My email/work to-do list is minimal and I'm on top of all the important things. Those days/ weeks are glorious.
When you are on top of things, you feel more in control of your life, and really, this is where we should strive to be most of the time.
- Make master lists for home and work.
- Set aside a day or two to focus on getting things done from your lists and to get the big picture of your overall workload.
- The remaining to-dos and goals should be mapped out on a year calendar.
- Create more than one calendar, work, home, health, food tracking etc. but remember to view them together each evening.
- Work on the current month to add in all meetings, personal events, to-do deadlines.
- Work on your upcoming week, adding in workout time, breakfast, meetings, grocery shopping, dinner with friends, and prep for upcoming goals.
- Each evening review your calendar for the next day, adjust as needed to accommodate any events or meetings that popped up. Also, carve out time for tasks that you were not able to complete that day.
- Keep your master work and home to-do lists up to date.
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