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I, like most people, am not very good at managing my time.  Everyday seems to pass by and I’m still trying to complete all that I started out to do. There are so many distractions as well, just on the internet alone.  Do you experience this?  In trying to find a good way to manage my time, I found a formula that can hopefully help if not just myself then maybe some others who find themselves in the same place.  The formula is P.L.A.Y.F.U.L..  Here is the plan I will use to better attach my days. Try it yourself and let me know if and how it works.

P - Plan the Day  - Many self help articles will list this as the number one tactic to get yourself organized and on the road to productivity.  Spend some time the day or night before to plan your day in advance before you go to bed.  Include not just work related items but personal ones as well.  Every time I do this, it really helps me with so many areas of my life.  First, I sleep so much better because I don't lie away thinking of all the things I need to do the next day.  It keeps me to be so much more organized if I even include what we will eat for dinner.  You can divide your day into morning, mid-day and evening as you think of things you need to accomplish.  Sometimes it's easier for me to just write down a list and later separate them into the time areas.  

L- List Time Limits - Once you make your list then begin to itemize them by importance or time.  Determine which items are more important or need to be accomplished in a certain time span. Is this something that will take more than one day to accomplish?  Then determine what needs to be completed and when so you can plan it out for the next day or days.  Listing tasks by order of importance and placing them within a scheduled time frame will allow you to stick to those tasks with less confusion as to what you should be doing and accomplishing.

A - Assign a Accept your Schedule  - This is sometimes the most difficult part of the process.  As we begin to assign our  activities, there will always be things to distract us, especially if we work with other individuals.  When I was a teacher I wanted to be available to my students.  I did not want to be the kind of teacher who gave the students assignments and then went to sit at my desk. But I also needed to have time to check their work.  The time to visit the students individually need to be included in the schedule.  Now that I work from home, I need to assign a schedule of time for certain activities that MUST be accomplished every day.  That is the only way that I will be able to be successful in my business.  I learned that if I stick to what I have assigned myself there seems to be time for other matters as well. By respecting ourselves and our own schedule, we not only teach others to respect it, but to respect the time they should set for themselves to accomplish goals.  Sticking to our schedule is truly a benefit to all and we will discover that things get accomplished.

Y – Yourself  - Make sure you plan time for yourself to recharge.  We need to schedule time for ourselves and time to relax and have fun.  If we go through our day without any type of relaxation, life will become tedious, boring and may lead to an overall feeling of depression. Get out to walk or exercise preferably in the middle of the day as a break.  If that's not possible then make sure it's at least in your schedule, either before work or after.  Think of the activities you enjoy and make sure you allow yourself time to do those activities.  Remember all work and no play....

F - Focus but don't Forget to Follow Delegating - Focusing on the things that are easy for you to do yourself should be accomplished first but don't forget that others thoughts, ideas and assistance can sometimes help the task to be completed sooner.  It may be better to assign tasks that your children can do such as cleaning the dinner table or sorting the laundry.  Sometimes work related activities can be shared with others.  Are there tasks at work or at home that can be delegated to others you work with or other family members?  Share the work load whenever you can.

U - Understand  - Since we are planning our day and using a strategy, be kind to yourself and understand that you need to give yourself time to develop this new habit.  Researchers say that it takes someone 4-5 months before a practice becomes habit.  Another point is patience.  Be patient with yourself as you learn to use this new strategy.  Another step in understanding is to view your goal, or activity or assignment as smaller pieces leading to the whole.  Try not to look at a project or assignment and think, I'll never get this finished or completed in time.  Break everything down into smaller time increments.  Take things little by little, bit by bit, piece by piece.  Celebrate each accomplishment.  Celebrate each success.P -  

L - Look for the Positive and have a Positive Outlook  - As you begin each day and look over your plan for that day, begin with a positive outlook.  Say some positive affirmations to yourself before you begin your day.  As you look toward your day, begin your assignments with a positive thought, such as this is the work that will help me achieve my end goals.  Visualize the end result and think of how it will feel once you do accomplish your task, activity or assignment.  This will help you complete the task and you may find that you complete it sooner than expected and with a better quality of work.  A positive outlook is also contagious.  Beginning each day with a positive attitude may just help someone else have a better day as well.  

Each year we all look for better ways to accomplish our goals and work.  There are so many suggestions about how to manage our time.  Find the way that works best for you and stick to it.  Make sure you use it regularly to make it a habit.  You may be surprised at where you find yourself!  

I hope these P.L.A.Y.F.U.L. suggestions help.  Let me know what you think and Celebrate your Success.

Have a PLAYFUL Day!

Maryann

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