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A few years ago, I worked with a stay-at-home mother of two young children, who had trouble getting everything done that she wanted to do, and was berating herself for not being more organized. Claire (not her real name) felt that something was wrong with her because she was supposed to have plenty of time, being a stay-at-home mom and all, but no matter how much she tried, time still slipped through her fingers.  

One of the first things we did was what I call a time map, or a plan of your ideal week given your current obligations. We didn't need to go far to find the source of Claire's time crunch: Once we had put in the children's drop-offs and pickups and their afternoon activities, there wasn't much left for household chores never mind time for her. So we re-organized certain recurring appointments, created time zones for activities depending on whether they were easy to do with one child, with both, or alone, and suddenly Claire found herself with a clear view of how much time she really had – which was a lot less than she originally thought – and a practical and effective way to organize herself so that she could get everything done.  

In just a couple of hours, Claire had gone from frazzled, overwhelmed, confused and a little depressed by her inability to get organized to clear-sighted, organized, happy and feeling much more in control.  

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom like my client, or a single career woman, you most likely also experience time slipping through your fingers. It may simply be that you just believe you have more time than you really have, and organize yourself according to the perception instead of the reality of your schedule. Have you checked your perception of how much time you have against reality recently? If not, I strongly encourage you to do it, you might be surprised...


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