I am often asked to recommend a good free/cheap program for tracking time spent on client work and projects.
I like TimeStamp, as do many other professionals I know. It’s quick to download and easy to use. Best of all, you can keep it running in the background and it doesn’t interfere with other programs you’re running.
At the time of posting this, TimeStamp is still free to download although a donation towards the site owner’s generosity is appreciated.
Here are 8 time savers that have helped in my quest to balance work & family life:
1. Plan to have ‘in days’ and ‘out days’. On your ‘in days’, stay in your workplace all day. Have a list of prioritized tasks and do them – one after another. You will achieve so much that you’ll fell better about spending quality time with your family or doing something for yourself in the evenings. Similarly, on your ‘out days’, list all the errands to be done and just do them.
2. Plan your meals ahead and go grocery shopping only once each week. Prepare a few meals to freeze for quick meals later.
3. Make sandwiches in advance and freeze them, too. Each morning just grab a sandwich out of the freezer and pop it into the lunch box. You can freeze a lot of cakes, muffins, lamingtons and other treats too. They will have defrosted by lunch time.
4. School bags and clothes can be prepared the night before. If you find yourself really pushed for time of a morning, put all bowls, breakfast cereals, cups and vitamins on the table or bench too.
5. Use your diary appropirately, attending to matters when thye need it (the longer you leave it, the harder it will become).
6. Keep your home and work space tidy. You can easily waste hours looking for misplaced items.
7. Consider oursourcing chores such as ironing, lawn mowing or bookkeeping. How much do you earn per hour? How much is three hours of cleaning really costing you?
8. When friends drop in unannounced – ask them to make you a cuppa and then do some filing or hang out the washing while the two of you chat. I guarantee, if they don’t take the hint and leave, at least you’ll be catching up on some chores!
Effective time management is crucial in successfully balancing work and family time. To find extra time in your day, first keep a journal of how you spend you time over a two or three day period. Include everything, even time on the telephone, watching television and reading. Next, use these notes to identify your greatest time wasters. Then determine where you can eliminate or limit them.
The trick to finding extra time each day is to work smart, not hard. Be organized and have everything well planned and you will find that you have more time to spare.