Managing Your Time Effectively/Making time for my interests

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Question
Hello,

I need some help on how I can effectively manage myself. I have a lot of goals and interests that I want to pursue, but I don't really know how to manage it all.

I'm a person that really loves to learn and keep busy. One of my biggest interests is in staying knowledgeable and on topic about a lot of things.

I have these books from university that we barely touched, and it's such a great pool of information. I'm very interested in doing something where I can make use of these books, such as putting down one hour everyday for one book while making notes on what I read until I finish it, start with the next, and rinse and repeat.

I'm also eager to pick up my hobbies again. I used to be a writer and a painter. Nowhere near on a professional level but it was two passions of mine that I loved so much. For several years I've put them on hold on account of university, but now that I'm done with university I really want to go back into them again.

For writing I have some projects that I'm currently working on developing and such, and I do hope that I'll be able to start writing them soon.

For my art, I'm very much interested in pursuing this path in a deeper way. I want to learn about Art again like I did in highschool, such as exploring a movement of art. I was thinking something like how I'd have one week where I would focus on a type of art and then deeply explore it such as the history, what mediums and methods were used, and experimenting too.

Finally, I really would like to stay fit. I'm mainly interested in just toning exercises and keeping my body healthy. As both my parents families are likely to get cholesterol, diabetes and weight-gain problems I want to make sure I don't go down their path and manage to stay healthy in my prime. I haven't started this yet either as I'm still trying to figure out how to stay managed.

I'm very bad at managing my time. With these projects that I'd like to do I don't know how to do it all. In addition to this my sister and I babysit my brother's daughter, and while we really love her so much of my time goes into babysitting her (which sometimes doesn't feel fair because we'd like time-off for myself). I also have very attached friends who are adamant about constantly staying in touch, and while I've made it very clear to them from the day we first met how I like to stay busy at times they still want to talk a lot. Recently one girl I'm close to has been going through a series of very unfortunate events but it's been hard managing time for her and for myself too because most time is spent on her. It's gotten to the point where I tell everyone I'm going to sleep early but really I stay up and put my time on doing what I like to do, and then waking up after barely a few hours of sleep - I'm feeling really exhausted. In addition to this I'm also job-hunting, so my time has also been spent on researching the job I'm applying for and going to interviews.

I'm the type of person who easily gets demotivated and I also get stressed out fast. I think I have anxiety too only because a part of me feels like I hardly have any time and time is running out so I feel stressed and upset by this, even though at times the rational side of me comes through and manages to reassure my more nervous self that I do have time for everything - I just need to learn how to manage myself effectively.

What can I do to stay more managed and better pursue my dreams?

Honestly, I've been stalling and staying stationary for so long that it's made me feel very empty and depressed. This is the reason why I also want to pursue what I like to do because that really is the time where I feel so alive and happy.

I hope you can help me, and if there's any additional information you'd like about me please let me know.

Thank you for your time. Kindest regards~

Answer
Hi Mona;
You sure have a lot of interests and this isn't all bad if they relax you. The only problem is, your driving yourself nuts with them. You need to set you priorities according to the ones that are the most important to you and to remember that their are only 24 hours in a day so you can't do everything every day of the week. You are creating your own frustration and by doing that, you can't do any of them 'well'. So, let's put this into prospective.

You want to exercise; you love to research, reading is a great hobby for you: learn and write; painting is a priority; friends mean a lot to you and you love to help people. All of these are very commendable and you really do have time in your world to fit them all in, by setting a schedule.

In order to get the most out of exercise it would be wise to set this up for three times a week. It will give you something to look forward to and help to rejuvenate your body. Personally I love to do this in the morning because it seems like it gives me a boost for the rest of the day and I get twice as much done in those days.

Painting is a great idea! You need to set an area that you can have your painting materials so you don't have to put them away. Then go to a local tech school and sign up for a course that will help you evaluate the mediums etc. You will take that class-one or two times a week and then give yourself one to two hours during that week to explore what you have learned.

Use the computer to help you research your thoughts on painting new techniques etc. You may also want to keep notes in a diary to keep your thoughts as you are learning--it could turn into a beginners book that you may want to publish on Amazon. Since you also enjoy writing, you would be pursuing two things at once and not realize it.

Don't forget to use a tape recorder to keep notes when you are reading your books. This can be played back when you are exercising, walking, cleaning etc. It will make learning a lot faster and easier. Set an hour a day to read a section of your book, put your notes on the recorder to replay later and then when you finish the book label your tape and put in a safe place in case you want to replay it for more information.

Looking for a job is up to you, but you should easily be able to work a job and fit everything into you schedule. I would block my weekends out for my friends and upkeep of the house and possibly some extra reading. Remind your friends that you cannot be contacted after '?'PM---this is your time to shower, relax and spend on YOU. They will learn this is a great idea and probably adopt the idea themselves. I use 9 PM. Up until that time, they can call and we can talk, I do my hobbies in between and some I can do as we are talking---but after 9PM--it is mine!

I hope this helps give you a better view of how to be able to accomplish what you want. Just remember things done in moderation are fun--things overdone become stress.

Good luck,
Jan Hayner

Managing Your Time Effectively

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Jan Hayner

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I can give you tips and hints on how to use your time efficiently, shortcuts to make this possible and the importance that great time management can have on every aspect of your life, home, job and family relationships.

Experience

I am a Professional Organizer and one of my specialties is 'time managment'. I am an advocate of the saying "Work Smarter-Not Harder' and I show you ways to accomplish this through smart and efficient time management.

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