11/24/2014 07:59 pm ET Updated Jan 24, 2015

4 Simple Steps to Better Time Management

Too many of us can relate to the feeling of our days spinning out of control. If only we had more time in the day, right?!

Nope. Wrong.

We actually don't need more time. We need more space. With better time management.

In a recent survey to my community of fab modern-day mamas, they stated their biggest area of struggle is time management.

There is no one-size-fits all in managing our time. It's unique, just as each of us. Perhaps that's why we find it so difficult, because there is no easy cookie-cutter solution. It takes a little work.

Time management, like many other life skills and routines, look different from person to person. So the key to simplifying and making time management work for us, is to adopt a unique routine that matches our highest priorities in life.

But before we can think of solutions to better manage our time or increase our productivity in each of our 24 hours, we've got to take inventory of how we are currently spending our time. Upon taking this time inventory, the results typically shock us.

For too many of us we've become unconscious on how we spend our time and are merely reacting to everything that we feel has to be tended to in our life and business.

So if you want to raise your consciousness and take control of your time, start with these simple steps and you'll be well on your way to simplifying time management:

STEP 1 :: Choose Your Method

Decide paper or electronic tracking. I prefer iCal since it's so easy to use and adjust and I can create a separate calendar for this exercise. But perhaps you're more motivated with a new planner or cute notebook. Do what works for you, but choose one that you'll use.

STEP 2 :: Guestimate Your Day

Estimate how you spend your time before you start tracking. That's right, give yourself a head start and outline your typical day-to-day in 30 minute increments. Start from the moment you wake up all the way to the moment you go to bed. This will be eye-opening on how we THINK we spend our time, compared to step 3, how we actually spend out time.

STEP 3 :: Track in 30 Minute Increments

Now, track how well your guestimated time inventory matches up with your reality. And adjust your calendar to reflect the actual time your spend. This is why I like the electronic calendars, easier to move things around.

STEP 4 :: Rinse & Repeat As Needed

Continue these steps for as many days as you need for you to get an accurate read on how your time is actually spent. Maybe you do it Monday thru Friday. Maybe you do it for one weekday and one weekend day. Or maybe one day is sufficient. You decide.

Once we have this inventory it's the jumping off point to raising our consciousness on how we spend our time and allows us to move forward from a place of choice and finally take back control over our time.

Awareness is the catalyst of change in all areas of our life, but especially time management.

Once you see how you're really spending your time you can shift accordingly. What do you want your day to really look like? What can you shift to make this happen?


Written by Katie O'Brien, Simplicity Coach for Mom Entrepreneurs. Click here to connect with Katie and download her 9 Steps to Simplicity for the Busy Mom Entrepreneur.