Who else wants better time management skills?

Knowing how to manage your time is something that many people are unfamiliar with. It seems as though we are all running around frantically like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to cram as much stuff into our days as possible.

Personally, I like to live a very simple, streamlined life. I purposely make to-do lists because they help me accomplish the things that need to be done in a day.

Below is a list of my top tips for time management.

How to manage your time

How to Manage Your Time

Determine your priorities

The very first thing that I made myself do when I first started to get a grip on managing my time, was to understand that I can’t do it all. Being a perfectionist, this was a hard reality to accept. However, once I did so, life because so much simpler.

I’m the gal you can come running to with questions about coupons. I can tell you everything you want to know about creating a budget. I can show you how to make the best homemade whipped cream you’ve ever tasted.

On the other hand, I know that I’m not a talented artist, seamstress, or fashionista and that’s okay with me. I focus all of my energy on the things that I can do well and I encourage you to do the same.

Set long & short term goals

Just like you need goals when planning to get out of debt, you need to have goals when you are trying to manage your time.

What are some things that you would like to accomplish in the next month? What about the next 6 months? Be realistic about what you can achieve. Don’t try to stack too many goals on your plate at one time or you will wind up feeling burnt out rather quickly.

Some examples of short term goals (to be completed in 1-3 months):

Some examples of long term goals (to be completed in 4 months or longer):

  • De-clutter my home.
  • Pay off my debt.
  • Organize the kitchen.
  • Save for a home/car/whatever.

Setting goals is important because it gives you the push that you need to get things done, even if you don’t feel like doing them. Sure, you don’t want beans and rice for dinner again, but that is going to get you one step closer to being debt-free, so maybe it’s worth it.

Keep your eye on the prize. On those days when you’re feeling rushed and overwhelmed, take a look at your list of goals. Those are what you’re aiming for. Don’t worry about a bad day, they happen. And guess what – tomorrow is another day!

Take the time to plan

If you want to achieve your goals, you need to have a plan in place. Simply having goals is not enough – you need to make a plan for how you are going to actually achieve them.

I’ve heard a lot of people complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day (I’m guilty of doing this myself a few times!), but could it be that perhaps you just aren’t managing your time wisely?

I strongly suggest creating a daily schedule so that you can stay on top of your daily to-do’s. A simple daily schedule will help you get through the days where you’re lost and confused and aren’t sure which task to tackle next.

Don’t make your to-do lists too big though, as this often leads to failure. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day.

As an example, here’s what my current daily schedule looks like:

5am: Wake up, drink water, start “must-do” tasks
7am: Wake up kids, get them ready for school, eat breakfast
8am: Wake up Elliott & Kaylee (if they aren’t already awake), eat breakfast
9am: Back to work
12pm: Eat lunch
1pm: Back to work
3pm: Pick up kids from school
3:30pm: Play time, house chores
5pm: Start dinner
6pm: Eat, clean up after dinner
7pm: Family time
8pm: Kids’ bed time, feed animals
9pm: Bed time!

Everyone’s schedule is going to be different, but this is how I do things. Do I always follow this schedule? No, of course not. There are days when I’m just not in the mood to do chores and I’m fine with that.

You also need to make room in your schedule for unexpected happenings such as a phone call or a visitor. Don’t make your schedule so rigid that if something like that occurred, it would totally ruin your entire plan for the day.

I also want to stress how important it is to give yourself enough time to sleep. Being well-rested is a crucial part of getting things done.

Do the worst task first

As Brian Tracy would say, Eat The Frog. Get the worst task out of the way first thing in the morning and the rest of the tasks on your to-do list won’t seem so bad.

By eliminating the most annoying task before you have your morning coffee, you are setting yourself off on the right foot to get everything else accomplished much more easily than if you had left your “frog” until the very end.

Simplify meals

Mealtime can be stressful for many people and most of the time that is due to lack of planning. Menu planning is one of the best time (and money) saving things that I do.

To make dinner time even more simple for you, I highly recommend giving freezer cooking a try. Spend a few hours (or more if you’re up to it) one day cooking up a bunch of meals for your family. Then, you can enjoy those meals during times when things are extremely busy or you simply don’t feel like cooking.

Ask for help

If, at the end of the day, you feel like you have way too many things to handle on your own, let people know. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your partner, your kids, and other family members and friends.

Don’t ever turn down help from others.

If you want to manage your time more effectively, you need to be prepared to make a lifestyle change. You have to be in it for the long haul.

You can’t simply wake up one morning and decide that today you will be productive. Without a plan – a long term plan – you will burn out fast and will likely be left feeling frustrated.

Give up the idea of being a superwoman/superman and plan your life accordingly.

Do you have any time-saving tips to share? Please leave a comment!


  1. Nicole

    Those are great tips Cassie, and I appreciate you putting things in perspective.
    I am a stay at home mom, and a total OCD neat freak (my husband thinks it’s abnormal to have such a clean house). I also am a list maker – it really feels like I have acomplished something as I cross it off my list for the day! Your article though has made me think that I am not time managing well – when I had 1 child I definately could get more done in a day than I can now with 3 children. I need to clean less, and play more – and getting more sleep is something I really need to work on! Thanks for getting me thinking about how to make the most of my day!

  2. PFC

    Thanks for posting this. This is an awesome post. I just starting doing something similar to this to manage my time as i found that by Friday i was sooo stressed out and had nothing to show for it. But i was looking for ways to improve system.. this has helped soo much.. thanks again

  3. Stephanie

    The link for the weekly todo list doesn’t work.

  4. Family Fun Calgary

    I discovered your blog in a Calgary Herald news story about extreme couponing. Looking forward to reading your blog posts!

  5. Sara

    I love that you took the time to write this, I appreciate it alot. I am looking forward to trying a day to day planner to help with some of my anxiety with making sure I get everything done!! Thanks again

  6. Cassie Howard

    Nicole: My husband thinks the same way. 😉

    PFC: I’m so glad this has been helpful to you. 🙂

    Stephanie: Whoops, sorry about that! I fixed it.

    Family Fun Calgary: Welcome! 🙂

    Sara: My pleasure, for sure.

  7. Pauline

    I am so glad that I decided to check my e mail b4 heading to bed. After a tiresome day which had me feeling as if I could not do a single thing, your email was just the ticket I needed to remind me that I am not alone in feeling that life is out of control some days. I am going to print this post and remind myself that it can be done with prioritizing.
    Thank you so much

  8. Jen

    These are definitely some great tips Cassie! I love visiting your website all the time, now that I feel like I have the time! My husband and I are expecting our first child at the end of August, and being the busy bee that I am, I always try to find things to occupy my time. Getting ready for a newborn is definitely like having a new job, but I agree with you that taking each day to be productive is a lot more positive than trying to do things all at once into the wee hours of the night!

    Please keep your articles coming, and pass along any tips I could use to help keep my time (and wallet) full!


  9. Cassie Howard

    Pauline: I’m so glad that I could help. You are definetely not alone!

    Jen: As much as I enjoyed being a night owl, I did not enjoy the lack of work that was accomplished, haha.

  10. Michelle

    I love your great organizing ideas and your great deals that you send me. As a professional organizer I am always looking for new and different ways to help my clients.Your site is interesting and fun.
    Keep up the good work and sending me the emails
    Michelle 🙂

  11. Maurene

    My daughter bought me a day planner 5 yrs ago. I was insulted at first, thinking it was a crack about my age! 5 years later, I don’t make a move without it! It is the lifeline to my sanity. Your site is now helping me to go one step further, learning how to live with and on less. Retirement is slowly shifting from a long term goal, to a short term goal. Thanks!

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