There are many basic time management skills that are helpful throughout one’s life: setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and planning your day, just to name a few. While the benefit of using these skills is ageless, our time management challenges may change as we age. The college graduate trying to juggle a full-time job while keeping up with an active social life may need a different approach to time management than the retiree who may have fewer external demands on their time.
Here are some time management tips broken down by the age group for which they may be most relevant – feel free to pluck from any age group the tips that may be helpful to you.
College graduate to age 30
- Just because you no longer have to track homework assignments doesn’t mean you don’t need a planning tool. Whether it’s your phone, a web-based calendar or a paper planner, use something to keep track of appointments and remind you of things you need to get done.
- Establish a recurring time to manage your finances (e.g., Sunday evening). Use this time to balance your checkbook, review your credit card statement, and pay your bills.
- Be on time – your friends may have been willing to wait, but the work world is less forgiving. Calling or texting to say you’ll be late doesn’t absolve you from your obligation to be on time.
Age 30 to 40
- You may be juggling work and caring for young children. As exhausting as that may be, make time for friends and family, including a regular date night with your significant other – it will help keep your relationships strong.
- Prioritize and schedule tasks so you get things that require uninterrupted time done while the kids are otherwise occupied.
- Don’t underestimate what help your kids are able to provide around the house – choose age- and skill-appropriate chores for them.
Age 40 to 50
- Be mindful of how many activities you allow your children to participate in. If they’re overscheduled and you spend all your free time chauffeuring them to activities, nobody will be happy.
- Schedule time for your family to eat together – there are lots of benefits. If you can’t eat dinner together as often as you’d like, try a family breakfast or lunch on the weekend.
- If you don’t participate in them already, explore hobbies, recreation or volunteer activities that will be of interest once your kids leave home (yes, that day will come!). It will help reduce your anxiety about transitioning into the empty nest phase.
Age 50 to 60
- Your kids may be leaving home, so the crazy busy life you once had has become less demanding. Remember those hobbies, recreation and volunteer activities you were exploring in the age 40 to 50 phase? Sign up for a relevant class, join a team, or jump into a volunteer activity now that you have more time.
- You may finally have time to organize those bulging boxes of photos. Schedule time for the kids to help you enjoy the memories as you sort, pare down and archive them.
- Remember the friends and family you were making time for during the Age 30 to 40 phase? Now you may have time to plan more frequent or extensive activities with them.
Age 60 and beyond
- You may be facing the demands of caring for aging parents. As challenging as it may be, block out time to care for yourself so you can renew and refresh. This resource may help you navigate the rocky world of caregiving.
- If you’re retired, you may suffer from “I’ve got all day syndrome” which means there’s no sense of urgency to your day. Write some goals for yourself to help give some direction to how you spend your time (e.g., garden 2 days a week, call one friend or family member every day, learn that complicated piano piece you’ve always wanted to play (oh wait, that’s my goal!), etc.).
- Maybe it’s time to celebrate that you don’t have to adhere to much of a timetable – enjoy waking up and doing whatever your mood dictates. Just make sure you’re doing the essentials, like paying your bills on time.
Wishing you success in using your time in ways that are most beneficial to you, no matter your age.