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June 17 - Pare Down your Priorities: Your challenge today is to trim down your to-do list!

Have you ever taken time to think about what you value in your life? Do you value your family, your health, your financial security? Most of us get caught up in the daily grind of work, kids, family, and to-dos and don’t ever reflect on what really matters to us. Today, your challenge is write down the five things you value most in your life. Then, think about how you’ve spent your time, energy and finances over the last month, and decide if your actions are actually reflecting your values.

Why should we do this? Because you can’t be everything to everyone. How we spend our time and our money should reflect what we value. I think we can all agree we all have too much to do and not enough time. Lack of time is the scapegoat for stress, poor relationships, bad finances and not exercising. In order to maintain your health and happiness, it’s important that your life is in harmony with your values. When your everyday actions contribute to your priorities, you can be sure you’re spending your time on what matters most.

As a mom of a busy two year old, a wife to a teacher and basketball coach, the General Manager of Saint Mary’s Fitness Center and a recent graduate of the UNR Master’s of Public Health Program, I am constantly prioritizing my time so that I can be efficient and effective in all the roles I juggle. It’s not easy and I am not perfect at it, but I will share with you the method I use to pare down my priorities and manage my time.

Step 1- Create a To Do List: Brain storm everything that needs to be done for the week every Sunday, and for the next day each evening. This is where you MUST take the time to evaluate if your to-dos are in line with your values. If it is not in line, then reconsider whether or not it needs to be done. This should include goals you wish to accomplish, obligations to work, chores, appointments and errands.

Step 2- Prioritize Your To-Do List: Take 10 minutes each evening to write down the list of things you need to accomplish the next day. Then, prioritize each item however you would like – highlighting, numbering, separate lists, etc. Take items off you can delegate to others or are not important.

Step 3- Invest in a GREAT planner: Write everything in it! When your write it down your mind is free to forget about it. After prioritizing, look at the appointments/engagements you have set for the next day. Estimate how long each task will take, recognize the priorities of the tasks, and schedule when you are going to execute your to-do list.

Tips for Planning: It is helpful to break up your day into half hour increments and look for gaps in your schedule. This allows you to be efficient and use time wisely, rather than waste time wondering where to start. For example, you can clean the house during nap time, workout after kids go to sleep, go to the bank on lunch break, or pay bills during baseball practice. Establish a routine so you can stay consistent to your priorities and eliminate stress.

Time management helps us make conscious choices, so we spend more of our time doing things that are important and valuable to us. It also allows us to be productive and efficient, and we can accomplish more with less effort and time. If you follow these simple steps you’ll find yourself accomplishing your most important tasks every day and in control of the events of your life!

I am Amanda LaTorre, General Manager at Saint Mary’s Fitness Center. I have experienced the struggle of prioritizing my time with attending graduate school full-time, working full-time, raising my two year-old daughter and supporting my husband’s goals as a full-time high school teacher and basketball coach.