How many things have you put off because you “didn’t have time”? But then you see other people still able to do what you want to be doing and then you realize “we have the same amount of time, everyone does!” In all the excuses I hear, not having enough time, is definitely the most used.
I thought I would share with you a few things to give yourself some time back and to be able to do the things you want to do. Now I know that I strive off structure and not everyone does, but structure does allow for an increase in productivity so just hear me out!
- Once a week, I prefer Sundays, look at your calendar(s), your work calendar, kids' activities, personal calendar all of it and plan out what time is accounted for. For example, Monday nights soccer 6-8, Meetings Tuesday 8am-11am and 2:00pm-4:30pm, Hair appointments Friday at 5:30 etc. Start thinking about the logistics of who needs to be where when etc. Now write in your calendar the time you are going to dedicate to the task you want to get done. For example, workout, date night, meditation, etc. And schedule it like you would any other event in your week. Now follow the calendar like you do for everyone else’s activities and needs.
- Be productive not busy, do the hard things first. Yes, you heard me right. We all have to-do lists (even if they are not written out in a cute little planner). We tend to procrastinate on the hard or the most important tasks so that we can check off things as if we did a “good job” completing more items. But if we are not doing what really needs to be done, the things with the most impact we are just check task off to be “busy” and not productive. If you need to rank your to-do list most productive (biggest result, probably hardest) to easy, not important, time sucker tasks.
- Automate more things in your life. I have really started focusing on this over the last 5 years and it truly has given me so much time back in my day, week, month. I rarely walk into a store anymore. I used to love going grocery shopping but having my groceries delivered is one less task I need to do on the two days I have with my family. I also buy all other items online. Now I am a planner and rarely (might even say never) am a last-minute shopper so I can order all gifts online and not have to go into a store. I have actually found ordering my groceries saves me money because I make the list, plan the meals, and there is no option to put other items in my cart. It also helps me stay focused on healthier food options because I am not tempted by seeing all the “treats” as I shop.
- Decrease the number of decisions you make. If you have ever had of decision fatigue you need to simplify the things you can simplify. This is another area I have focused on over the last 5 years to gain time back but also reduce stress. Think about some daily decisions you make that you could simplify. I don’t know about you but after a day at work I do not want to be asked another question or have to make another decision. So, there are a few things that I no longer have to think about because I have taken the decision out of it. I don’t eat breakfast because I fast, I eat the same lunch every day, so I don’t have to think about it. I use iBod (formally Beachbody) for my workouts, so I don’t have to develop my own workout routines. I have 5 different dinners I eat that we rotate again no thinking involved. I used a meditation app that I have “favorites” so I just have to pick one. I also layout workout clothes and my work outfit the night before so in the morning there is no decisions to be made. When you automate task and reduce decisions your brain does not have to use it’s energy on these small things and there for you have more energy for the important stuff.
- Limit the amount of time you spend on your phone and/or TV. I know you have heard this before, but we spend hours on our devices and don’t even realize it and then say, “I don’t have time to _____________” (fill in the blank.) I understand mindless scrolling relaxes a lot of people, but it is also a time sucker, so as long as you don’t use the excuse “I don’t have enough time” when you can’t accomplish what you want to accomplish then you can spend more time on your electronics. You could also put some rules into place like I only watch TV when I am doing cardio, I only get on social media when I have completed the “hard” task for the day, I will only scroll through my phone for 30mins a day, etc.
I hope these tips give you some good ideas and things to think about. I know some of them are not easy but when you go to bed at night and feel like your day was productive you sleep better not worrying about what you didn’t get done.
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