I love talking about the topic of time and resources. We have the same amount of time in a day as Beyonce and Warren Buffett. Let that sink in. We also have a lot of excuses as to why we can’t this and can’t that, and the number one excuse is likely, “I don’t have time.”
Guys! It’s not about having more time. It is about prioritizing things in our life to create the space and time. I work full-time, run two business and a blog, and I still find time to work out almost every single day and eat dinner with my husband. I literally want to print out a t-shirt with the word “priorities” written across the chest.
All of that said, when coach Linda reached out about providing a guest post to the blog, I jumped on the phone with her to chat about making the time to do things that will move you towards your long-term goals. Small tiny steps forward add up. Maybe you only squeeze out 30 minutes a day to work on your blog because your kid is sick, the dog just threw up on the floor, and your boss dumped a fire in your lap. Then make that 30 minutes the most productive, efficient, focused 30 minutes of your day and get something done that will help you move forward.
Alright, I’ll let coach Linda take it from here.
Making the Most of Our Scarce Time
Each and every one of us, whether we manage a household, a business, or simply a life are conscious of time. It’s our scarcest resource, otherwise, why would we say “I don’t have time” all day long?
Sure, sometimes we say it because we don’t want to do something, but more often, it’s because there’s no more room on our plate for anything requiring time. But what if that wasn’t true? What if we could find more time?
I know what you’re thinking. Time is finite. There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and 365 days in a year (except leap year). That’s all we get, isn’t it?
The truth is, it isn’t how much time we have, but how we use it. For example, take an average day. Maybe you get up at your usual time, make the bed, shower, get dressed, have breakfast, and leave for work.
- Do you do each task with razor-sharp efficiency, or do you stop to check social media, or stand in front of the mirror examining another wrinkle or gray hair?
- Do you linger over your morning coffee while gazing off into space daydreaming about something-or-other?
- Do you have kids who unerringly throw a wrench into anything resembling a tight schedule, or do you allow for those delays?
No matter how hard we try to stick to a schedule or how efficient we might be, stuff happens. It could be a spill you have to clean up before you leave, or unexpected traffic on the freeway. It could be an unexpected call you have to take. The list is endless, but the fact is, life is full of delays, distractions, and interruptions.
Maximizing Our Time
How do we make the best use of the time we have? We could:
- Get up earlier
- Try to multi-task
- Hire help
- Create a schedule and refuse to deviate no matter what
- Break our day into time blocks
But sleeping less won’t make us more efficient. More than likely, it will make us tired, cranky, and irritable. And when it comes to multi-tasking, studies have proven it actually makes us less efficient because we have to spend time re-focusing on the task at hand after turning our attention away for even a minute or two. And lastly, hiring help isn’t always practical or feasible. Which leaves the last two options.
Where Does Your Time Go?
In order to create any kind of schedule, we have to get a handle not only on how we use our time each day, but where the time sucks are. You know, the places where time disappears, and we have no idea where it went. The first step is to track your activities for a few days so you can see where time is slipping away from you.
Once you know where your time goes and where you can stop it from leaking away, you’ll be able to schedule your day to allow for interruptions, delays, and change of plans without losing your mind. And you can still get all the important things done. I’ve created a free tool to help manage your schedule and start reclaiming some time, you can grab it here!
Doing More of What We Want To
We tend to overload ourselves, feeling we have to do it all, but we truth is, we really don’t. Once we get a handle on how much time is available after doing the “have to’s” (and this includes time for self-care), we’ll have a much clearer idea of how much time is left for “want to’s”, and more importantly, justification for saying no to things we don’t want or need to take on.
We’ll be able to look at our calendar and say with all sincerity: I really can’t take anything more on right now. We’ll be able to determine approximately how long the extra task will take, adding in padding for the inevitable delays and crises because we looked at the things we already do and know not only how long they should take, but where slippage occurs.
Miranda’s Two Cents
I wanted to highlight a couple of the things Linda mentioned because they have completely changed my productivity and stress levels. First thing, multi-tasking does not get you anywhere. I quit multi-tasking a couple months ago and holy smokes, I get SO MUCH DONE, and I get it done by blocking off all distractions and focusing on one task at a time. It amazes me how much I can get done simply by focusing.
Time Blocking & Batch Working
Next, I want to bring back up time blocking because I think it goes hand in hand with focusing on one task at a time. You have to block your day into chunks and during that chunk of time ONLY work on the task you set out to work on. Don’t check Instagram, answer an email, make a phone call, or start working on a different project. Use that block of time for what you planned to accomplish. You will be amazed how quickly you can get things done when you focus. I have an entire blog post on time blocking here.
Ask for Help
Moreover, I don’t want to diminish the mention of getting help. I know it might not be feasible to hire help, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t help out there available to you. I talk a lot about this in my post on running a “side business.” There is no way in hell I could do everything that I do alone. I have a marketing assistant, a photographer, and a husband that does more housework and cooking than me (definitely cooking, but maybe not housework).
If you are anything like me, you want to spend your time wisely as well as doing things you love. Linda has a free resource to help you take back your time. You can access it here!
Linda is a business and lifestyle strategist, female entrepreneur, author, motivator, speaker, and change-maker. Women hire her to help them unpack their hidden suitcases because most aren’t sure of how to outsmart or overcome the fears and end up disillusioned and unsure of where to go. She mentors them so they gain clarity, confidence and the direction they need to create the life they want.