I’ve taken on many new titles and responsibilities over the last five years in my life that have forced me to get more strategic with my time, but when I really think about it – time was always something I was good at mastering. I’d be lying if I said that I make the most out of every hour, every day, because just like you many days I lack focus, energy, or the willpower to get done everything I said I’ve wanted to. But, I do try my best to tackle the time and tasks that need to be handled head on so that when I look back, I’m proud of the progress I’ve made and how wisely I’ve used my time. Here are some adaptable ways that I’ve used to maximize my time week after week –
Start With What You’ll Want to Avoid
What is the one, two, or even three things that you know you’ll want to put off every single day if you get the chance? Those are the things you should jump out of bed and do before you get the chance to change your mind. That may be going to the gym, editing photos for an upcoming blog post, or copying and pasting cells in a spreadsheet until your eyes cross, or whatever else your day-to-day tasks may include that you’ll dread and are less likely to complete. Most mornings when I get to my desk, I will start with the largest task that will take me the most concentration and time. Once I know that’s out of the way, it’s smooth sailing.
Set Time Constraints
You’d be surprised how inaccurately we gauge how long it’s going to take us to do one small task. For instance, typing a professionally written email pitch is a task we think we can crank out in ten minutes. Yet once we’ve added all we’ve wanted to say, done enough Googling to ensure our stats are accurate and included information that will help support what we’re asking for, an hour has passed. It’s not just work tasks – setting a timer for a quick tidy up or agreeing to work on a blog post for thirty minutes straight with no distractions or interruptions is a game changer.
Consider To-Do Lists Your Accountability
We not only write things down to remember them, we write them down to refer back to them and make sure that they happen. I write down as much as I can; personal goals, things that are due, things that need to be taken care of or paid and even items that need to be picked up the next time I’m at Target. You’d be surprised how accomplished you will feel when you have a list of completed tasks to refer to at the end of the day or week.
Routines Are Your Friend
Having some type of routine everyday has changed my life for the better. If I know for a fact that every single day I’m going to likely wake up early, get in some type of movement, have a cup of coffee and a healthy breakfast and then start work; whether that be my corporate job or emails and blog tasks – I know that I’m tending to everything that’s most important on a daily basis. What does a productive day look like for you? Creating routines are taxing in the beginning, but once they’re in place they truly become second nature and something you’ll be glad you did.
Prepare on Sundays, Crush Mondays
I used to live for Sunday Funday, as if being out on Friday’s and Saturday’s wasn’t enough. But being out until 8 or 9 pm on a Sunday, coming home tipsy and knocking out before I’d done anything to prepare for my week would not serve me with where I am now. I use my Sunday’s as a day to do everything I can to help the week ahead of me run smoothly. I’ll make sure I have food to eat, clean clothes to wear, a clean home to come home to and a clear mind to tackle the weeks tasks with. When Monday rolls around, I can hit the ground running without hiccups but I took the time out to prepare.
Add Hours to Your Day
99% of the people I know will say that they don’t have enough time in their day, when it’s generally just how we’re spending it that’s the problem. When I first started blogging, I needed more time in every day to do tasks that were new to me. I started waking up earlier, so that I could get to the office earlier and publish blog posts before anyone got there. A few years later, I wanted to get fit, but still needed time to focus on my brand and blog, so I started waking up at 5 am to get a workout in before I started everything else my day would require. You either stay up later, or you wake up earlier – these are the only ways to extend the hours you have each day. I was neither a morning person or a night owl, but it didn’t take much trial and error for me to recognize that getting comfortable waking up earlier was more ideal for me than staying up late. I could wake up earlier and be productive, but I couldn’t stay up past 10 pm and be productive. There’s nothing more that I want to do than be in bed before 10 pm.
If You Can, Pay for Convenience
There are weeks where I reach my limit well before I’ve done all that needs to be done. And I don’t even have kids yet! I will happily pay for things that save me time when I need it most. Whether it’s a housekeeper or a grocery delivery (both I will and have paid for), finding some wiggle room in your budget to pay to make life easier will help you sleep better at night.
These tips are what work best for me. And by no means does that mean I’m entirely productive on a daily basis! If you have any tips that really work for you, please share them below!