Have you ever wished there were more hours in a day? That thought crosses my mind more than it should. I honestly believe that we have enough time in our lives to do what we need to do, and that if we find ourselves always running to catch up, then we are doing too much. Like I always say, you should do one thing and do it well rather than trying to do 100 things poorly. But I also know all too much that things can quickly pile up and we can feel overwhelmed before we know it. We all have the same amount of hours in a day, but there are a few things we can do to maximize the time we have and make the most of it. Implementing just a few of these things into your routine will help you to feel like you are mastering your schedule better.
Be realistic when planning - I am the first to admit that I am an overachiever. I have lots of ideas and things that I want to do, and I want to do them all. But in reality, I am one person and I just can’t do everything (and we really shouldn’t do everything anyway). Instead of trying to plan a day packed full of 10 big projects to get done, work on 3-4 and be realistic with the amount of work you can get done in one day.
Tackle the most important tasks first - Some people work well this way and some don’t. But it often helps boost your productivity if you get the most important tasks out of the way first. Focus on the top priority items and make sure they get done before moving on to the smaller items.
Learn to say no - I know you’ve heard this before, and I’m sure I’ve said it a million times, but you can’t say yes to everything. Think through things before you commit to them and save your yeses for only those things that really matter.
Stop multitasking - I used to be the queen of multitasking, and I still can be when needed, but I have realized that multitasking actually hurts your productivity. Instead of putting all your effort towards one task and getting it done quicker (and probably better), you are splitting your attention between multiple tasks and it will end up taking longer to complete them.
Eliminate distractions - Put away your phone. Close the email. Get rid of anything in the room that will take your attention away from what you are doing. It will take you much less time if you sit down and pound it out than if you were checking Instagram every 10 minutes to see what you missed.
Take a break between tasks - Taking a break is good for your mind. If you’ve just spent an hour or so working on something, take a break to refresh your mind. Even if it is a 5 minute walk or a quick snack, do something that gets you moving and away from your work so you can go back to it feeling refreshed.
Focus on one task at a time (and forget about the rest of the list) - We’ve talked about multitasking and how you should focus on one thing at a time, but along with that is forgetting about the rest of your list. If you are working on one thing, but thinking about all the other things you need to do, your focus isn’t fully on what you need to do and you will be dreading everything else.
Less hustle, more grace - I’ve picked up this phrase from Rachel Heckmann, and it has become one of my favorites. This little phrase can offer so much for time management too. Instead of pressuring yourself to hustle all the time, give yourself some grace and hustle a little less.
Get organized - Creating an organized space will help you to feel more organized. If your space is cluttered, your brain will be too. You can easily lose time because you are unorganized. Start by organizing your surroundings so that you can be more productive with your time.
Use productivity tools - There is a big difference between being busy and being productive. Even if you feel like you’re always doing something, that doesn’t mean you are being productive with your time. Using productivity tools like this one will help guide you in maximizing your time.
Create a system for everything - I have created a process and system for everything that I do on a regular basis. By creating a routine, it becomes second nature to do it and you can do more of your common tasks without even thinking. It takes longer to think through the process in the beginning, but saves you so much time in the end.
Batch together related tasks - Another way to save time is by doing related tasks together. If you bath together things that are similar, you will be able to work smarter and quicker to get things done.
Value your time - If you don’t value your time, no one else will either. Value the time that you spend on tasks and only commit your time to things that matter. If you don’t value your time, then you will end up doing things that you don’t want to do.
Don’t procrastinate - This should be a given when it comes to time management, but it must be said. If you want to maximize your time, don’t put things off. By waiting until the last minute to do something, you will end up feeling rushed and stressed and not be able to focus well on the task at hand.
Set boundaries - Setting boundaries for your work and life helps to draw the line and define where you should be spending your time. If you know that you have X amount of hours to complete your work, you are more likely to work hard to be productive during that time.
Take care of yourself - We are all notorious for putting ourselves last. We think that if we take care of everyone and everyone else first we are doing the right thing. But ultimately, if you are ragged and worn down, you won’t be able to take care of others well. By taking care of yourself, you can dedicate your time to working hard to complete the things that need to be done without being slowed down by exhaustion or sickness.
Limit the things that drain you - Sometimes less is more. By keeping it simple and getting rid of the things that drain you, you will be able to spend your time doing the things that you actually love doing, which in itself is the best thing you can do with your time.
Need more help being more productive?
Check out the productivity guide in the shop for actionable steps to end the busy in your life.