Not all of these will be applicable to your life — choose the ones you can apply and give them a try:
Take a time out. You physically block time out on your calendar. Block off at least an hour. Several hours or half a day is better. A whole day would be awesome. A weekend would be even more ideal. This year I’m challenging myself to block off one weekend per month to just do whatever the heck I want!
How would you get to where you’ve always wanted to be? What do you enjoy doing, but don’t have enough time to do? What things actually fill up your day? Are there things you could drop or minimize to make more time? We’ll look at some of these things in the following items, but it starts with taking a time out to think and plan.
What are your non-negotiables? What is it that you love to do? Make a short list of 4-5 things. These are the things you want to make room for.
I make my non-negotiables so simple that I can EASILY do them without much effort.
How are you wasting time? I’m so guilty of this and this one of my biggest goals for this year. I’m working on, not letting the day to get away from me. How much time will your non-negotiables? Take a close look at these things and really think about whether they’re necessary, or if there are ways to reduce, minimize or eliminate these things. Sometimes you do things because you assume they’re necessary, but if you give it some thought you can find ways to drop them from your life. What are straight up timewasters? — maybe too much social media, Netflix, too many coffee dates, scrolling through email. You’re going to want to minimize these time-wasters to make room for the more important stuff, the stuff that makes you happy and that you love to do.
Schedule the time. As you sit down and think about your life and what you want to do, versus what you actually do. The goal is to find ways to free up time. Each week sit down with a blank weekly schedule (you can just write it out on a piece of paper or use your calendar) and assign blocks for the things you love — the stuff on your essentials list. If you want to exercise, for example, when will you do it? Put the blocks of time on your schedule and make these blocks the most important appointments of your week. Schedule the rest of your life around these blocks. I do this weekly and it’s been the best thing ever. This way I don’t skip a workout.
Consolidate. We live in a busy world. There are many things you do. Consolidate your time. Instead of running one or two a day, do them all in one day to save time and gas. Email can be HUGE time suck! Pick 1-2 times/during the day and batch process your email instead of checking and reading and responding throughout the day.
Cut out meetings. 67% of all executives consider meeting to be a waste of time. Meetings take up a lot of time to get across a little information, or to make easy decisions that could be made via email or phone. This may be asking the meeting organizer if you can get the info in other ways. If so, you’ve saved yourself an hour or so per meeting (sometimes more).
Declutter your schedule. I use to jam pack my day and it left very little for fun or spontaneity! You are going to have to weed out your schedule so that it’s not so jam-packed. Find the stuff that’s not so essential and cancel them. Leave big blank spaces in your schedule.
Re-think your routine. Often we get stuck in a routine that’s anything but what we really want our days to be like. Is there a better way of doing things? You’re the creator of your life — make a new routine that’s more pleasant, more optimal, more filled with things you love.
Learn to say no. No is a complete sentence. You can easily say no without coming up with an excuse. How many times have you said yes and really regretted it. This is where I challenge to go with your gut and break free of the people pleasing so that you have a little more time freedom for yourself.
Keep your list to 3. This was a game changer for me!! If you were like me you’d have a to do list as long as your arm! Then feel disappointed when you didn’t get it all done!! Over the past few years I started to make my to do list only have three Most Important Tasks that I want to accomplish that day. By keeping my task list small, I’m getting the most important stuff done but not overloading myself.
Do your Biggest Frog first?
Delegate. Don’t feel like you need to do everything yourself. You can delegate work that is not in your zone of genius or things you just don’t want to do – cleaning your house, laundry or cooking meals. If you run your own business it could outsourcing administrative tasks. Delegating allows you to focus on the core tasks and projects you should be focusing on.
Unplug. My most productive times are when I’m disconnected from the “grid”. Now, I’m not saying you need to be disconnected all the time, but if you really want to be able to effectively complete tasks, disconnect so you can really focus. Set certain times of the day for connectivity, and only connect during those periods.
Mornings are my JAM. It’s where I set the tone for the day. I start by working out or taking a nice long walk. Then I journal. I keep my morning loose and try not to schedule anything before 10am. When I do start my day, I put my essentials (aka my big rocks) first. How do you start your day?
Your evenings. The time before you go to bed is also golden, as it exists every single day, and it’s usually completely yours to schedule. I have bedtime ritual to help set me up for the next day and also helps me to relax into having a great night’s sleep. What do you want to do with this time? Read? Spend time with your kids? Work on a hobby you’re passionate about? Take advantage of this time.
Lunch breaks. If you are still working in corporate or even if you work for yourself, I encourage you to take a lunch break. You can use this time to exercise or work on an important personal goal or project.