What are the two most common excuses that keep people stuck from living their epic lives? One, “I don’t have enough money” and two, “I don’t have enough time.” Perhaps you’re the one who’s guilty of using these fictitious stories (I’ve for sure been there!). However, I’ve learned that there are actually easy solutions to both, but today let’s talk about time.
What I love most about time is that it’s a fair game because everyone in the whole world is granted the same amount of it. That’s right, when it comes to time we are ranked on the same playing field alongside some of the most productive and efficient people in the world, like Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, and the list could go on. So why is it that some people are conquering their 24 hours while others are still struggling to find them? What are these productive people doing differently to make the most of every minute?
I remember back in the day when I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, I felt stressed every single morning as I rushed out the door to get to class. Traveling from Santa Monica to Los Angeles was sure to present heavy traffic and leave me sprinting into lecture halls either barely on time or flat out late. One day it dawned on me, “why don’t you just leave 15 minutes earlier and stop doing this to yourself, Gina?”
What a concept, right?! It sounds so simple, but it made all the difference and it put me back in the game. Feeling empowered that my decisions could promote such ease, I started to investigate other ways in which I could leverage my time and live life effortlessly with more confidence. It became obvious that to lead an epic life, I would have to start honoring and respecting my own time as well as the time of others.
Here’s what I found:
- The calendar is Queen. It all starts and ends with a well-managed calendar. I now live by the rule that if it’s not on my calendar, it’s not happening. I schedule my calendar in advance so that I can see my week, budget enough time for obligations (and fun!), and know that I will have more than enough time to accomplish what I need to get done. Pre-calendar days, I would attempt to keep tabs in my mind, which made it easy to forget, lose track, or take on too much. Now I’ve made it my priority to consult my calendar in order to stay focused. Even my team knows to check my calendar ahead of time to schedule calls and meetings. By keeping my time organized, I no longer feel like I am racing the clock with every stroke of the hand.
- Delegate as fast and as quickly as you can. I see so many people that are too prideful to ask for help. They want to accomplish it all on their own, but end up feeling overwhelmed and defeated as a result, not accomplishing nearly as much as they could have. My go-to rule is to ask myself, “Is there anyone else that can do this?” and if the answer is yes, I make sure I delegate. This is a perfect solution for the tedious tasks that take up space- like emails, sorting through files, scheduling meetings, etc. They seem like little tasks, but when there are hundreds of them that come up in a day, it’s easy to lose valuable hours that take away from more pressing responsibilities.
- Commit and don’t quit. Make a list of what you are dedicated to completing in a day, week, month, and year and then commit to it! By setting short and long term goals you can better arrange the work that needs to be done to get there. The vision becomes clearer and you can calendar in the appropriate amounts of time to make it happen. By seeing the big picture and writing it out as a visual, only then can you achieve. When you don’t make a plan, it’s easy for small tasks to squeeze through and steal away your time and attention.
- Power OFF by 6/7 pm. When I became serious about living my epic life, I knew that wouldn’t come by continuing to work into late hours of the night, just to wake up before the sun to start all over again. Working 7 out of 7 days was no longer an interest of mine, either. By devoiding pleasure from our schedules, we rob ourselves of the true purpose of life- to enjoy. I made a promise to myself to power down by 6/7 pm daily so that I could enjoy something social and fun in the evenings and also get enough sleep. Having adequate amounts of relaxation and rest are absolutely essential for being more efficient.
- Stay in the zone. My final game-changing tip is to get laser-focused on whatever you are working on. If it’s in the calendar and you’ve made the time to get it done, then get it done. How many times have you set out to complete a task only to waste time getting distracted by just about anything- scrolling through Instagram, catching up on text messages, or chatting with a friend? Before you know it, an hour has passed by and all you have is one sentence to show for your case report, or maybe two calculations done on that spreadsheet. This is the art of procrastination, and the more you procrastinate the more the work will pile up, leaving no choice but to work late hours and into the weekends in order to make up for the lost time. Schedule out your tasks in ways you know will best serve you. For me, I know that if I have 10 hours worth of coaching calls, I’d rather complete them all in one day, when I have the momentum going and I am geared for that task. Some other people would prefer doing 2 hours every day, and that’s great, also! Use the knowledge of your own body clock to make those decisions.
With these fail-proof strategies, you will never be disrupting meetings by showing up late, apologizing for forgetting about obligations you committed to, or saying “I don’t have the time” ever again. You will become the master of the clock, using it to the best of your ability, and enjoying life to the fullest.
You will notice people begin to trust you more and will want to assist in your projects because they know you will show up and commit. The epic life truly is just a second away!