There are two things I used to find myself saying almost every day:
“I wish there were more hours in a day, week, year, etc…”
“I wish I could clone myself.”
There never seemed to be enough time to get everything done!
I was stressed out and overwhelmed by my to-do lists, putting intense pressure on myself to accomplish all these tasks. That was my Type-A personality at work, thinking that I had to get everything done.
I was at the mercy of my to-do lists. I felt powerless.
Until my life coach pointed out that I could reclaim my power. I learned that I am at choice about the actions I take and how I manage my time. This helped alleviate the overwhelm I’d been feeling.
Can you relate?
Maybe you’re also feeling overwhelmed with life, especially with the uncertainty of the coronavirus situation. You might wish there was more time in the day to get everything done.
But here’s the real problem.
If you’re not managing your time properly by getting the right things done, more time would do little to ease your stress.
Instead of wishing for more time, the trick is getting better at utilizing the time you already have. That means learning how to use your time effectively.
Here’s how to do that in three easy steps…
How to Use Your Time Effectively: Fulfill Your Priorities and Still Have Time to Enjoy Your Life
Step 1: Identify Your Priorities
Effectiveness is the art of getting the right things done. Efficiency, on the other hand, is about getting things done more quickly.
So, it’s important that effectiveness comes first — and it starts with identifying your priorities.
#1 Pause and take stock of your life.
Are you living the life you want? Or were your goals left at the wayside?
Life can sometimes feel like a monotonous loop. If it seems like you’re not getting anywhere, maybe it’s time to reflect on your dreams and values.
Take a moment to notice where you are in comparison to where you want to be.
#2 Break the cycle.
What priorities do you want to manifest in your reality?
- Expressing your creativity (i.e. painting or writing)
- Living a healthier lifestyle (i.e. eating better and/or exercising)
- Changing your career path (i.e. returning to school or applying for a better job)
If you’re unsure of how to break the cycle, remember your priorities. Your priorities are your goals and they will guide you in creating the life you want.
#3 Align Your Actions With Your Priorities.
Your priorities will steer you to do the right things.
Because not all tasks are created equal.
Sure, you may get a lot of things done but what if they aren’t the “right” things? If they don’t advance your goals, are you spending your time effectively?
If you’re not mindful, you may burn out by moving 100 things an inch instead of completing three priorities that move you forward a mile.
What priorities do you want to manifest in your life? Share one with me in the comments below.
Step 2: Make Time for Your Priorities
I don’t have enough time!
Knowing your priorities is one thing — but making time for them?
It’s challenging but here are some ways to make the most of the time you have:
#1 Create a Time Log
I encourage you to document everything you do in a single day and the time each task takes. Here’s how you can do it:
- Choose a time tracking system. This can be an agenda, a blank notebook, or a calendar app.
- Note the start time for each task. For this to work, note every single time you begin a new activity, like working, showering, or eating. This includes each time you get distracted, like checking your email or responding to a text.
- Record the end time for each task. Keeping track of when you end each task makes it clear how long it takes to accomplish it. You can use this information to assess whether you’re taking too long or if you need to dedicate more time to a specific priority.
Like a financial budget, this will help you understand where you’re spending all your time.
If you’re spending your days at home, it can be tempting to lounge on your couch and watch TV. Keeping a time log will expose all the time sappers that you engage in throughout your day.
The next two tactics are effective time management strategies that can help you create more time for your priorities…
#2 Eliminate Your Time Wasters
Do you waste 20 minutes snoozing your alarm in the morning? Or maybe you transform into a couch potato for three hours each evening.
Even small things like checking your phone every ten minutes can accumulate into an entire hour.
Identify your time-wasting habits.
Then either eliminate these activities or reduce the time you spend on them.
#3 Start Outsourcing
After eliminating your productivity sappers, see what tasks you can outsource.
For example, you can delegate more house chores to the kids when they’re home for the summer.
You only have 24 hours in a day.
If you try to tackle your never-ending to-do list alone you’ll quickly feel the signs of burnout.
Outsourcing lets you tap into other people’s time and energy pools. It frees up more time in your schedule.
You can then spend that time more effectively on the essential tasks that will advance your goals and help you create the life you envision.
Step 3: Do More, Save Time, and Enjoy Life More
When managing your productivity, you’ll want to spend your time effectively and efficiently.
After you identify the “right” things to do, you can focus on how to do them better.
Here are two tips to help you spend your time effectively and efficiently.
#1 Start Monotasking
A study by Dr. Sophie Leroy shows that multitasking creates attention residue. Each time you settle into a new task, you spend time and energy shifting your focus. While it may be a little at a time, it can quickly add up if you frequently shift back and forth.
Ditch your multitasking tendencies and start mono-tasking.
When you sit down to work, identify the task you’re working on and commit to a time frame:
- Over the next hour, I will work only on writing the three body paragraphs of this essay.
- Over the next 30 minutes, I will tidy up my home and workspace.
- Over the next 45 minutes, I will prepare for an upcoming teleconference.
Once you start mono-tasking, you’ll notice that you achieve higher quality results with greater speed.
#2 Schedule Time for Enjoyment
When you think about productivity, your mind probably jumps to time organization hacks.
Well, it’s time to widen your definition of productivity to include fun.
Efficiency is more than saving time. It’s also about using that extra time to enjoy your life — in these weighty times, we need fun and joy more than ever. That may include practicing self-care with scented candles and a bubble bath. Or that could mean finding ways to spend quality time with your loved ones, like with Vertellis or Table Topics conversation starter games.
A healthy balance of work and play is what nourishes your mind and body with the energy it needs to live your best life and achieve your goals. Without self-care, your performance suffers and you burn out — little gets done when you reach that point.
Yet, it’s difficult to relax when you’re stressed and overwhelmed. Racing thoughts and anxiety about the future thwart your every attempt to slow down and enjoy yourself.
If overwhelm is consuming your life, sign up for a COMPLIMENTARY “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session with me.
In this 60-minute consultation you’ll:
- Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you no longer have so much on your plate and are enjoying your life again
- Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your symptoms of overwhelm
- Tap into greater energy and inspiration
- Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.