Do you ever feel like life is not only busy, but too busy? Lately I have been running at a frenetic pace, which has left me feeling exhausted and stressed. Almost to where I am longing for the Safer-At-Home Covid days . . . (almost).
However, I woke up this morning determined to take a deep breath, refocus, and make the most of each minute I have. Over the many years as a health coach and business owner, I have learned a thing or two about time management that has helped me in times of high stress, but I needed a little reminding.
Since I was reviewing these strategies for myself, I thought I would also share them with you.
First, you must realize, you can’t really “manage” time. There are only 24 hours in a day (only 16 to work with if we are getting enough sleep each night)—that will not change. We only have control over what we do with the time we have.
The key is to choose wisely–and to do this, you must be clear about your priorities.
Here are 5 ways to make sure you are both efficient and effective with your time.
Know your priorities: Ask yourself–what is most important for me and my family right now? What are my health goals, career goals, family goals, and life goals? Simply just having clarity on what matters most will help you make the most of your valuable time. You’ve likely heard the saying, “if everything is important, then nothing is.” These words ring true to me today and the first step to feeling more in control of your time is to know what matters most.
Make a list: There are probably a million in one tools to help you stay organized and to list out all your priorities–everything from bullet journals to color coded planners that help you collate your “to do” list. Whether you want to get fancy with it or you simply just use pen and paper, make sure you have a dedicated place where you list all your “to do” items. Simply just getting it from your brain to the paper can make all your tasks feel way more manageable.
Prioritize: Another famous saying is, “where there is a will, there’s a way.” There’s a lot of truth in this statement too because we make room for what is important to us and even in extremely stressful times, we handle our most important tasks. With that said, we simply cannot do it all and some tasks are better delegated to someone else or forgotten altogether. Here’s a simple process to help you prioritize–the ABCDE system. Grab your “to do” list and place the corresponding letter beside each task.
“A” stands for “very important;” something you must do. There can be serious negative consequences if you don’t do it.
“B” stands for “important;” something you should do. This is not as important as your ‘A’ tasks. There are only minor negative consequences if we do not complete it.
“C” stands for things that are “nice to do;” but which are not as important as ‘A’ or ‘B,’ tasks. There are no negative consequences for not completing it.
“D” stands for “delegate.” You can assign this task to someone else who can do the job instead of you.
“E” stands for “eliminate, whenever possible.” You should eliminate every single activity you can to free up your time.
Time block: Instead of working by the clock, try to work by task. Focus on finishing small and big tasks one at a time by finding blocks of time throughout your day and your week to focus on specific tasks. Try to stay focused on the task at hand for the specified amount of time before switching to other tasks. Block out distractions (hello Do Not Disturb on your phone), and schedule more challenging tasks for times of the day where you feel you are at your best and sharpest. Work smarter instead of harder to limit distractions, get things done faster without feeling so overwhelmed and scattered.
Consider your mindset: When you look at time, do you look at it as time spent or time invested? That may seem like semantics, but it’s not…
When you spend (time/money/resources) ON something, your mindset is more focused on lack, limitation or waste. When you invest (time/money/resources) IN something, your mindset is more focused on abundance, growth, or getting/making things better.
What steps can you take this week to gain more control of your time? It is our most precious possession.