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Time is our most valuable resource and also the only non-renewable one. We all have the exact same time in a day to get everything done. If this is true, why do some people manage to get more accomplished each day than others?
The truth: some people unknowingly sabotage their own productivity.
They waste time without even realizing it, then wonder how they can get things done with the “limited” time they have. Their time isn’t limited though. They just need to figure out what’s causing them to lose time and then manage it.
This series is being posted to do just that. We’re going to identify the common time suckers, figure out how to halt them, then check out attitudes about them.
Week 1: Discovering Common Time Suckers & Identifying Our Own
Week 2: Looking at Our Own Timetables to See What’s Actually Getting Done
Week 3: Checking Our Attitude & Our Schedule, Becoming More Mindful of our Time
Welcome to week 3
Check your attitude
If you don’t believe you have control over your own time, you won’t quite frankly.
- Eliminate time wasters
- Gain more time
- Get more done
When it comes to time, it can be challenging to develop an abundance mindset. Not only can you eliminate time wasters, but with smart delegation, you can buy more time.
Go to bed on time
It might seem counterproductive when you want more time but getting enough rest gives you the energy to get things done.
Head to bed on time, get the hours you need to be at your best (research suggests 7-9).
When your mind is clear and you’re not sleepy, you’ll be more productive and have the ability to zip through your to-do list faster.
be honest about how you spend your time
Time to get real with yourself.
It’s so easy to say that you don’t have time for things.
Aside from self-care, if you’re spending excessive amounts of time:
- On the internet
- Watching TV
You’re doing things that do not lead you toward meeting your responsibilities and realizing your life’s goals.
You can do better.
Organize Tasks by priorities
Over time, it has become the Time Quadrant and made more popular by Stephen R. Covey, who wrote the book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (See link at bottom of post to find).
Essentially, you need to organize tasks in one of four quadrants so you can determine how you should schedule it.
- Quadrant 1: Important and Urgent – This includes things like a crisis, projects with deadlines, and pressing problems.
- Quadrant 2: Important and Non-Urgent – This includes tasks like building good relationships, new opportunities, and recreation.
- Quadrant 3: Not Important and Urgent – These include issues like emails, phone calls, meetings, interruptions, and especially things happening now when you’re trying to do something else.
- Quadrant 4: Not Important and Non-Urgent – These types of tasks are often called busy work and can include calls, emails, fun games, water cooler chats, and are usually time wasters.
*I included a quadrant worksheet in the Time Sucker Bundle at the end of this post.
get up at the same time every day
When you go to bed and get up at the same time each day, you avoid getting too much or too little sleep.
That creates a situation where your mind and body get used to functioning at the time you need it to.
Also, it gives you the same amount of time each day to be super productive.
Take the time to take a deep breath.
In through your nose on a count of four, slowly – now hold it in, count to four, and then slowly let the air out of your mouth on a count of four.
This is a great way to center yourself before each task (or in the middle of an overwhelming task, if you need to).
Once you identify tasks that can be delegated to others, find a way to get that done.
In some cases, you can delegate tasks to family members.
There is nothing wrong with getting help from the family (especially for family-related things) so you might want to set up a family meeting and discuss what needs to be done.
Everyone in the family needs to take part in whatever it takes to run a household in accordance with their age (I included a Family Task List & Chore Charts in the Time Sucker Bundle – link at bottom of post).
For some things, you might want to consider hiring someone.
Spending money is often a roadblock when it comes to delegating.
However, you may even save money.
Example: ordering groceries for delivery. You might have the additional charge, but it frees up a couple hours to work or get other things done.
Seems like it’s a win-win and you end up saving.
Schedule things realistically
Once you have a clear list of things you need to do (with deadlines) you can learn to schedule everything realistically.
- Batch your tasks
- Use your time wisely
- Combine efforts so you don’t spend too much time in the car
Example: drop off your dry cleaning when you’re going to pass it already anyway instead of making an extra trip.
Don’t even bother to schedule time wasters!
Always add high-value tasks over low-value tasks.
High-value tasks move you closer to your goals.
Low-value tasks do nothing to advance your goals and might even pull you backwards.
plan your day the night before
Set a 15 minute time block each evening to go through and plan your day. If you already have things blocked in, go over them to make sure you have enough time.
Look at your master schedule so that you can see what you need to do at a glance, and then organize it in order of importance.
Do the most important tasks first.
Cross things off your schedule
When you accomplish your tasks on any given day, mark it off.
This provides you with another look at your schedule and calendar, so you don’t forget anything. Plus how good does it feel to to check something off your list? YAY!
The more you focus on feelings of accomplishment, the more motivated you’ll be to keep going.
Utilize your gap times
No matter what you do, you’re going to find that you have some gap times in your day.
- Waiting in lines
- Waiting for appointments
- Waiting to pick up kids at school or practice
Sometimes you know when you’re likely going to have to wait on something. Sometimes it will be a surprise.
Keep something with you that enables you to be productive during gap times.
- If you knit, bring your knitting.
- If you read, bring your reading.
- If you are a writer, you can bring your laptop or notebook.
It’s up to you what you do during gap times, but it’s also a great time to be productive.
Your goals will usually dictate how you choose to spend your gaps.
let go of guilt
One problem people often experience when they try to get rid of time-suckers is guilt.
No one wants to try to explain to their mother why they cannot talk for an hour every single day at 3pm.
However, know that guilt is a wasted emotion.
Make a choice to do things or not do things and just let go of the blame.
One other way to get more time in your day is by trying to arrive at every appointment you have 15 minutes early.
That might add gap time to waiting, but you have a plan for that.
More than likely, it’s going to ensure that you are on time, not rushed, and due to that keep, your mind functioning at a high level.
If you find that you are procrastinating on doing anything, you have to dig deep into the why of it.
- Organize things better
- Set a deadline
- Cut out all distractions
- Get the thing done as quickly as possible
If you are the one who must do it, and you absolutely cannot delegate it or outsource it, put that thing you hate doing upfront and just get it done as fast as you can.
It might help to incentivize these types of tasks.
Reward yourself for sticking to your schedule.
- Social media
All can be substantial time-suckers, but that doesn’t mean you should never participate in them. Of course, you should!
However, when you are doing it, do it with purpose.
Know how long you’re going to spend. Set a timer if you need to.
Make it a fun event and not something you do out of habit.
Be Done When you're done
One thing about being productive and managing your time better is that it is crucial to accept that certain roadblocks lead to wasting time:
As long as the towels get folded, it doesn’t really matter if they’re not folded the way you usually do them.
It’s alright that the report was formatted slightly different from how you’d have done it if it’s what the client wants.
It’s fine that dinner was delivered tonight instead of made from scratch.
It’s okay to say you’re done when tweaking something doesn’t really change the substance anymore.
Let go and accept being done, and you’ll discover so much more time in your day.
For most people, the first step toward eliminating time sucks is to identify and acknowledge them and then work toward replacing them with:
- Goal setting
- Decisive action
The ball is in your court.
Get your ideas/ thoughts down on paper during this post series.
- Lined Pages: Notes, Thoughts & Ideas
- Circles: Notes, Thoughts & Ideas
- Squares: Notes, Thoughts & Ideas
- Graph Paper: Notes and Doodles (2)
Organizing (Online & Offline)
Trello is my go-to organizer. I use it for EVERYTHING business-related or personal. For business, I use it to map out my social media and blog content. I add relevant links and lists. Check it out to see how it can help you!
My go-to Paper Planner. There is a ton of space to map out your goals, reflect on the month and plan, plan, plan. I prefer the large planner (8.5×11), but they come in half-size now too. Check them out at the link above. You will LOVE them!
The best used bookstore on the web! Here is a great place to start looking for: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R Covey. Bonus: you get points for every book you purchase, which you can cash in for a free book.
- Reference Books
- DVDs & CDs