Does it always astonish you at how fast your day goes? You feel like the days runs you, and you’d prefer it be the other way around. You make a little promise to yourself that tomorrow will be better. You will manage your time better. No more crazy chaos. Tomorrow you will be a multi-tasking queen—a master of your To Do list! Oh, I hear you. Time is one of our most important—yet most challenging—aspects of our lives to manage. Juggling multiple priorities, interruptions and the unexpected, it’s tough to get it all done in 24 hours. How can you make your day work for you? Leave stressed and frazzled you behind and be in awe of how much you can get done with these time management tips.
“If you don’t know exactly where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” – Steve Maraboli
Set goals. What are your top three goals for this year? If you are clear on your top three, you should be able to rattle them off your lips right now. If you are fuzzy on your top three, decide what they are right now and write them down. Clarity of goals helps you have laser-like focus on what you need to accomplish. Once you have your goals, write down the action steps to achieve each goal. Decide how much time each day you will devote to your top three goals.
“Start from wherever you are with whatever you’ve got.” – Jim Rohn
Busy doesn’t always mean productive. Are you getting your most important priorities accomplished or are you running around keeping yourself busy with minor things? As the saying goes, spend major time on major things, and minor time on the minor things. And don’t fill up your precious time just talking and brooding about how busy you are. That accomplishes nothing. Get going on the majors.
“There is nothing less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker
Schedule exercise like an appointment. When you get committed to exercising regularly, a day almost feels like it doesn’t count if you don’t get a workout in. To make exercise work with a crazy busy schedule, schedule it like an appointment you can’t miss. Figure out today the exact time when you will work out tomorrow, today. Then schedule it. And keep your appointment with yourself. Every time you do something you say you are going to do, you will raise your self-worth. If you value exercise, you will make the time. What could be more important than your own health?
“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” – Brian Tracy
Make Sunday a prep day. Okay, you have to eat. And meal prep can take some time, so take Sunday to plan for the week. I go to the grocery store on Sunday and stock up so I won’t have to make multiple trips throughout the week. I use Sunday to prepare food. I boil up some eggs, grill up some chicken breast, wash and cut up fruit and veggies and put it inside Tupperware containers. Sometimes I make a batch of quinoa or a recipe in the slow cooker to get a running start on the week. Need some healthy recipe ideas for your meal prep? Here you go!
“He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.” – Victor Hugo
Write down your daily plan. Don’t try and keep everything you have to do in your head. Get all of your to dos on to paper or on to your iPhone so you can get them out of your head. Make your To Do list for tomorrow before you go to bed tonight. Wake up and plow through your list. Having a written plan alleviates mental stress and keeps you on task. Rev up your motivation to cross those things off your list.
“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.” – Napoleon Hill
Track your accomplishments. Every time you work out, mark it on a calendar where you can see it. If you work out 20 times in one month, you will be motivated by that awesome number. Seeing tangible results of your commitment is motivating plain and simple. Notice your dedication by tracking your exercise.
“Concentration is the secret of strength.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Disconnect from the external. You can’t let external factors derail your productivity. Have a back-up plan for things that have a tendency to get you off track. Do you justify not working out when it’s cold outside? Get a workout DVD you can do indoors. Does your mood sometimes dictate how productive your day is? Practice disregarding temporary emotions and stay focused on what you need to get done. Soon you will be driven by your healthy habits instead of your fleeting moods. Here’s a quote I use for exercise motivation: “Get your mind out of the way so your body can do what it needs to do.” On those days that I don’t feel like working out, I just tell myself to disregard that inner dialogue, and go on auto-pilot. Once I get started, I’m all in!
“Lack of direction, not lack of time is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
Bundle your activities. Checking your email throughout the day—or obsessively as soon as a new email pops up in your inbox, eats tons of time. So does switching between tasks. Chunk everything that’s similar together. Try checking your email at certain times during the day and turn off your automatic notice that a new email has come in. (I literally will close my mac mail so I can focus on the task at hand.) You can lose time as you constantly switch between what you are currently working on and checking a new email. Bundle activities together to get more accomplished. Run all errands at the same time. Or schedule calls back to back.
Work your days backwards. Approach your day with the end in mind. How would you deem your day successful at the end of it? What needs to happen for you to have a sense of accomplishment and feel great when the day concludes? Identify the activities or projects at the start of your day so you have a written game plan for a successful day.
“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” – Stephen Covey
Forget about life balance. Who is this crazy person who started the concept of life balance anyway? Trying to achieve some perfect balance in your life is silly and it sets you up for failure. Life doesn’t unfold in some orderly fashion where your kids need you for a certain portion of the day and your work needs you for the other portion. Yes, I want you to have time for your family, your health, your job, your spiritual life and YOU, but it doesn’t have to be this perfect harmonious balanced thing. You will just end up frustrated. Purposefully imbalance your life so it leans in the direction of your priorities. Now doesn’t that feel better?
“One reason so few of us achiever what we truly want is we never direct our focus. We never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” – Tony Robbins
What is your best time management tip? Share below so everyone can benefit from your experience! And remember, we only go around once. Make your time count.