"Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week's value out of a year while another man gets a full year's value out of a week." Charles Richards
I doubt that there's a miracle step-by-step plan associated with improving time/ life management to suit each and every one of us. I do know what works for me, my friends and colleagues, which led to me creating this list. Pick those that resonate and activate them as you begin to lay down your goals and plans for 2018.
Some of these tips won't be new to you, but if you aren't doing them, then maybe it’s time to take action. It’s the doing that gets results. Don't let the simplicity of these steps fool you. It's the simple steps we take consistently that lead to the biggest results in the long term.
Even two or three small changes to the way you plan and use your time could free up enough hours to enable you to reach your goals and still have time for fun. When you plan, simplify, get organized and set boundaries to protect your time and space, life as you know it can improve dramatically.
Here are my top 16 strategies. Yes, I know it's a long list, bear with me and use what works for you. Enjoy!
•Buy a monthly planner. Being able to view a complete month on one page or screen can give you a better perspective of how to allocate your time most effectively. Decide how much time you're going to give this month for the important activities that are moving you towards your goals and a lifestyle you love. Block out chunks of time for those items first. Only then, slot everything else into the time remaining. And remember to block time for interruptions or you'll be chasing your tail.
•Take 10 minutes at the end of each working day to write an Action List for the following day. I think an 'action list' sounds much more energising than a 'to-do list', don't you? Put your 3 most important projects or tasks on there (I use a tiny whiteboard) When they’re done you can add more. Do NOT write a long list that won’t be completed. Hopefully you've planned out your month and know what needs to be done first. Trello works beautifuly with a monthly planner or simply use the Trello calendar.
•Time for YOU. Schedule time for yourself, your goals, passions and important relationships. If it's written down you're much more likely to honour the commitment and it makes it harder for others to sidetrack you or hijack your time. If you're a 'visual' person, think about colour coding different areas eg green for personal time, blue for work, red for fun. If you haven't used a Bullet Journal yet, check them out here. Don't get carried away, this has become a THING! and can end up wasting a lot of time if you’re creative.
•Learn to focus on one specific task before moving on to another. Jumping from one activity to another means no noticeable progress is made in any area. One strategy is to have a different focus area for each week - completing your website, painting a bedroom, reviving old friendships etc. Wouldn't it feel great at the end of the year to see 52 secondary (but significant) goals achieved? Alternatively, you could have a monthly focus and a dozen achievements to celebrate at year end. Let's face it, half of that would be brilliant!
•Remember the need for balance in your life. All work and no play as the saying goes.. Set aside time to go walking, listen to some great music, contact a friend, laugh out loud, relax. You'll be healthier, happier and more effective if your day includes a mixture of work and relaxation. Great ideas often come when we've switched off from the noise and problems.
•Simplify your wardrobe - let go of all the clothes, shoes and make-up you haven't worn in the last two years. Be honest - are you likely to wear them in the future? Or are you relying on losing 15 pounds or polyester coming back into fashion? The more clothes you have packed into your wardrobes, the more choices you have to make, the more time you will spend getting ready. Think about your personal 'brand' and choose pieces accordingly. Need help? Go here
•Simplify your relationships - let go of the people you don't even like or friendships you've outgrown, the people who drain your energy and waste your time. Why are you more worried about their feelings than your own? Nurture relationships with energetic positive people who will encourage and support you in your personal and professional development. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. How does that land?
•Implement simple systems. It's estimated that the average American wastes approximately two and a half days each year looking for things. Where do you keep phone numbers? On your phone or on the back of yesterday's newspaper? How easily can you put your hand on your passport, driving licence or last month's phone bill? How about resources you use in your business. Do you know exactly where everything is? Get on it! Your time is precious.
•Simplify your paperwork. How much paperwork do you have lying around, and how much are you holding onto "just in case"? Do you have to punch holes, or fiddle with ring binders before things can be put away? Chances are you put off filing until you have a spare hour - and how is that working? How about a simple concertina file you can drop papers into quickly or coloured plastic wallets for different bills, policies, investments and the like? Simplify and save time.
3. Get organized
•What tasks are worthwhile sub-contracting out? Does it make sense to spend half your weekend tackling housework - feeling exhausted and stressed out - if you can pay a professional a reasonable sum and have the chance to recharge your batteries? How much are you paid ? Would it be a better use of your time and money to employ an assistant or a VA (virtual assistant) a few hours per week while you concentrated on what you did best?
•Even though it's 'always' quicker' to do it yourself, stifle the urge. The only reason it's quicker is because you've had more practice! Delegate tasks at home to others, even a small child can do simple things to help. Thank and give praise as appropriate but don't imply they're helping you with your tasks unless you really are being paid a living wage to look after the house full-time.
•Say "no" to requests that cater to other people's needs rather than your own. Having planned your diary at the beginning of the week, it's much easier now to deflect requests. Don't waffle. Suggest a compromise if it suits you to do so. Feeling unable to say "no" is one of a big time-waster. Saying no is a gift to yourself, learn to accept it and be gracious.
4. Set Boundaries
•Say "yes" to offers of help, whether at home or at work. Do you really need to prove you can do it all yourself or make others feel guilty about how hard you work? Allow other people to experience the pleasure of being of service and let them know you appreciate them.
•Examine your personal rules/standards. Do you need to cook a gourmet dinner every night? Do you really need to work late to show you're committed? Do you have to iron T-shirts that will stay hidden under sweaters? Let go of perfectionism wherever possible, it can be soul destroying. And it might be the symptom of something deeper. ‘Settle’ for excellence.
•Set boundaries and deadlines for work, rest and play. You’ll probably achieve much the same result whether you allocate 1 hour for an action or whether you let it drag on over 2 hours. If you have a competitive streak, challenge yourself to come in under time. Make it a game. Plan some rewards or prizes for motivation. Here is a great article on setting boundaries from Psych Central
•Live fully in the moment rather than dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about the future. So many of us waste precious time thinking about something we can no longer change or something in the future that we have absolutely no control over. Begin by noticing where your thoughts are and how to bring them back to the present. The more you do this, the easier it gets.
Ok, now all you need to do is choose a handful of these tips, get into action and begin to save time, be more productive and have a lot more fun in your life as you create a better lifestyle-business. I'd love to know which of these tips resonated the most for you. Please share in the comments box. And if you have your own special tricks or tips to stay on top of your game share them too.
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Biz, Marketing and Mindset Coach