OK, that was a trick. Time cannot be created, but we can use it to our advantage by being more productive.
In the last six months I’ve read eight books and I feel super excited and accomplished! So, I’ve been sharing this news, mostly with people that I have an existing relationship with, expecting that they would be just as excited (1st mistake). However, I guess reading books doesn’t excite the masses as much as I’d like to think. In one particular instance a close confidant said, “I wish I had that much free time…” OK, wait, stop right there.
Let’s be clear. I do not have ANY free time, and when I do have free time I spend it asleep, which is usually between 12 midnight and 6AM. However, what I am, is intentional about how I spend my time. I have become good at holding myself accountable for how I spend my time and committing to the things that are important and make me happy and/or money. Reading happens to fall into the important and happy categories and thus, I make time for it.
So yes, I was slightly offended by the insinuation that I have extra time to waste on things like “reading.” But given we all have the same 24 hours in a day, I thought it would be a better use of time to convert the offended energy into something useful and provide some insight into how I’m able to structure my days and my life to be more productive. With that, below are five practices that I have implemented to prioritize my tasks and organize my life. They may work for you as well:
1. Write goals daily.
As in everyday! This ritual has provided the extra motivation I need to accomplish my goals. We all have our goals living inside of our heads, but writing them out daily allows us to internalize the goals and it trains our brains to automatically seek things, ideas and actions that will help us to reach them. It will also help to avoid self-sabotage, by making it easier to identify actions that don’t align with your goals.
2. Write To Do List daily.
Not only do I write my To Do list daily, I also identify five items from that list that are top priorities. This practice will keep you on task, making your goals happen on day and one task at a time. On good days I complete my five priority items, plus one or two additional tasks. On bad days I may only complete three of my top five, but having the list lets me know where I stand and again keeps me accountable.
3. Schedule your time on a actual calendar.
I use Google calendar, but really any digital calendar that will provide alerts when it’s time to get started will work. I was resistant to this idea for a while, simply because it felt silly scheduling time to do things like check my email, or go skating with my daughter, but there is something about putting things on a calendar that makes them actually happen. Sticking to designated timeframes for tasks also frees up time for other things. I can look at my calendar and identify slots where I have nothing to do and plan accordingly.
4. Stop watching TV.
There. I said it. I know it’s hard to admit, but if you find that you “don’t have as much time as you would like” to get things done, that’s probably a lie. You are probably spending more time that you should watching TV and/or trying to get things done while watching TV… This is not me being all judgy. I do it too. I wish I could watch TV more often (seriously, my dream is to somehow watch TV all day, yet still have all of the items on my To Do list checked). I try very hard to watch TV and get work done at the same time, but it does not work for me. And therefore, I’m behind on every TV show I intend to watch. I was two weeks late watching the POWER finale, my friends have a thread on Facebook that I want to participate in, but I never can because by the time I watch it they have moved on… I could go on and on about all the TV I miss/am late on, but the point is, if you are up on every new TV show, that could be getting in the way of you accomplishing more.
5. Start a morning routine.
Guess what? During my morning routine I write my goals and my To Do list. Kills three birds with one stone (that saying is pretty dramatic, huh?)... I never realized how important starting my day with quiet, meditative time was until I started doing it. Taking the time for self care, to disconnect from the world, when everything is quiet gives me time to reflect on the days that have passed and plan the day ahead. I know I’ve said this before, but I am truly an advocate… Again, I am not perfect, there are days that I don’t wake up in time to do everything I would like in the morning, but it definitely impacts my day. Therefore, I try my best to get up, because I know my morning routine is a part of having the most productive day possible.
That’s it. I hope you find this list helpful and if you decide to try any of my suggestions let me know how it works out for you!
Also, if you enjoyed what you read, or gleaned some insight/value, please share.