So much to do, so little time.
Feels like that doesn’t it?
We have so many competing priorities, available opportunities, things we want to do, things we must do… It begs the question – how do we fit it all in??
Firstly, I have to burst your bubble a little – it’s likely that you can’t fit it all in, all at once. At least not in the way you’d want to in an ideal world. Because we aren’t robots and we need down time, need change, and emergencies happen, and we aren’t just going to be able to move seamlessly through a daily task list ticking things off.
I’m also not going to say everyone has the same 24 hours so we should all be able to do the same amount of stuff. Absolutely not.
I run my own business, live less than 10 minutes from my gym, and have no children. I have a lot more available time than a single parent who has to travel an hour+ each way to their 9-5, pick up kids from day-care/after school activities, make dinner, do kid pre-bed activities and routines, tidy up, and prep for the next day.
So to say I have the same 24 hours as this single parent would be disingenuous and there’s no amount of time-scheduling that this person would be able to do to give them the additional time I have.
So what tips do I have?
You’re probably used to posts like this telling you things like:
- Stay off social media outside of your designated 5 minute window
- Don’t watch Netflix
- Wake up an hour earlier to get a head start
Because apparently we’re never allowed to tune out or sleep longer?
The top three things that have worked for me to feel more in control of my time and more organised in my life.
I block out certain times in my calendar for groups of similar tasks. For example, my admin tasks are all grouped together on a Tuesday, housework on a Wednesday and Sunday afternoon, and business projects are Monday and Wednesday afternoons.
By grouping similar tasks together, I am able to keep my brain focussed on one area rather than spending time trying to switch between completely different tasks.
Rather than trying to remember everything I need to do or decide what I should do when, I schedule everything. I have my time blocks in my calendar, as well as all appointments, class times, my own training, even the times that I walk my dog are all scheduled in my calendar. This allows me to see what my day or week looks like and where I have “white space” (down time/free time).
I also use an online to-do list to keep track of all the tasks I need to do for work and for life admin. This frees up my brain space to actually do the things rather than trying to remember to do all the things!
If you’re like me and get overwhelmed thinking of all the things that need to happen or worried you’re going to forget, this is an excellent way to take that pressure off – you know you’ll remember to do it because it’s already in the list and scheduled!
Front load the week
I schedule the majority of my tasks for the beginning of my week. Monday to Wednesday are my longer work days and I try to get more of my life admin done during these days as well. There are two benefits to this:
1. I have more time available later in the week to finish up tasks that I didn’t get completed earlier in the week. Rather than having my entire week booked up or having tasks scheduled every day, I give myself the flexibility to carry tasks over if I need to, rather than stressing about squeezing it in somewhere and feeling pressured.
2. I like starting the week getting a bunch of tasks ticked off and then being able to cruise a bit more towards the end of the week and start to wind down for the weekend. I have sessions at the gym 6 days a week so, given that I am doing this work, I like to give myself more free time to be social or rest towards the end of the week, rather than still be working on projects on a Friday afternoon.
This isn’t a prescriptive list or the only way to manage your time, however, I have found this to work very effectively for me. If you try a new time management system, commit to it for several weeks and give yourself a chance to get used to it and get in the routine.