Time is our most valuable asset. We all feel as though we don’t have enough of it and we all want more. However the fact is that you can’t get more, there are only 24 hours in the day. And everyone on the planet has exactly the same amount of it. Kind of mind-boggling when you of you think of it like that. So how is it some people seem to have bags of time to spare and some people are always playing catch up? The answer is simple. Time management. The theme of this week’s focus has been time management and one Monday I showed you a week by week process of how you can become a master at time managing and give yourself “more time” by planning your time. (Read on here…)
It’s great to find a system to help you with time management. However, managing your time is as much a mindset as it is a practice. So this week #lifelesson101 is full of tips and tricks I have found that changed my mindset to improve both time usage and time management skills.
Use your surplus time
You might be thinking what surplus time?! We all do in fact have time that we can put to better use it just takes changing your attitude to it and being aware of the opportunities. So have a look at your day. Where are you surplus time blocks? Travelling to work? Eating breakfast? The 45 mins between ending work and picking up the kids. These small points during the day can become great assets if we use them wisely. Breakfast time is a great point to throw in day planning activities, listening to podcasts or checking your email (no answering just checking). Commuting time can be used for ringing people on personal errands or just time to relax in an otherwise busy life. I love how my 2 hours commute became me-time when I live outside of and worked in Copenhagen so much that I actually avoided people I knew on the train to get that time to myself! When your plans go awry and suddenly you have some surplus time ask yourself how can I best use this time?
You might not be aware of it, however, our physical energy usage has a pattern to it. And being aware of your energy makes for productive time management. For me, Thursdays are the day of the week where I have least energy so I minimize what I need to do on a Thursday. Over a few weeks make a record in a diary of how you use your time and your energy levels. I recommend using the 1 (lots of energy) to 10 (no energy system). Just pop keywords in your diary and then note your energy down three times a day with a number. After 14 days have a look at your recordings and see if you can see a pattern. Knowing what you can and can’t do on certain days means you won’t plan in a way that pushes you into overwork mode.
Write it down
Whether you do this manually or digitally write your time management plans down. I use a combination of the two. I have a monthly to-do list in a book, a handwritten week schedule and then my favorite to do list app (Todoist) for my daily list. The point is you need to put your plans somewhere so you can free up your brain to focus on doing what you need to do.
Prioritise your time (and please relate it to how much energy you have). I recommend using the ABCDF system which is my own interpretation of Brian Tracey’s ABCDE Priority system. It works as follows
A= has to be done today
B= can be done tomorrow
C= can be done next week
F= Forget it (this is not necessary right now)
However, I insist that when you use this system that A tasks also include self-care/ family time. We often tend to set work as an A task however you are the most important thing in your life. Without you these things won’t get done. I use the 2 to 1 ratio. 2 A tasks for others (work/family etc) means one more A task to take care of me.
Do the worst thing first
We all have that big task hanging over us we keep putting off. Just get it done. Seriously nothing will make you feel better, lighter and happier than getting it out of the way. And when it’s done reward yourself by doing something you find fun!
Take breaks. As I said earlier the commuting time might just be that you get 15 mins a day to read a book or talk with a friend. If you don’t plan and give yourself breaks you won’t have the time to recharge. If you are working on something that takes a lot of concentration take a 5 minute break every 25 minutes to keep yourself at optimal energy level. You can use apps such as Tide to help you remember when and how long for you need to take breaks.
Plan your social life as well as your work life
In a busy lifestyle it is easy to remember to plan work stuff, but it is easy to forget about your social life. How many parents out there schedule their children’s social activities but not their own? Pop social events into your calendar. Remember to include a skype or phone conversation with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time once a month. Make sure your social activities are planned with breaks in between so you don’t get overloaded, or worse become that person that is always canceling. Buy planning your social life you keep it important.
Get support (remember to delegate or ask for help)
Being able to ask for help and delegate are two of the most important things we all need to learn. You are not a superhero (even though sometimes you are). Let me correct that, you are not a superhero every day. Superheroes also need help, that’s why they have sidekicks. Delegating some of your load and asking for help when you need it is going to make your life easier and make sure you get more done. Your friends and family want to help and you’d do it for them. So ask.
Saying yes to something means saying no to something else
As an entrapreneur this is hard to stomach. However, it is important to realise that saying yes to something means saying no to something else. As we said before time is infinite. You have to pick and choose your activities. Being aware of this simple fact will make you very conscious of when to say yes and when to say no. Use your ‘Yes’ wisely.
Remember you can’t do everything
Be kind to yourself. Time management is not about stressing you out or making you feel guilty for not doing things. The best-laid plans can go wrong. Life throws a curveball quite often. And we don’t have the same level of energy every day. So if you don’t manage everything it’s ok. I use the 70% is equal to 100% guideline. If I have done 70% of my days’ tasks I am happy with myself. Less than 30% is not the time to start beating myself up about not doing stuff. Less than 30% is a sign that I need to check in with myself and see if I am ok or not. It’s ok not to be able to do everything and if you aren’t able to do much then take care of yourself and your needs first.
If you have a time management tip or trick that works for you please share it in the comments below. That way we can help ourselves and each other to make the most of the time we have
Have a great weekend <3