There is so much in our lives that we want to have time for, every single day. Cooking meals, exercising, working, hanging out with friends, with family, traveling, self care, sleep and a lot more. But in reality, 24 hours just doesn’t cut it to get all of that done. But you can find ways to manage your your time and your life so that everything you want to get done can happen.
Like I said, there’s only 24 hours in a day so we all got to have some priorities. What takes precedence in your life? What combination of things you want to get done can you fit in a day to make that day fulfilling? Below I have some questions to find your top priorities.
What are your goals? What are your priorities based off of them?
Long term, short term, what are your goals? (Click here to read my comparison between short term and long term goals, and the power of goals.) If your goals are to eat healthier,(this is a very vague goal, you would definitely want to go more in-depth) than maybe your priorities are for meal making time. If you want to become stronger, then maybe your priorities are for making time to go to the gym. Figure out your goals, and what needs to be a priority for you to accomplish them.
How much extra time do you spend doing things that don’t matter?
Social media, mindless searching for memes on the internet, staring into space, social media. No, it is not a mistake that I put social media twice. Social media and our phones in general take up so much time in our day that we could be using to get stuff done. That mindless scrolling is only ruining our lives, one liked photo at a time. To counteract this, use your calendar. Put everything at a certain time, so are forcing yourself to do that task.
Remember, we need time to be lazy
I know I spent an entire paragraph telling you to get your butt of the couch, but it is important to remember that we are human. Rest, relaxation and overall laziness are a part of us. We need to make sure that while we have plenty of space in our calendar for work, we also have enough space for self care to make sure that each day is happy, productive and meaningful.
What of your priorities can work together?
This is a simple question to help you organize your day. I suggest putting an active to-do next to a work related to-dos. You can also batch your to-dos and do similar tasks closer together.
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Having a long to-do list with tons of tasks that you have to get done by the end of the day will just stress you out. Prioritize your tasks so you know what actually needs to get done. Let’s say you have 15 tasks on your list. Looking through them you realize that five are your highest priority. Those tasks are both urgent and important. Just start with them. Now there is a lot of stress off your shoulders because you only have to get five tasks done. Now what if you get them done and you still have extra time? Move on to your important but not urgent tasks, such as working out, meditating, meal planning and so on and so forth.
Schedules can be annoying for those of us who like to live in the moment, but they are also important to stay organized and know when you have time. Having a work schedule and a home schedule will keep you organized, and most importantly you will know when you have time to get your to-do list done. A to-do list without time to get your tasks done only produces stress, not results. Work with your family, your boss, and anybody who could give you commitments to work out a schedule.
You now have time in your day created by your schedule. What do you do with that time? That is when time blocking comes into play. Time blocking is when you take the time you have, let’s say 8-10 a.m, and plan out what you are going to do and get done during that time. From 8-8:30 I am going to write that paper. From 8:30-8:45 I am going to check and answer emails… so on and so forth. That is time blocking, and it extremely useful for not stressing over when to get your stuff done.
4. Set a timer
Sitting down and saying, “I’m just going to work until everything is done,” is not the way to go. First of all, getting everything done could take three hours and sitting for three hours in front of a computer is very detrimental to your health. Second of all, you have no idea how long your work could take, so you are facing the gloomy unknown of forever working. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and then you just need to work that long. After the 25 minute session, you take a five-minute break! Telling your brain that it only has to work 25 minutes, will make sure you are getting work done. You can do 25/5, or 50/10, whatever suits you.
5. Batch your work
Batching your tasks has many benefits. What is batching? Batching is when you do similar tasks in the same work period. You don’t do a paragraph and then check emails, and then another paragraph and then a phone call, you do two or three paragraphs, take a break, and then do your emails and your phone call. Batching keeps you in the right mindset for your tasks, and will also help you get more done in less time because there is less of a transition period for your brain.
6. Break your big tasks down
A big paper can seem daunting to write, so you will probably end up procrastinating on it. If you break it down into very small tasks, you will find that you are able to get a lot done. Breaking your tasks done is a technique to prevent procrastination while getting a lot done. A broken down big task might make your to-do list a lot longer, but keep batching in mind.
7. Plan time to be on social media
I don’t know about you, but while I try to stay as much in the real world as I can, I cannot resist my time on social media. This is expected and okay. In this new digital world, social media is a big part of life. To make sure you are not letting social media affect your productivity, plan out times during the day for social media. I suggest ten-minute increments. Between tasks and during meals I find are the most popular options. Keep in mind if you go on social media during breakfast, to try and still mindful eat. If you find that social media makes you feel bad and negative, check out this post.
8. Take breaks!
Don’t work yourself too hard. Take time during the day to get out of work mode, and take a step outside of your head. Whether you take five minutes to stretch, or a Starbucks break, taking time to reset your mind for your next section of work is necessary.
9. Keep your space organized
A clear space means a clear mind. Make sure you are planning out your decluttering time in your schedule. You might wonder why an organized space will help you with time management, and it is because it is all connected. Organization, productivity, time management, they are all connected. An organized space means a clearer mind, which means better work. Better work means less time you are spending on a task which means more free time.
10. Review each week
At the end of the week, review how you did with time management. Look at your time blocks, look at your organization, look at your to-do list, and what you got done. Also, review how you did on your weekly goals. I do this review on Sunday, so after my review, I can use the information to write my next week’s goals, plans, meal prep times, decluttering times, and everything I need to prepare for the following week.
11. Know when you work best
Some people are early risers like me so we prefer to work in the morning and go to bed earlier. Other people are night owls, so they get their best work done at night, while us early risers are asleep. In society right now, there is a lot of talk about how the secret to productivity is to wake up earlier, and while this may be true for early risers who haven’t realized they are early risers, for the night owls this just doesn’t work. You need to find what works best for you, and not just try to conform to societies productivity standards. Working when you work best is the best way to get things done.