This article is by guest poster Ashley Leach. Please scroll to the bottom to read more about her.
Do you ever feel like you are running from errand to errand trying to complete all the tasks on your to-do list? Then, by the time you finally get a moment to breathe, it’s 9 pm and you feel as though you haven’t completed anything you set out to do that day.
Ultimately the problem is a failed plan to manage your time. When you schedule your day, you are able to better manage time and expectations instead of trying to check off a to-do list.
Everyone, regardless of who you are, has 168 hours available to them each week. So, let’s break down the hours. If you sleep for 8 hours each day, you are awake for 112 hours each week. If you work a full-time job of 40 hours a week now you are down to 72 hours of available time not blocked off for sleeping or working. How are you utilizing that time? Are you spending it in a way that is most important to you, or are you spending time spreading yourself thin on helping others with their priorities?
Here are 5 tips for finding more time during the day so you can work on your goals.
Use a Calendar or Planner
I have learned that a planner is a crazy useful tool to increase productivity. For the past few years, I have really enjoyed the Erin Condren Life Planner to keep me organized. Whether you are a pen and paper kinda girl or you like to have your schedule in the palm of your hand - with either Google Calendar or iCal- using a scheduling tool will significantly increase your productivity and help you identify where you may be wasting time.
Plan your week ahead of time
Every Sunday night one of my activities to set my week up for success is to plan the upcoming week on my calendar. I start with known appointments and events such as my work schedule, doctor’s appointments, meetings, and extracurricular activities. Whatever it is, if you know it's happening that week get it on your calendar and block it off during the correct time frame. Once you are done you are able to see the open spaces in your schedule. These open spaces are when you can begin incorporating the tasks necessary to work towards achieving your goals.
Prioritize your work
Now that you see your open space or free time for the week, you can now prioritize your tasks. Now, I love a good to-do list, but I often find that my list can get quite long. And ultimately, I end up feeling like I have not accomplished anything. Prioritize what is important to you. Start by looking at what you need to accomplish for that week and then pull the tasks from that list and plug them into specific days and times that are open in your calendar. If it is not something that excites you or helps you move towards your goal, don’t schedule it.
Social media, email, the internet, and TV are all big time suckers. Ever noticed how easily you can get distracted by an Instagram notification, and 30 minutes later you find you are still scrolling through your feed.
If social media is a big part of your business, plan these activities into your day and stick to it. You can easily lose a couple hours a day with just social media and the internet. I would argue the same for TV, schedule a few hours where you can sit down for your weekly Netflix and chill. But do not attempt to watch a show while working. Trust me not much work will get done.
Use gap times
Gap times are moments where you can’t fit in big activities. Commuting, cooking or exercising are just a few examples of my gap times. During these moments, I listen to Podcasts related to my goals, business or an audiobook for enjoyment. Oftentimes we say that we don’t have time for an audiobook or a podcast however, these are gaps times and the perfect opportunity to catch up on these activities.
The time to start working toward your goals is now! Start applying these very helpful tips and free yourself of the mindless wander and going nowhere. So, let's get to work!
Ashley Leach is an Army Veteran, wife and mother of two. As the owner of Mom In Combat Boots she provides tips on productivity, time management and self-care for busy working women while offering website management and behind the scenes support for female bloggers. Learn more about how to increase productivity and better manage your time here.