5 Ways to Find More Time in Your Day

This article is by guest poster Ashley Leach. Please scroll to the bottom to read more about her.

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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.

Unplug

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!

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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.

Should you use a paper planner ?

Did you know that there is a lot of science that goes into the idea of using a paper planner? Trust me when I say that I didn’t believe it myself, but after a lot of thought, it makes sense.

Earlier this year, I wrote a post titled “Why You Should Use a Paper Planner.” In this post, I highlighted specific moments where a paper planner would be a valuable tool. What I didn’t do is explain why. I realize now that I didn’t focus on that aspect because I wasn’t quite sure myself. During this time, it just so happened that I was approached by a woman who told me about her science based planner, NEUROPLANNER, and it made me want to learn more. There’s far more psychology to using a planner than most of us could ever think.

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 >>check out best planners for moms HERE by estyslife<<

With the current state of the planner market, it’s a great time to jump in and purchase one whether for yourself or for someone else. The wide variety of products that exist means that there is something for everyone. While digital products start to rule the world, there’s a lot to be said about using a product made with paper. The variety of products that exist means that a lot of things can be taken care of and formed to your needs. It’s very easy to maintain and create excellent habits and even assist in the education of future generations.

 

An added feature that’s often found in many planners within the planner community are habit trackers. These added habit trackers allow for personal accountability and helps create healthy and important habits. These habits range from not biting your nails to making sure that you schedule time for yourself. Being able to schedule these tasks is helpful and important for a lot of planners. These habit trackers have helped many planners on their weight loss and weight gain journeys. Going even further, the use of trackers, in general, have helped many couples conceive their first child and provide medical professionals a more in depth approach into their patient’s lives. They have helped others find success in multiple aspects of their lives, by providing a simple and easy to use tool. In fact, these habit trackers go a lot further than just helping the every-day college aged adult. For the younger generations, planners add a lot more.

 

One of the things that more schools should take note of in the United States are the true importance of planners. A lot of educational tools are found digitally, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has the accessibility to these tools. Paper planners range in pricing and style allowing for the most flexibility for someone just learning how to use one. By instilling proper planner habits early, it’s almost guaranteed that a young student will be set for success through their educational career. However, there is a difference between just providing the tools to success and showing someone how to use it. Young students should not only be provided the tools, but educated on helpful techniques to make the process not seem like a chore. From personal experience and from talking to my friends with school-aged children, the use of paper planners is seen with resentment. By forcing children to utilize their planners in one specific way it takes away from the different learning styles that a child has. While I understand the need for some educational professionals to have a planner be presented a specific way, it doesn’t mean that a child shouldn’t be allowed to have their own system that works for them. Planning at the elementary and primary school level should be a system of give and take and become a partnership. Finding a middle ground and fostering these habits early on will be a tool that guides a child through their whole life.

 

In addition to providing tools for life, a lot of planners find that their overall productivity has greatly benefited from writing their tasks down. Being able to see the tasks at hand and prioritize them as needed leads to overall boosts in productivity. Whether large tasks are handled first versus multiple smaller and manageable tasks being taken care of first – it doesn’t matter! The planner owner is able to better delegate the tasks that they have and figure out whether they need to stretch them throughout the week or fit them in one day. This allows for an aid in a better work-life balance and overall happiness.

 

Why does having a paper planner lead to these success stories? As it turns out, it all comes down to science and the psychology of how our brains function. For a lot of us, the use of a paper planner is due to the way our brain responds to a tactile motion. The very act of writing a task down is what causes us to become more productive and manage our everyday lives. However, the truth of the matter comes down to the selfishness of our brains function. The hidden meaning behind paper planning aiding in success is it stems from the reward center in our brains. Being able to take a physical task and check it off a list leads to a feeling of accomplishment. By feeling accomplished, you become happy. When you’re happy, it’s easier to accomplish even more. While plenty of digital formats for planners exist, the tactile response plays tricks with our minds and helps us find pure bliss. The benefits of using a planner far outweigh any possible negative issues that might arise.


To anyone who asks, I will always recommend having a paper planner on hand. There are certain things that digital products won’t be able to truly reproduce. There are dozens of studies that prove the benefits of writing things down versus typing them on a computer. A quick search on Google proves this theory and will prove it for years to come. Sometimes the very basics are what we need – not fancy gadgetry. If you’re looking to maintain a productive lifestyle, go out and buy yourself a paper planner; you’ll only be thanking yourself at the end of the day

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Caitlyn Storm

is the owner and founder of PlannerBabes.com, a website devoted to helping you find and use your perfect planner. After being a part of the planner community for the past few years, she discovered a need for resources and tools to be found in one place. When not working on content for Planner Babes, Caitlyn can be found spending time with her fiancé Chris and her dog Rico. 

Planning for your blog in a Bullet Journal

 **This is a guest post ! Please see the bottom for author details.

Since I have been blogging over at Productive Happiness, I discovered that my best ally to make things run smoothly for the blog has been my Bullet Journal. Planning in my Bujo has allowed me to write better blog posts, be more efficient with my posting schedule and manage my social media presence seamlessly. I’ve also been able to visually track my progress and course correct over time for better results. I just can’t live without. In today’s article, I’ll be taking you through my journal with real-life examples of how I use my Bujo in my blogging process.

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What exactly is a Bullet Journal?

Maybe you are wondering what exactly is a Bullet Journal. In a nutshell, it is any blank notebook in which you write down your tasks, projects, lists and everything you want to keep track of. The principle is to rapidly log your ideas as the day goes by, using bullets, or signifiers to keep track of what type of items you are writing down. If you’d like to know more about the Bullet Journal method, I suggest you start by reading this in-depth article. But the tips I am going to offer you today can be applied in any notebook, even if you are not following the basic Bullet Journal format.

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Every step of the way

 Brainstorming

The Bullet Journal has you covered every step of the way for your blogging needs. The first step that I like to go through before I write any article is brainstorming. I also like to brainstorm for new products, collaborations and social media ideas. My preferred method for brainstorming is the classic mind-map, a visual tool used to represent the different parts of a given topic. Here’s a mind-map I created when I was brainstorming the themes I wanted to cover in my blog.

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Planning

There are a few steps that I like to go through while planning my articles and products, after I have properly brainstormed. First, I like to fit my articles into an editorial calendar. I make sure that I cover most themes of my blog in any given month and that seasonal articles are planned for. I like to share a brand-new article every Tuesday and repost an older article every Thursday. In my editorial calendar, I choose every topics a month in advance. Here’s one of my previous editorial calendar :

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Weekly plan

Once my topics are selected for the month, I need to make sure that I remember to prepare, take pictures and write in time for the deadline. I use my weekly spread to keep track of the tasks I need to get done in the next week. I usually plan my week every Sunday afternoons. If you'd like to know more about my weekly planning process, I have written a full article (with tons of pictures) taking you through each step. Here’s an example of my weekly spread :

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Planning for social media

I like to follow a basic schedule for social media. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I share one of my articles, on Saturdays, I share an article from one of the many blogs I follow. On Fridays, I share a video on my Facebook page, etc. This is my basic schedule, and on Sunday, I select the specific topics I'll be covering on my different social feeds. Instagram is what takes the most effort to plan. Here’s what my plan for last week looks like :

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Planning my ideal week

I like to keep a draft of what I would like my weeks to look like. I like to theme my days, for example Mondays are for writing, Wednesdays are for strategic thinking and planning and Fridays are for reviews and stats tracking. It helps me spread my tasks over the week and put me in the right mood for different tasks at different moments. I keep a visual representation of my ideal week in my Bullet Journal and tweak it as needed.

Writing

Before I sit down to write any blog post, I look at my brainstorming mind-map and draft an outline of what I want my article to look like. An outline is a simple plan, with indented bullets for the different parts of the article in chronological order. You do not need to write any complete sentences, just a few words are sufficient. Here's my outline for today's article
 

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Tracking

I have to admit that I am a data freak. I think that my favorite part of planning for Productive Happiness is tracking my stats and analyzing the results. My goal is to learn from my mistakes AND my successes in order to keep improving my blog and my income. A basic stats tracker along with a space designated to journaling is what helps me keep on track of what’s working and what’s not.

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At the end of the month, I like to compare my stats with those of the previous months to see if I am progressing or not. So far, I am thrilled to report that my stats are booming! My comparative stats tracker is super simple, but clear enough to spot patterns and trends.

As you see, there is a lot you can get accomplished for your blog using the Bullet Journal method. Every part of the blog is covered, allowing you to brainstorm, plan, write and track your stats. Since the Bullet Journal is so customizable, you can tailor your notebook to your specific needs and tweak your system at any time. And most of all, the journaling process is fun, creative and so relaxing! Give it a try, I am sure you’ll find something to love in the process.

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Anick

Anick Globensky-Bromow is a productivity Blogger with a focus on helping her readers take their happiness in hands. Over at Productive Happiness, she writes about the Bullet Journal, productivity tips and techniques as well as happiness hacks in her weekly blog posts. You can follow her on Instagram for Bullet Journal goodness and on Facebook for her weekly videos.