In my post last week, I gave you 50 ways to better use your free time.
But what if you aren’t someone with a bunch of time on your hands?
Maybe you’re the type of person who is always busy and always has something to do, even if it isn’t what you want.
Do any of these sound familiar?
- “I need more than 24 hours in a day.”
- “I wish I could meet but I’m just too busy.”
- “Where did all my time go?”
- “I never seem to have time for myself.”
Chances are they do.
Let’s face it, life is hectic.
At any given time, we can have multiple things vying for our time.
From school and work to friends, chores, errands, and social media, we can easily get overwhelmed.
Everyone understands the importance of time management yet few people actually use their time wisely.
How do we stop the overload and start making time work for us?
Here are 4 time management tips to help you get more time and keep it.
1.Make A Time Budget
Since time is a limited resource, we have to decide which activities, interests, and relationships are more worthwhile.
Budget the hours of your day just like you budget your money.
How much time do you give to browsing Facebook? How much do you spend reading books? How long do you workout each day?
You vote with your time; the more time you spend on something, the more value you attribute to it.
Take a moment right now to make a time budget.
Write down everything in your life that you currently spend time on. I mean everything from work to sleeping to watching Netflix.
Getting this stuff on paper in front of you will help you see more clearly where your time goes. This will allow you to re-adjust and shift time from less important areas toward the more important areas in your life.
2.Batch Your Tasks
Just like your body takes time to reach a REM sleep cycle, your mind needs to warm up into your work.
In college, I remember having several one hour periods between classes that I intended to use for homework and studying.
Since it can take up to 30 minutes to settle in and get the brain working, I never ended up getting much work done in these periods.
I needed longer periods of uninterrupted time to actually be productive.
This is where “batching” come in.
Batching is the process of setting aside longer periods of completely uninterrupted time for similar tasks.
Instead of having 3 meetings spaced throughout the day, plan these meeting back to back to back since you will already be in a meeting mindset.
Instead of checking your email every hour, give yourself a set amount of time every day to do nothing but check and answer all email.
Get all your social media in in one swoop.
Personally, instead of trying to write for 20 minutes here and 30 minutes there, I give myself at least 2 hours of complete focus on writing.
The key to batching is placing similar tasks near each other and not allowing ANY distractions in.
Just one distraction cause take up to 15 minutes for you to get back in the zone. Put your phone on “do no disturb” and allow yourself complete focus on the task at hand.
By batching your activities, you will save yourself time in the long run. It’s far more efficient to knock out all similar tasks at once instead of trying to do some here and some there.
What are some activities you can batch?
3.Shorten Your To-Do List
“First things first, and second things never.” – Peter Drucker
Have you heard of the term “paralysis by analysis”?
Paralysis by analysis means that when we have too many options, we freeze up.
This is why you may have trouble ordering food at Sushi restaurants, their menu is too big. You stare at the pages of options and can never decide what you want.
In the same way, giving yourself too many things to do will halt your productivity.
Instead of giving yourself 10 things to do each day, start way smaller.
Start with only a few important things to get accomplished for that day.
I like to begin by picking the 1 main task for the day.
This is a task that if you got nothing else done, you would still feel accomplished.
After picking the main task, you can pick 3 secondary tasks that are of lesser importance for that day, but no more!
By giving yourself less to do, you’ll actually get MORE done and end up with MORE time.
4.Learn To Say No
Once you have successfully created more time by using steps 1 through 3, you need to protect this free time!
There are only two options for each and every day:
- Life manages your time
- YOU manage your time
If you don’t take ownership of your schedule, someone or something else will fill the space.
Having loose plans allows other distractions to sneak in and steal your time. Having a clear set of priorities allows you to have a laser focus.
Parties, movies, events, dinners, drinks with friends; these are all examples of unexpected things that can distract us from our goals.
It’s time to be selective about what you spend your time doing.
Learning polite but honest ways to say “no” allows you to take your time back without burning bridges or hurting friendships.
Why are we so afraid of telling people no?
Maybe we don’t want to hurt their feelings or maybe we don’t want to damage a relationship, but the good news is neither of these have to happen.
Here are some of the exact word-for-word scripts I use to tell people no without coming off mean:
- “Sorry man, I’ve been making good progress on a project and need to keep the momentum going.”
- “Dang that sounds fun, but I’m waking up early tomorrow to work on a project and need all the sleep I can get.”
- “I know I’ve been declining invitations a lot recently but I’ve been working on a project that means a lot to me.”
By being honest about why we have to decline an invitation, we show the other person that we are committed to greater goals without hurting their feelings. This will actually earn their respect.
Those that are close to you will understand that saying no is nothing personal.
Shoot, I tell my best friends no 4 out of 5 times and they respect me for it.
If you don’t filter what you agree to, all your time will be used doing what others want. However, by using the scripts described earlier, we can regain time to get shizz done!
Now Get To It
Try these 4 tips to get the most out of the limited time you have and start making your time work for you!
Comment below which time management tip will help you most!