Time, time, time. There is always too little of it, or it is going by too quickly. Time is never just right. People are always asking me how I have time to do it all. First, I remind them that I don’t do it all. Not even close. But I can admit that I do a lot. I’m the dayside executive producer at the ABC affiliate in Miami, I manage two websites (this blog and another collaborative site, Strong Girl Collective), I also have two young kids, a husband and a dog. I’m pretty active on social media, love to read and have a new obsession with meditation. It may seem like I have a lot on my plate, but I also feel like there is plenty of time in a day to get everything done. (okay, okay… I could use one 28 hour day a week. Just one.) Here are a few of my favorite tips to help wrangle yourself more time!
How to Make The Most Of Your Time to Get Stuff Done
Figure out where your time goes: This is the most annoying part of the process, but it also the most important. Almost every time management book out there starts with this exercise, and for good reason. You need to figure out exactly how you are spending your time, to find out where you are wasting it. This means for at least 3 days you need to write down what you do for every single hour in the day. From the time you wake up until your head hits that pillow and every second in between. Get a planner that segments your day in 15 minute increments or make one yourself in a notebook or journal. It is tedious, but worth it.
I quickly realized I spent way too much time scrolling through social media on my phone. I also noticed that I was waking up pretty late considering all the things I wanted to get done in the morning. The final takeaway from time tracking was that I am NOT productive at night. I just don’t get quality work done in the evening. There were a number of small things I was doing daily that were taking up a good chunk of time when you added them all together. It was the first time I realized maybe there IS enough time in the day.
Pick Your Top 3: Each day I decide on 3 must-do items. I try to put the item I am dreading the most at the top. This usually involves some sort of phone call, since for some reason I HATE calling people. Making doctors appointments, requesting records.. basically any dealings that require a phone call, I dread. So if I have to take care of something by phone, I put that first. That way I KNOW I will get it over with.
Be sure to select things that you will be able to complete that day. If you have a large task you need to get done, split it up into smaller segments over a few days so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Don’t set yourself up to fail. I have a rolling to-do list that is very long, but not time-specific. When you have a blog, there is always something to learn or try to upgrade. So if I ever have a day where I only have 1 or 2 things to do, I go back to my “master list” and select something to add.
Time Block Tasks: Time blocking has made a huge difference in how I get things done. I have 3 set times during the day to work on projects. I decide early in the day exactly what I am going to work on and when. Maybe I want to draft up some blog posts. I will take my 30 minute block and just write. If I get caught up in the wording on one post, I move on to another. When the 30 minutes is up, I am done. My timed tasks are usually something that don’t have a set end point. (like scheduling social media or editing pictures) Once time is up, whatever I have done is what will have to do. If there is a deadline, like a blog post that is due, I will make that the top task of the day and work on it during my scheduled times until it is done.
Stop Multi-Tasking: Trying to do everything all at once, usually leads to nothing gets done. If you put your focus on one project at a time, you will be more effective and the end result will be better overall. Jumping around from task to task is pointless in my opinion, and when you have a lot of unfinished projects, it can feel overwhelming. It feels GOOD to get things done and when you eliminate multi-tasking it helps you do just that.
Know your Strengths: As I mentioned, I realized from my time tracking that I did not get very much done at night. Once I put the kids to bed, I just want to hang out. Catch up with my husband, veg out on the couch… whatever. But the last thing on my mind is working or writing. So I made a change to my routine and decided I needed to start waking up earlier. Like, 2 hours earlier. Now I wake up around 5 or 5:30. Which gives me time to get things done… like meditate and drink my coffee in peace. (which is totally included in my morning schedule)
Trust me when I tell you that there IS enough time in the day to get everything done. You just need to cut out the time-wasters and prioritize what it is you want to complete. What are some of your best time management tips?