Would you like more time to focus on what matters most to you? Last week, I shared a few simple steps to take to honor your time before you agree to take on a new project or “favor” for someone else.
It’s so important to your overall health to make sure you’re not constantly overcommitting yourself, especially to things that aren’t important to you. When your schedule is well-balanced between your priorities and your passions, you feel like you could set the world on fire!
All too often though, we fall victim to seeing busyness being a badge of honor and success. We fill our calendar with lots of boring tasks and tedious commitments that don’t move the needle toward our true goals in life. And we have a hard time saying no and stepping away from hustle culture.
I want you to ditch the delusion that being busy is the same as being productive (or even effective!) and find time for what matters most to you!
Here are 5 ways to find more time:
1) Be realistic about your limits.
There is a great quote (attributed to many different people) that essentially says people tend to overestimate what we can do in one day, but underestimate what we can do in a year.
Isn’t that the truth? How often have you tried to cram way too many tasks or commitments into a day, only to feel like a failure when you cannot complete them all? I know I have!
You have to be realistic about how much you can actually get done in a day—and done well! Obviously, you know there are only 24 hours, but it is easy to forget that a large chunk of that time will be spent on basic functional tasks like sleeping, eating, driving, walking your dog, taking care of your kids, etc.
As we discussed in this article on setting time boundaries, there is no shame in saying no to overcommitting!
2) Determine your top priority tasks.
When your to-do list seems long enough to reach the floor, it is easy to miss the trees for the forest. To help you determine which tasks are a priority and which can wait (possibly indefinitely), here is an exercise I share with my private coaching clients.
You can do this process on paper or even better, in a spreadsheet on your computer.
- Do a BRAIN DUMP of everything you think you need to get done, no matter how small the task seems.
- Next to each task, rate the task on a scale from 1 to 5 based on how important you feel it is to get done (with 5 being the most important). For example, learning your sides for an audition would rate as a 5 but updating your website may only rate a 2.
- Then rate each task on a scale from 1 to 5 based on its urgency (with 5 being the most urgent – it must get done today). Remember to be honest. If something can wait until tomorrow, do not rank it as a 5.
- Now add up the two numbers for each task (see why the spreadsheet is helpful now?), and this creates a hierarchy to your overwhelming list.
3) Understand how long things really take.
A good awareness of time is a critical executive function that affects your productivity, your efficiency and even your mood. Isn’t it a bummer to suddenly look up and it’s two hours later than you thought and now you’re late?
So before you take on a new project or commitment, gather enough information to have an accurate picture of how much of your time it will take. Some people experience a chronic difficulty with estimating and tracking time called time blindness. Breaking down a large task into smaller components may help you better estimate the total time you need.
If you tend to always underestimate your time, figure out the worst-case scenario and use that as your guideline. In addition, keep an eye on activities that suck up your time, like scrolling on social media or trying to have a “quick chat” with that coworker who talks for hours.
4) Let go of being perfect.
I’m just going to say it: perfectionism is a big problem. And it’s a HUGE time-waster. Like one of my mentors, Dallas Travers says, “Don’t get it perfect, just get it going.”
Besides, being perfect is so boring! Your unique quirks and vulnerable side are what people connect with anyway, and for creative artists and business owners, this is so so important.
5) Build breaks and downtime into your schedule.
Here’s the real bread and butter! If you want to enjoy a smooth schedule and time to do the important things in life, you need to build in rest. Not just small breaks between tasks, but also time to do literally nothing.
Personal time to listen to your inner voice and spirit will help you stay connected to your big dreams and core values. Sometimes you just need to step out of your busy mind and get some perspective on how your journey is going. Plus, you’ll return to your daily grind with more energy and renewed purpose.
Which of these ways to honor your time is your favorite? How will you make more time and space for what’s important to you this week? Let me know in the comments below or by posting in The Badass Beauty Club.
LOVE + all the little things!