With the time change coming up this weekend for most of the country, it has us thinking about time in general... how fleeting it is, how fast it goes when we're doing something we enjoy (and how slow it goes when we're doing something we don't), and how hard it can be to manage. As the late Steve Jobs once said, "My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time."
So, how do you allocate out this precious resource in the best way possible? How do you plan your days? How do you resist the urge to be 'hyper-productive'? How do you find time for things you really love? We have a few ideas below, but we'd love to hear yours as well.
- Plan: Since time is a limited resource, treat it like another limited resource... money. We budget money, so why wouldn't we budget time as well? You have x-amount of hours at work, x-amount for the gym, x-amount for picking up your kids from school and doing dinner/homework/bedtime routine, x-amount for grocery shopping, and so on.
- Learn how to say no: This is along the same lines as our self-care post a couple of weeks ago. Saying yes to something you really don't enjoy means saying no to something you really care about. Sometimes it's necessary - nay, essential - to just say no.
- Prioritize: None of us are really that busy; it's just a matter of priorities. Important people and projects first; the rest will get done in due time.
- Delegate: It took me a long time to learn that I didn't have to do everything myself. It's ok to ask for help or to delegate tasks to your kids, your significant other, your family, or your co-workers. They're very happy to help and it will help them, too, when they see how much less stress or pressure you are under.
- Block out time: I read something once about working in 50 minute scheduled blocks. During that time, you aren't allowed to do anything else - no social media, no checking your inbox, no phone calls. Nothing except that one thing that you set 50 minutes aside to do. It forces you to focus on the task at hand. If you can get at least 4 of these in a day, it's amazing what you can get done.
- Exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep: All of these things keep you healthy, happy and productive - end of story.
- Get up early: I never used to be an advocate for getting up early, but now that I do, I see how much you can get done in those first few hours of the day. It's quiet, so it's the perfect time to focus and work or meditate or exercise. And all before the rest of your family opens their eyes!
- Set intention in the morning: Look at your calendar in the morning and plan out the day. Do you have meetings on the calendar? Are there times you have to drop off or pick up kids or grand kids? Do you need to run errands? What projects do you need to finish up at work? Figure out ahead of time how you want your day to flow.
- Be aware of time sucks like TV/phone/electronics: We all love Pinterest just as much as the next guy or gal, but you can kill a good hour sitting on your phone looking for just the right pair of shoes to pin to your fashion board. Think about what else you can do with that hour and do whatever you can to protect that time. I actually leave my phone in the car when I get home at night and don't get it again until 8:30 or so. That is 3 1/2 straight hours where I don't have to resist the urge to check Instagram just one more time. I can be present for my family and have real human, in-person conversations. It's marvelous!
- Have fun and enjoy life: We are all so wrapped up in being hyper-productive and we get lost in all the busyness. Time is a precious commodity and it goes so fast. Yes, we need to work and we have projects we want to get done, but we also need to have fun along the way, too. It makes life so much more worth living!