We always seem to be busy because life is busy. There are never as many hours in the day to achieve what we want to. If you’re an adult then there are jobs that need to happen to make money to pay the rent.
Then there are the relationships that need fostering, with a partner or friends or family, and then if you have kids well, there’s them too!! And on top of that there is all the activities we like to do for us, you know, the ones that keep you feeling sane and like yourself. Sometimes there is study instead of work, or study on top of work with kids and rock climbing hobby!! And then there is the awful guilt that comes with procrastination, with scrolling a little too long down your Facebook page, or watching a few too many episodes of your favourite show instead of sleeping, oh yes!! Did I forget to mention you also need to sleep! It’s really all a bit much sometimes and we often end up doing more of the procrastinating because our brains need a break from thinking of the stress of all that other ‘stuff’ that needs doing.
So how do we get through life, fitting in everything nicely, having enough time to make the money we need, to spend time with the people we care about and to nurture ourselves and take care of our own personal needs too? Well it’s all about time management. A mug I once read said ‘You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce’ Truer words have never been spoken. We are all living on that same twenty four hour clock, and yes Beyonce may have assistants and managers and a ‘person’ for about every job and it may seem a little cruel to compare our own time management to hers, but still it’s the concept that matters. We CAN have enough time, it’s just about how we allocate it. So below I’ve put together some hacks to help you change the way you see time and be able to make the most of it so you can spend more time doing what you really love.
Every day starts with a morning (provided you wake before twelve…) Morning is the best time to set your intentions for the day and start off on the right foot. We’ve tried to turn our day around half way through after that long unneeded sleep in or those two hours of aimless Instagram scrolling, and while it is possible, it’s also HARD. That’s why it’s so important to set yourself up properly as soon as you wake. Setting yourself a morning routine is an excellent way to become efficient and also put you in a good frame of mind for the day ahead. So first start by making a list of everything you currently do in the morning before work/school, then make a list of everything you NEED to get done in the morning. Eat, shower, get dressed, feed the kids, pack your lunch, exercise. This only works if you are being honest with yourself. But take a look as both lists and see the things that you can cut down. Maybe every morning you spend time on messenger talking to friends or online watching Youtube clips. Or maybe you press snooze three times on your alarm clock. Now it’s time to prioritize. Work out how much time you actually have in the morning, if you are getting up at a reasonable hour. Start to make a schedule from most important to least. You may find you really don’t have time for that 20 minutes of Instagram, but you could replace it with a 10 minute guided meditation to help center yourself instead. Go through your list and be brutal, but also allow enough time for everything so that you don’t feel rushed. You may have to get up half an hour earlier or you may find that if you prepare your lunch or breakfast the night before you can make time for that 30 minute run in the morning. When it comes to time management it’s all about priorities. Once you work out a good morning routine it’s important to stick to it as best you can, be army like about it especially for the first few weeks, it may be hard at first and feel like your mornings are so mechanical but within a few weeks you’ll start to ease into and you may even see you didn’t need as much time for one task as you thought and you could replace that with something a little more indulgent. Soon your mornings will start to sync in so well with you that it will no longer feel like a rigid routine and it just becomes your ordinary life, except you are no longer chasing the bus down the street or coming into work stressed because you didn’t get everything you needed to get done, done.
There are plenty of little hacks you can look into in your mornings, see what tasks you put together. For example if you like to read a bit in the morning but never seem to have time, but you spend half an hour in traffic on your daily commute, then try an audio book instead. Or if you catch public transport to work or school, then could be the perfect time to check your social media and emails, or catch up of your Youtube watching, instead of doing it in bed when you first wake up. Little hacks like these will free up a lot more time than you think.
Making lists sounds kind of boring and not so freeing, but trust me, it’s a great habit to get into and helps you with a sense of achievement throughout your day. The best time to start a list is either in the morning or the night before. You can use just a plain exercise book or notebook for this. Write down the days date you are making your list for and begin. Just put everything you can think of that you NEED to do that day down. Now we are not talking, eat, brush your teeth, type stuff, more the little things we may forget Eg. Post letter. Reply to email about cheese, pick up tomatoes from the store. Then you can go back through and put a mark next to the more important ones. Some tasks you may not get crossed off that day and then you can move them onto the next day’s page. Crossing things off a list for some reasons gives a huge amount of satisfaction, and what a feeling it is when all, or even most things are crossed off at the end of the day. Making lists can give you more time during the day as you don’t need to waste your time stressing and thinking ‘oh what was that one thing I needed to do today?’ It helps take a load off because all you need to do is look down and refer to the list for guidance.
As I said earlier, time management is all about the way you prioritize things. Take a look at your life and see what are firstly the things you enjoy most. Write them all down on a big piece of paper if you have to. Then make a list of all the things you HAVE to do, like work, study, cook, and grocery shop, the essentials of modern life really. Now make a list of all the things you don’t like doing, or that don’t bring much fulfillment to you. See where those list collide with your needs. Maybe you don’t really like your work but you need to pay rent so either you look for another job, or if for the moment you decide to stay put, then you need to obviously take time for it. Much like your morning routine system, have a look at the things you end up doing that are not serving you. Maybe you are spending time hanging out with friends you don’t even really like, well if you are then stop!! And use that time to be with people you really cherish or to spend valuable time with yourself with a hobby or interest you really do enjoy. Maybe you stay for after work drinks on a Thursday even though you don’t particularly want to but feel obliged, well, from now on tell them you have other commitments and use that time in a better way.
May also find you use a lot of time watching TV, well how about choose only 3 shows you absolutely love, instead of binging on shows that kind of annoy you because you can’t be bothered doing anything else.
Go To Bed Happy
When you start to free up your life and order it you’ll find you go to sleep peacefully and happily because you’ve been able to achieve things and make times for the things in life that really matter to you. And you’ll also rest easy knowing that the things you didn’t quite get around to are patiently waiting on the list for tomorrow!