As we wrap up our month focused on our attitudes towards money, I thought it helpful to focus on how you spend your time. Each of us has 24 hours in a day and how we use those 24 hours can make a big difference in our abundance – financial or otherwise. In the life you are designing for yourself – whether as a result of divorce or other life changes, here are some strategies you might find helpful.
In the past, you’ve learned some tricks on how to manage your time, whether you’ve learned from a boss, a friend, or on your own. Yet putting those tricks into action is often a different story. You have to learn how to make a schedule for yourself, which sounds about as daunting as being your own boss. Take out your self-starter hat and get ready to learn how to manage your time all on your own with these six hacks!
- Leave Wiggle Room Between your Time Blocks
Friends, meet buffer-time. No one should have a fully stacked calendar with no time in between for a break. Block out buffer-time on your calendar in between meetings and tasks. Your future self will thank you when your days are more productive, and the hours are less exhausting.
- Organize Yourself
This is a big life change for some people because organization habits don’t always come easily. At first, it may feel like you are spending extra time trying to stay organized, but the payoff is worth it. Here’s a staggering statistic: On average, Americans waste about 2.5 days a year looking for misplaced objects. Don’t be part of that statistic! Find a place for your belongings and always put them back where they belong. This goes for computer files too! Create a simple filing system and save new documents to the correct location. You might want to engage a professional organizer to help jumpstart this process.
- Make Use of the 80-20 Rule
Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? Otherwise known as the 80-20 rule, this principle says that you can get 80% of the work done in 20% of the time. Similarly, 80% of the results come from 20% of the actions. It can be applied to many things in life, so it’s a great concept to apply to your usage of time. Get in the habit of noticing what tasks get the most results. Spend more time on those actions and cut out some of the responsibilities that take up time but don’t produce the outcomes you are looking for.
- Stop Waiting
Every once and a while, you’ll inevitably have to wait for something: at the grocery store, in the doctor’s office, in traffic. Instead of actually waiting, or deferring to your phone for entertainment, do something productive with your time. Listen to a podcast you’ve been dying to try out, read a book on an interesting topic, or write in your journal. Turn waiting time into productive time. I know a gal who wrote a book 5 minutes at a time!
- Organize Your Tasks in Blocks
Batch all your similar tasks together. For example, don’t check your email every time someone pings you (it is so tempting). If it’s urgent, go right ahead, but otherwise, set a time block every two hours or so to plow through all your emails at one time. This keeps you focused, which is a more efficient way to work.
- Try to Do Less
This may sound like a slacker approach, but it’s not. Believe it or not – we take on way more than we need to, meaning we take on more than is beneficial to ourselves. If you find yourself planning events, chatting with your friends or family, and dabbling in someone else’s business, you may have spread yourself to thin. By doing that, you’re not helping yourself or anyone else. In the end, you could wind up letting down people because you overpromise and under-deliver.
Worth Mentioning….when we are moving through big emotional related situations, some of us like to talk about it and others never talk about it but rather internalize it. Talking about it is often helpful for several reasons: it releases energy and secondly, it helps some of us process information. Both are valuable. The caution is around “friends are getting tired of hearing about it” and could you be using the time for something more productive? If you are one who internalizes and does not “talk about it”, make sure you have other ways to release the emotions as you do not want to end up sick with something.
Have a cup of coffee and think about how you currently use your 24 hours and consider if there might be other ways you would choose to use an hour or two?
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