“There’s just not enough hours in the day.” If I had a dollar every time I said or thought that statement… I should join the circus because it seems like I’ve become a professional at juggling, haha, between my job, working on the blog, maintaining a household, being a good wife, and social events. Who’s with me?! Don’t leave ya girl hanging in self pity! I’m currently in my summer hours for my job so I have a little spare time, yet it still doesn’t seem like enough! I’m going to have a real wake up call when school starts back up with my full hours, or better yet, once we start having kids!
I actually enjoy being busy, as much as I try to avoid it, because I feel that’s life pushing me to be better, to grow, to challenge myself. But that doesn’t mean I’m always the best at it. Helloooo! I said it was for me to grow, not to be perfect! There are days that fly by so fast I’m lucky if I scratched two items off my to-do list, or weeks will go by that I haven’t caught up with my girlfriends. Whoops! BUT, with the help of some time management hacks, things are looking up, and I’ve never been so productive!
As women, we wear a lot of different hats. Isn’t that the beauty of being a woman?! We can be and do anything! Whether you’re a 9 to 5 working girl, a student, or a stay-at-home-mom, your time is so important and so valuable. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s up to you how you use them! Check out my time management hacks below that I’ve been implementing in my crazy busy life!
Before you can even really get started, you’ve got to set some goals. How can you manage your time, if you don’t know why you are trying to manage it??? I’m a big fan of “SMART” goals, something I learned from the hubby back in college. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Are you trying to be more efficient at work? Looking to be more positive? Lower your stress level? Focus on your overall health and well-being? Once you know what you want, it’s way easier to put your sassy pants on and get to work!
Analyze Current Habits
If you’re looking to make some changes, you gotta figure out where you’re going wrong right now. What’s not working for you? How are you wasting time? Every person’s answers may vary, but I can bet ya there’s one common answer: SOCIAL. MEDIA. The age of digital media and smartphones are both a blessing and a curse in my opinion (Trust me, I work in the Communications field). I get so easily distracted by them. I often find myself working on a task for 15 minutes, and then I take a 20 minute Instagram or Pinterest break. Talk about wasting time! Recognize the habits that are holding you back and change them. It’s only going to help you in the long run!
Prioritization is Key
When making your to-do lists, it’s crucial that you prioritize. That way the important things are bound to get done. Let’s think about it. Organizing your junk drawer vs. finishing a critical project that has a deadline. Which do you think you should be working on first? Now don’t get me wrong, an organized junk drawer will absolutely give me a sense of peace, but a completed work project will give me a sense of accomplishment! So, it’s not just important to make to-do lists, you need to plan ahead and make a list of what takes precedence and start from there. I find that when I skip prioritizing, I’m trying to schedule every second of my day and that just sets me up for failure. And NO procrastinating! We are all guilty of doing it! If you procrastinate, there’s a chance you might not even get your priorities done, and that’s no good.
Learn to Say “NO”
How can something so simple be so hard?! If you’re a perfectionist, a people pleaser, a go-getter, or you’re afraid of FOMO, this step may be easier said than done. I really feel for you because I’m all of those things. It’s SO hard for me to say “no,” but I really am trying to work on it. You need to “treat yo’ self” by taking care of yo’ self, in every way – physically, mentally, and emotionally. You have to realize how full your plate is, and if you keep saying “yes” to everything, it’s just a recipe for disaster. The more you say “no,” the more present you can be in the things you say “yes” to.
Delegate to Others
Yeah, yeah, yeah… How would a control freak perfectionist, like myself, EVER let someone else do something for me? It’s extremely hard y’all, but I can’t emphasize enough how necessary it is! You simply cannot do it all yourself! I am a firm believer of being a strong, sassy woman that can do everything, but in reality, we can’t. And that’s okay to admit. If you spread yourself too thin, you’re just asking to fail. It’s okay to admit you need help! Now, is it easy? Absolutely not! What if this person doesn’t know how to do what I need them to do? What if it’s not up to my standards? Whether it’s work related or tasks at home, you gotta let those doubts go, build a rockstar team around you, and you’ll feel better about having help from others.
Have a Non-Negotiable List
Similar to learning to say “no,” if you’re a people pleaser and famous for biting off more than you can chew, it’s important to prioritize and give yourself a list of non-negotiables – things that you must put first, no matter what. That can be specific family time, or choosing work items over your social life. I like to have a list of at least three non-negotiables at a time, whether it’s each week or month. That way you can remember what is important. And, you have a legitimate excuse for people when you turn them down. Your non-negotiables may change depending on what’s going on in your life but stick to them! Remember what is important to YOU! More or better opportunities may begin to arise as a result!
Keep An Hour Free
When I’m planning out my time it’s so easy for me to be super ambitious and schedule every single moment of my day out. Type A all the way! However, that’s not realistic. It’s important to set some free time during your day in case other tasks run late or you end up putting out fires you didn’t plan for. I used to make these huge to-do lists, and since life doesn’t always go as planned, I found myself not crossing off half of the items on my list. Then I would feel defeated because it looked like I wasn’t that productive during the day on paper. Now I always keep an hour or two in my day free because other things will always pop up or take longer than I had planned!
Find a Planner System
I don’t care what you say, you need some type of planner system in your life. You can’t be that person that writes on random sticky notes that get lost half the time, or make little notes on your hand. No ma’am! Find a planner system that works for you and stick with it. Whether you’re a paper planner girl or keep tasks in your phone’s calendar, do what works best for you and your crazy schedule! For me, I do a combination of both. I use four different systems for organizing my job and personal life: Erin Condren Life Planner for personal tasks, events and for the blog, a work agenda book where I keep my daily to-do lists for my job, the calendar on my phone where I put big events as a quick reference, and a paper notepad for other random daily to-do lists. I know… woah! It seems excessive, but it helps me get the job done!
Watch the Clock
Being productive, isn’t that what we’re trying to work on? Being more productive with our time and not wasting it? Right, just making sure we’re still on the same page! A miracle cube timer should be your new best friend then! I find myself scheduling out my day, with setting aside a certain amount of time for tasks, but then the inevitable happens. I trail off on another task way longer than I set aside time for, or I get lost checking my inbox for what seems like hours. If this is you, you need to grab one of these timers! This is obviously great for work tasks but even works with home tasks. If you say you’re going to pick up around the house for 15 minutes, set the timer, timer goes off, and boom, you’re reminded to move on to your next task! No wasting time here!
Get Up Earlier
Okay don’t hate me! If anyone loves their beauty sleep, it’s this girl right here. But getting up earlier sets you up for success. Lately, I have been getting up at 5:45 a.m. and while it’s really rough sometimes, it’s absolutely worth it! If you’re thinking “no way Jose,” I suggest to start off small. Get up 15 minutes earlier for a week, then bump it up to 30, then an hour. I can’t emphasize enough how much an extra hour in the morning helps! By me getting up earlier, I’m able to shower, get some blogging work done, and do a few chores around the house, all before I actually have to start getting ready for work. I feel much more organized, and it will allow you to have more free time in the evenings to do something you enjoy. If I sleep in then I feel frazzled during the day, like I’m constantly behind, and I possibly have to stay up late to finish tasks.
Lastly, take advantage of Sunday evenings. I’m the queen of lazy Sundays, but I’ll still take about an hour and plan ahead for the week. I write out my schedule for the week in my planner, make my to-do lists, and I’ll also get the house in order. Anything that I can do to help my mornings and my week run smoother, I do. If I’m productive on Sundays, I know I’ll be productive during the week.
I hope one of these hacks help you in whatever tasks or goals you’re trying to accomplish! The next time you open your super cute planner or organized notebook and see a full day or week ahead, take a deep breath, use these tactics, and remember the smart, strong, independent woman you are! You’ll be able to tackle anything this crazy life throws at you. You got this!
You can never have too many time management tips. Do you have any that you live by?! I’d love to hear how you make the most of your time and day! Let me know in the comments!