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I think many people struggle with time management. There’s just so much to do and not enough time…or so it seems.
You see, time is essentially an illusion. But then again it’s not because most of us work jobs or have schedules that make it seem otherwise. And of course our time here is limited and we can never get time that has passed back, which is why it’s so important to manage it.
I’m gonna toot my own horn for a second because I’m pretty proud of the things that I juggle. I’m not the most productive person I will admit, but for years I’ve been able to manage and stay on top of a number of things.
Here’s what I do now:
-Work full-time, 6:30-3 M-F
-Commute to and from work (about 2 hours total, sometimes less, usually more)
-Workout 6 times a week, about 1.5 hours each day
-Eat healthy meals by meal prepping EVERY single Sunday
-I am a blogger (1 post/week + multiple blogging tasks)
-I am a YouTuber (1 video/week)
-I have a boyfriend
-I meditate and read regularly (just about daily)
-My day to day tasks include: dishes, laundry, feeding/walking our dogs, cleaning my room, grocery shopping, staying on top of bills, e-mails, trying to post more on Instagram, planning content, etc.
I know my lifestyle isn’t for everyone. I work, work out, then work on my side hustles when I’m home. I know my life may seem boring, but this is what I want. I do this to work toward my goals.
Some people want to live a life working the 9-5 and coming home to relax and watch tv. That’s completely fine if that makes you happy!! That’s not what I want though. And if that’s not what you want then gaining control of your time is 100% necessary.
Here’s how to manage it all:
Fill two needs with one deed
Optimize your time by combining certain tasks. This doesn’t necessarily mean multi-tasking because that may be counter productive. If there are a couple of things that can be done simultaneously without problem, then do them together!
These are my real life examples:
-I attend a weekly meditation class (social, spirituality) with my mom (relationships)
-During my commute (necessity) I listen to podcasts or motivational audio (personal development) OR I’ll talk to my boyfriend on the phone (relationships)
-While I do cardio at the gym (staying fit) I’ll catch up on YouTube videos (recreation/fun)
-While I fold laundry (day to day tasks) I’ll watch YouTube videos (recreation/fun) or talk on the phone (relationships)
-While I meal prep (eating healthy) I listen to or watch educational/motivational videos (personal development)
-I also work on my ebooks/digital products or schedule pins on Tailwind during my lunch breaks!
Over the years and as my life changes, I’ve been able to optimize my time more. Combining these things usually makes life more enjoyable anyway.
Self-discipline takes effort and time to develop. It’s not always easy, however it’s necessary if you want to take your life to a different level. I think a lot of people get motivation, willpower, and discipline confused. They are all separate and when it comes down to it, motivation and willpower mean nothing.
Motivation and willpower don’t last or work. How many times do you get super motivated to work out or wake up early but when it comes to it you don’t show up at the gym or you hit the snooze button?
With self-discipline you correct and regulate your behavior to get shit done, even if you don’t feel like it. The moments when you really don’t feel like doing something but you make yourself do it anyway, that’s what will make you grow. You’ll become more driven, more dedicated, you’ll pick up better habits, and you’ll gain more confidence in yourself.
If you struggle with self-discipline, a good way to improve that is to make commitments and/or do something that will make you more likely do whatever it is you need to do.
If you book a trainer you have to go workout, otherwise you’re disrespecting their time and you’ll probably receive a fee.
If you join a book club, it’s not necessarily a full on commitment, but you’ll probably enjoy it and not want to miss out. You will be reading and engaging in social activities on a regular basis. This is one reason why I attend a weekly meditation class. I learn and practice my spirituality plus I get to interact with like-minded people.
If you’re a blogger/freelance worker you can set deadlines and even make them public to your readers or to whoever it may be. You’ll be way more motivated to complete something if other people are expecting it from you. You’ll gain discipline in no time.
Get into a routine/Schedule tasks
As someone with a “Type A” personality I thrive off of routine, planning, lists, schedules, and predictability. That is exactly why I generally live my life by routine. This doesn’t work for everyone because we’re all different, but it’s definitely what has allowed me to do more each day. Wake up at the same time, have clothes laid out and your lunch packed, leave by a certain time, plan your day, write a to-do list, etc. It’s those little details of each day that lead to big changes in your life.
Something I started doing recently that has been working really well is scheduling certain tasks for specific days. I have 2-3 hours every day to work on my side hustles so I’ve decided that Mondays and Tuesdays will be for editing and uploading YouTube videos (+creating a thumbnail and writing a description, brainstorming more video ideas). Wednesday is for working through courses/learning. Thursday – Sunday is for writing blog posts mostly, but once I complete a post I’ll move on to designing multiple Pinterest images, brainstorming ideas, outlining another blog post, etc. I get distracted very easily and I’m the type of person to be working on multiple things at one time. Before scheduling like this I would edit a video for a bit then start a new blog post then pin a little bit then it would be bed time and I really didn’t get anything accomplished.
Now, I don’t allow myself to work on anything EXCEPT those tasks for the day and I’ve been WAY more productive and consistent. This style of scheduling can be applied to anything in your life…cleaning, school work, clients, etc.
Outside of my work/side hustles, my Saturday afternoons and evenings are typically spent with my boyfriend and my Sundays are for meal prepping, cleaning, and getting everything ready for the week.
Similarly, routines set you up for success.
For example, waking up early and on time will allow you to squeeze in things that you enjoy during the first couple hours of your day (meditating, reading, getting ready without rushing, slowly sipping your coffee). Or going to the gym right after work removes the temptation to relax at home. These routines build habits and you’ll only get better at them!
Life will never be 100% balanced. That’s just reality. If you want to focus on something specific in your life other areas will likely receive less attention.
As Gary Keller wrote in The One Thing, “Extraordinary results require focused attention and time. Time on one thing means time away from another. This makes balance impossible.”
For me I don’t spend much time doing “recreational/fun” activities. Why? I would rather be blogging or editing to work toward my future. That is something I willingly sacrifice, I’ve come to accept, and actually prefer.
If you want to lose weight you’re gonna have to spend more time at the gym and less time drinking/eating out with friends.
If you want to run your own business you’re gonna have to give up watching tv all the time and scrolling through social media.
If you want to travel the world, you’ll probably sacrifice a lot of time with family/friends.
What sacrifices are you willing to make to get what you want? That’s the important question here.
If it takes less than five minutes, do it
This simple rule has been a life changer for me. If I notice I am procrastinating on something I think to myself, “No that’ll take a couple minutes, just do it.” And then I do it.
-washing the dishes right after using them
-taking the trash out
-emptying out your gym bag
-packing your gym bag
-making the bed
-lay out your work/gym clothes for the next morning
-responding to an e-mail
-tidying your room
These tasks may seem so minuscule and unimportant, but living by this rule does a couple of things for you:
1) you’ll gain more confidence and trust in YOURSELF because you’re getting these things done and not allowing yourself to push them off
and 2) you’re making your life so much easier by just getting whatever it is out of the way.
Have you ever been running late one morning and you’re about to pour your coffee into your travel mug to only realize that it’s sitting in your growing pile of dirty dishes from yesterday? What if you would have just washed them?
Time is one of our most valuable assets. You can never get it back and we are limited on how much is left. Manage your time how YOU want to live your life. If you’re working toward a certain goal that’s going to require everything I just mentioned. Juggling all areas of life is a challenge, but it will pay off in the long run!