4 Steps to Find More Time & Maximize Your Schedule
I’m really excited to dive into today’s blog post because I truly believe this exercise will benefit you regardless of where you’re at in life. I always end up doing this exercise when I begin to feel like my days are getting away from me, if I feel like I don’t have enough time in the day or the biggest one is that I’m not accomplishing my goals because I’m not taking action on them.
The purpose is to help you find more time and maximize it by being intentional with what you do and how you plan your time.
Current Assessment - Track Your Time
The first thing you need to do is track your time as it stands currently. The only way to know how you’re currently spending your time is to become aware of how you’re using it.
If you’re someone who is constantly feeling as if you’re “busy” or you don’t feel like you have enough time to get it all done, then I highly recommend going through this exercise.
Often times we mentally assume that tasks take longer to complete than they really do so, therefore, our experience and the meaning we give it is that it is draining and “takes forever”.
Growing up my mom would spend so much time talking about all the things she needed to get done rather than invest that time and energy into taking action and doing them.
If we spend time thinking and talking about the things we need to do, we expend energy that we could be using to take action on that said task. In addition, we also associate the talking and thinking with the actual time it takes us to do that which then causes us to believe something takes “forever” to do.
Another example is getting ready. I always assumed that it would take me an hour to get ready from getting into the shower to being fully dressed, ready to go. Until one day I actually decided to track my time from start to finish and realized that I could get ready in 45 minutes. While 15 minutes might not seem like a big deal in that one moment, it is when you look at it over a longer period. Assume that I wash my hair and get ready 4 times a week. That’s an extra hour back to my week. I realized that I would, what my grandma Zita calls it, “Puttsin’ around” I wasn’t efficient with the time when I was taking the shower, I’d get out and distract myself from getting ready; blowing drying/straighten my hair by checking emails or SM which drug the whole process out. Instead I wouldn’t allow myself to leave the bathroom after getting out the shower, I would only play podcast episodes (not music - that was a trigger for getting distracted because I’d want to pick up my phone more often to change music which then opened me up to jumping onto SM), and when I would just get ready vs thinking about it I proved that I could edit my routine of getting ready to maximize my time.
ACTION: I want you to track your time.
You can do this analog or digitally (Toggl if you do it digitally)
The first thing you need to do is commit to tracking your time, similarly as if you were to track your food intake.
Toggle has a desktop and app-based version and it is free. You can create projects within the software which makes it easy to track and assign your time.
Whether you do it via analog or digitally, I suggest identifying key categories ahead of time. Some examples of those may include:
Time you’re working (whether you have a f-t job or you’re a business owner)
Personal Care/getting ready
Working on side-hustle
Track your time for a week, start today.
I love it. I was sharing my experience on Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner (which I love by the way! And will do a video review soon) on Instagram and someone had responded said they ordered it and can’t wait to start using it next quarter. This was at the beginning of August which meant we were in month 2 of Q3. Full Focus Planner is broken up into quarters so I could see why intuitively she would want to wait. But the truth is, why wait? Then only use 2/3’s of the planner. Using 2/3’s of the planner is better than using zero thirds of the planner. Start today.
Don’t worry if you want to do it on paper, I have a FREE workbook you can download.
ADVANCED: When you track the categories I want you to write a quick note about the activities you were doing during that time. Some are self-explanatory like working a full-time job, working out and traveling and sleep but for things like working on side-hustle
After a week goes by I want you to carve out time to audit your time journal in efforts to find potential time thieves:
The time it takes to get ready in the morning - lay out your clothes in the evening so you’re not spending time making decisions in the morning, track how long you’re in the shower. Could you shave off 10-15 minutes every morning…adding back in 50 to 75 mins per week?
Commuting - While working from home is a luxury and you may not be able to do so, are you maximizing your time while in the car or on the training….listening to podcasts? Which I assume you are because you’re turning into She Did It Her Way…so check! Although sometimes I find myself wanting to take a break from podcasts and turn on the music. And in that case, I remind myself of why I’m listening to the podcasts, so that I can learn and get me closer to my goal. Same with reading. Reading before bed is an evening ritual.
Meal Prepping - how can you cut down the time it takes to create a meal and is it possible to meal prep batch at the beginning of the week. I love shopping at trader joes because they have ingredients that make it easy to put together and create a delicious meal.
TV - if you watch tv on a regular/weekly basis, how much and is it worth it?
Facebook/Social Media - same
Running errands - can you swap out amazon prime vs having to get in your car, spend time shopping
Example of shower
Identify what activities left you feeling drained and which ones gave you energy?
Watch how you think about the tasks and things you need to get done and do
Did the time of day when you worked on certain tasks for your business impact your ability to produce work and complete tasks? In the morning vs lunch vs after work?
Identify anchors to help create a routine:
I did a podcast episode a while back about identify anchors. Anchors are things you do that help create a routine in your schedule. They always benefit you when it comes to staying focus and they never detract or take away. They tend to give you energy. For example, my 3 anchors are 8 hours of sleep, eating proper food, and working out. My goal is to always incorporate 2 out of the 3 every single day. If I don’t work out, I still strive for my 8 hours of sleep and proper eating. If I have a social night out I always strive to still do a workout and 8 hours of sleep.
Having anchors can help build your schedule and create a routine.
Some people feel like planning and a routine is constricting but it is actually the opposite and provides freedom and margin for things you truly want to do with your time in your life.
Plan your new schedule
Always plan your days and weeks in advance
Commit to yourself and do the tasks you’ve assigned yourself to do.
Don’t allow yourself to do what you feel like doing at that moment - that is our primitive brain trying to get us to protect ourselves by doing what we feel like doing at the moment rather than doing what we’ve planned because we know we need to do it.
Can you wake up 30 minutes earlier - designate those 30 minutes as “growth activities” define 1 activity that you’re going to do within those 30 minutes that will move your business forward or your side-hustle. Don’t open your computer up until you know exactly what it is you’re going to do. Then limit the potential distractions once you open your computer.
Determine how many hours you have in a week and how many you can realistically devote to your business while working a full-time job, then set your work hours; morning, lunch, after work, list RGA (activities that will get you closer to producing revenue in your business. Email may or may not be one of them. busy work is not one of them. you want to make sure you are producing work that is getting you closer to your goal.
We all have circumstances in our life that we have to work around. A circumstance is a fact about something. It is neutral. We all have facts about our lives. It is the meaning we give it and how we think about that circumstance is the role that we allow it to play.
Set your boundaries
Honor your commitment to yourself.
Don’t dabble, go all in. Take massive action, not just passive.