Does anyone else feel the pressure of school schedules, kid’s activities, and all the things creeping back in? I don’t know about you, but as a mom of 7-year old twins, I was really loving the slowness of summer and not having 12 activities to go to every day. But, whether we like it or not, fall is coming which means schedules, school, and a few more activities than you might be used to. How about we put together a plan to crush the crazies and actually find some time to enjoy the season? Sound good?
One of my favorite quotes is “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”. And while I am not an expert on patience, I can share how to better take control of your schedule (and time) and even save up to two hours a day! (Just in case you were calculating, that is 7,200 seconds of time you can use on YOUR priorities).
As you jump back into the “busy” season, use these tips to take back control of your schedule (and actually spend some time doing what you love).
Here are 7 steps you can take to take control of your schedule, beat the burnout, and actually enjoy this next season.
- STOP USING TIME AS AN EXCUSE. You have exactly enough time to do exactly what you need to do. I write this mantra down everyday. You probably won’t get through your 100 line to-do list but can you focus on 3 things that HAVE to get done today? Do those. And celebrate that. (p.s. I call this the 3-layer Cake method. You can grab how to implement it here).
So often people get lost working on projects with little importance or impact. Take a few minutes each morning to confirm with yourself that the projects you took on will actually have positive impact on your life and the lives of others. Then you can rank them so the best projects get your valuable time.
- STOP SCROLLING. Despite managing my business on social media, I am not online very much. I do it very strategically. I set aside time to connect on social media and then get off. And I do it in 20-50 minute increments. Otherwise, while I am working on other tasks my phone is in airplane mode! Crazy concept, I know. But it works. There are also a few browser apps that you can load that block you from social media sites after a certain amount of time or use your Apple Watch to track your time.
And most importantly, do not scroll first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed. This time is gold. Kids are asleep (hopefully), it is quiet. Do something you love instead. Do you want others to influence the most important times of your day? By stopping scrolling alone, you will save an hour, minimum. Try it.
- TIME BLOCK DIFFERENTLY. I call this time blocking with intention. Anyone can take the step to block out their calendar, but do it with intention and purpose. Start by making sure you are scheduling white space, breaks and down time (12 hours of straight activities is not going to go as planned, I guarantee it).
You also want to recognize when you have more energy. As an example, I come out the gate strong on Monday but I leave time for planning and strategizing but by Friday. I try not to schedule meetings so I can “catch up”. I know I will be tired. And ready for a break. So don’t save your biggest task for Friday night. Just as your energy fluctuates throughout the day and week so does your attention.
This can work for daily routines too. When do you have your most energy? Mornings? Evenings? Plan your day around that. And when you don’t have energy, schedule something fun. Or something that is going to get those energy levels back up.
In addition to time blocking you can also do a few fun things to motivate you to be super focused during the day by bookending your day. I pick the first two hours of the day to focus on my self-care and my VIP tasks as I call them as I am a morning person. Don’t leave the hardest tasks for when you are the most unproductive. Then at the end of the day I block out time for family and a least one hour before bed relax.
Make your plan work for you.
- GIFT YOURSELF 30 MINUTES A DAY. Your day belongs to you. You may choose to give it to work, friends, TV or whatever but ultimately it is your time and you can choose how to use it. Instead of battling it, show time you are in control. Take 30 minutes each and every day to use on yourself in the best way possible so you can be your best for others. Give yourself the present of 1800 seconds.
- BLOCK TIME TO CHECK EMAILS. Only check email 1-2 times a day. This will probably save you another hour alone because let’s face it, you go to check emails then you end up on Facebook or Instagram or down the Pinterest rabbit hole and 30 minutes of your time is gone. You want to say NO to busy work as much as possible.
- DON’T COMPARE. Your schedule isn’t going to look like anyone else’s. Just because I get up at 5am, doesn’t mean you need to. You have to play around with what works for you and when it feels good and you feel fulfilled, stick with it!
- WHAT GET MEASURED GETS DONE. If you measure the time you spend you can identify areas where you can adjust and improve. Try measuring your time just for a week, or even a day. You’ll be surprised where you find pockets of poorly used time that you can reapportion. I do this by asking 2 simple questions at the end of each week.
What went well?
What can I improve on?
Taking time to slow down to speed up is going to save you time heading into the next week. Don’t skip this step!
Will there ever be enough time? No. As a mom of 7-year-olds twins now, a full-time corporate career, and a growing 6-figure business, I get being busy. What if you re-framed everything and focused on the fact that there is the perfect amount of time. And everything that needs getting accomplished will.
Use these steps to get there. That time freedom you have been dreaming of is waiting. Let’s stop the trend and injustice of burning out before we see the profitability of all our hard work. There is a better way.
Want to learn more productivity and strategy tips to scale without burnout on a schedule that works for you? Be sure to take the “Productivity Personality Quiz” for customized results, and a binge-worthy list of resources.