We all feel limited by the number of hours in a day. Quite often, the hours fly by and we forget how we spent them so quickly. I understand how frustrating it can feel for the end of the day to roll around and you only feel like you’ve got half of what you were aiming to do done.
This blog post is a step-by-step guide on how to schedule and plan your day more effectively so you can get more done and spend more time doing what you love!
Previously, I’ve discussed that my understanding of productivity lies in not ‘getting more done’ in a day, but rather having the ability to complete what you need to complete within a smaller time frame. Hence enabling you to complete more of what you have to leave you more time for what you love and enjoy. With this perspective, being more productive is all about having more time to do what you love and enjoy.
Productive people understand how to manage their time. They have the ability to look at their to-do list and prioritise the tasks at hand. They are efficient with their time and manage it well. Perhaps you’ve heard that saying, “if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it”. Busy people know how to fit things in because they’re spending a lot of their time practicing how to prioritise, how to efficiently work through tasks and also how to delegate effectively. They know their strengths and accept their weaknesses.
This blog post is all about enabling yourself to design your day like a productive person and organise your time more effectively. The goal here is not to cram more work into your day (although sometimes this may be necessary), but rather it’s to assist you in completing what you need to do at a steady pace while enabling you to still incorporate the things you love and enjoy into your day. We need to give our hobbies and our passions some time to shine. While work is super important, play is just as vital to our happiness, social lives and our ability to live to our fullest potential.
How to Make Time for Everything: A Step-By-Step Guide
1. Write a List of your Non-Negotiables:
These are the tasks you just don’t have a choice on. These are the concrete, and definite events in your week that you have to complete. This could include anything from dropping the kids off at school, to meetings or work trips. Write a full list of these and how much time they demand of you.
2. Write a List of the things you wish to incorporate in your week:
These are the pipe dreams you’ve been putting off, or the pilates classes you wish you had time for. Think about hobbies you’ve wanted to explore or places you’re wanting to go. Perhaps you would love to have an evening to yourself every week just for some time of self-care. Or perhaps you’re wanting to introduce a ‘self-care hour’ into your evening routine. Next to each of these tasks, write the amount of time you would like to dedicate to this task each week. For example, 1 hour for a pilates session or 45 minutes for a trip to the local Saturday market.
3. Grab your Weekly Planner (see Printable below)
Begin to insert your non-negotiables into the day. Remember, be specific with this weekly planner. Put in your morning routines/evening routines etc.
Next, build more tasks around your morning and evening routine. The middle of the day can typically get a little messy. Often, something will come up or someone will throw something at you. Building more into or around your morning and evening routine gives you a greater chance of being able to complete them without being interrupted. For example, perhaps once you get home from dropping the kids off at school, you immediately complete a task which aligns with your hobbies or passions. This means that later in the day if someone/something interrupts your day they are more likely to interrupt you in a less enjoyable task like replying to emails.
Find ways to tie in enjoyable moments into mundane tasks. For example, I love to listen to podcasts while I drive, clean, walk or shower. It enables me to increase my amount of learning for that day and due to the wide range of podcasts available, I could learn something completely new or something which assists me in my university studies etc. Find ways to tie non-negotiables to enjoyable tasks. If you find it really important to have a workout each day but you also really want to have the opportunity to watch an episode of an enjoyable series, complete your workout during the ad breaks of the show. Similarly, break up the evening cleaning by cleaning during the ad breaks or dashing to put on a load of washing. For me, it becomes a bit of a game of how many things I can get done before the tv show begins again.
Try to arrive at your non-negotiable tasks early, for example, have a shorter shower in the morning and leave home a little earlier. This gives you the opportunity to arrive at work or your first appointment a few minutes earlier - this is a great opportunity to send a few emails, or plan your day efficiently so the remainder of your day runs smoothly.
You’ll be amazed at how well actually planning your week effectively works. Once you’re able to visually see your week, you’re able to find the gaps in your day to slot in the things you previously didn’t have time for. A busy mind is a busy life. If we feel like we’ve got a lot on, or if we’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, it’s often because we’re unable to see the bigger picture. All you are able to see are the 5 appointments you have today, rather than the 4 15 minutes slots between them. It’s about looking at the time during your day as an opportunity. You decide how you spend it, and you have the ability to change how you fulfil those minutes.
4. Prioritise What you Enjoy, Get Rid of What You Don’t
Having time for yourself is just as important as the time you give to others. Prioritise the time you spend simply looking after yourself or doing things solely because you enjoy them. The time is there if you’re willing to find it, and sacrifice the time you’re wasting in a day. Plan well and efficiently and you have the ability to finish a day feeling as if you have accomplished more. But most importantly, more of what brings you joy. Also, remember to schedule time for rest. Life is busy and we have a lot of people demanding of us all the time. Especially now with social media, it’s easy to feel as that we can never fully switch off. Scheduling your rest days and just as important as scheduling your work days.
Don’t forget about self-care time either. Are you able to paint your nails while you finish that phone call? Make yourself a cup of tea while you run those errands. Don’t be afraid to delegate! If the laundry is dragging you away from family time, get someone in to do the laundry for you. If time cooking dinner and getting groceries is preventing you from socialising with your family at the end of the day, order your groceries online or look into a food bag solution. Communicate with your partner and children and begin to delegate the tasks according to what people enjoy or what people could learn the most from!
Once you’ve drawn up your new weekly plan, ask yourself ‘does this look manageable?’
Perhaps your new routine needs a bit of a trial period to see how it functions. You have the freedom to adapt your routine as required, but this is a great exercise to give yourself a better idea of how things can work. It’s all about having the ability to deconstruct, analyse and reconstruct your week. You may find that you have things on your list which you would love to incorporate however they don’t align with your schedule at this point in time. Keep this list! Review this list during your weekly GYST as there might be a point in time in the future where this fits in. Or rather, you may do this on a monthly basis and prioritise certain things according to the month. For example, one month is focused on incorporating self-care. While the next may be based on getting fit for your future holiday!
We’ve become so used to becoming slaves to our own calendars. We need to understand that how we spend our time and prioritise what we allow into our lives is up to us! This exercise is based on having the ability to fully understand what we’re allowing into our days while identifying the areas where we can spend our time more wisely.
I hope this post has given you a few ideas of how you can adapt your routine according to your passions. Once again, productivity is all about having the ability to spend more of your time doing what you love. Hope you all have a very productive week!
Hi there! Thanks for checking out the Live Lively blog. I am so excited to share my passion for productivity, personal growth and wellbeing!