There’s this huge lie we tell ourselves that “we don’t have enough time”. There is some truth to do that because eventually one day we won’t have any more time, but right now (right this moment) we have time. There are 24 hours in a day, if you can’t make the most of those hours then time isn’t the problem, you are!
Way too many people suffer from a disease called procrastination. I’ll admit, there are times where I’ve fallen victim to procrastination too. I used to believe that procrastination was an excuse we used when we’re either afraid or too lazy to do anything. However, according to Timothy Pychyl, a professor who studies procrastination at Carleton University, in Ottawa, he says that “most psychologists see procrastination as a kind of avoidance behavior, a coping mechanism gone awry in which people give in to feel good.”
Procrastination usually arises when people fear or dread, or have anxiety about, the important task awaiting them. To rid themselves of this negative feeling, people procrastinate. Some of the same attributes can be applied to poor time management. It’s not that you don’t have time it’s that you’re either wasting time (by avoiding the thing that needs to be done and using the time to do something else) or not making the most of the time you have (not planning accordingly in order to complete important tasks).
Whatever the reason, below are some tips to get you to stop wasting time and help you start making the most of the time you have.
STOP wasting time on unimportant things.
Make a detailed time list of your entire day from the minute you wake up till the time you go to bed. You have to really see what your time is being spent on in order to see where you can cut back and reallocate.
Assign the amount of time you spend on each of those activities (include time spent watching TV, on Social Media, and any extracurricular activities).
Then start eliminating any activities that do not add value to your life or contribute to your goals. Add up the total time then re-allocate that time to your goal(s).
Cut your lunch hour in half or use your break time to work on your projects/goals (every minute counts).
It doesn’t take most of us an hour to eat lunch. So if you are struggling with finding time throughout your day to do the things you need to do you can start by cutting your lunch hour in a half and using some of that time to work on other tasks that require your attention. Not having a time is an excuse. There is always time we can use if we’re willing to sacrifice areas or activities that do not require all the time we’ve allotted to them.
Cut your time spent on social media if it isn’t directly related to promoting yourself, brand, business, etc.
Unless you’re using social media to increase your business/brand reach the time you spend scrolling and liking should be limited. Social media is a huge a time killer and provides no real substantial benefits. Cut your time spent on the internet and redirect to activities directly related to your goals.
Use time spent commuting (on the bus/subway) to work on your goals.
As a writer, I find that my daily 2 hour commute to and from work (1 hour each way) are some of my most productive hours. While it is tempting to spend those hours on social media, I use it to do my writing. I also use to jot down podcast episode ideas, respond to emails, and create content topics for the articles I write. We live in a world where we’re constantly waiting. So whether we’re waiting on line at the bank or the supermarket all of those 5–10 minutes spent waiting eventually add up. Start using that time!
Wake up an hour to 30 minutes earlier or go to bed 30 minutes to an hour later.
My typical day starts at 5 a.m. and ends around midnight. Sometimes in order to accomplish those goals you have to be willing to put in a little more time and sometimes that means getting up earlier.
Don’t make excuses.
It’s always easy to list the reasons for not doing something. I challenge you to get into the habit of challenging your excuses. What do I mean by that? For every excuse you give yourself, find an equally compelling reason to push forward. Chances are that you will come up with more reasons to do it than excuses not to.
Ask for help.
You don’t have to do it all alone. Whether it’s your spouse, partner, or other family member, let your loved ones know what your goals are and what you’re trying to accomplish. Most times they will be willing to help if it’s something productive.
Make a daily “to do” list.
For me focusing on daily goals is easier and much more realistic than making lists for next month or next week. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t complete everything on your list. You’re human and sometimes you’re not going to get to everything. And that’s fine. Tomorrow is another day and let what you didn’t finish the day before be the first thing you work on the next day.
Don’t make a “to do” list that has 20 things to do.
Be realistic. Two to three things is perfectly fine. In fact, experts say to keep your daily to do lists short and focus on the activities that will have the greatest impact. Doing one thing can have a greater impact than doing five. It’s important to work hard, but it’s also important to work smart. Focus on each day, one day at a time. Then you won’t feel so overwhelmed.