The number one excuse I hear from clients, friends, and family is "I just don't have the time.... to eat healthy, cook food, practice self-care, work out, etc."
I used to be guilty of using this excuse for pretty much everything. Exercise. Meditation. Healthy Eating. Hanging out with friends. There was just never enough time in the day to do all of the things I wanted to do.
Until a few months ago, when I listened to this podcast series & realized that I needed to start taking ownership of my time.
The Mindset Shift I Had To Make
I had to come to terms with the idea that I was in charge of my time and my relationship to it. I had the ability to spend my time exactly how I chose to. I had to let go of the idea that time was a limitation or that it had power over me.
You see, we all act like we are slaves to our to-dos, but most of the time we are overcommitting, people pleasing, and quite simply, not properly managing our time.
The Secret To Taking Back Control
The secret to taking back control of our time is to start honoring our "Yes's" and "No's".
We need to acknowledge that when we say "No" to something that means we are saying "Yes" to something else. When you say "No" to that event you were invited to, you may be saying "Yes" to spending more time with your children. Or when you say "No" to that chocolate cupcake, you are saying "Yes" to feeling healthy and energized.
There is always a give and take, or a yes and a no. The key is to be aware and deliberate about what you are saying "Yes" and "No" to.
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Once you are able to master your mindset around time, there are even more ways to be intentional and maximize how you spend it.
10 Tips to Be More Intentional With Your Time
1. Define your priorities
What are your values? What are your priorities? Make a list in chronicle order of your values and priorities so that when it comes to making decisions on how you are going to spend your time you can make sure you are in alignment with your values and priorities.
For me, my health, family, and business are my top priorities right now. This means I always make sure to carve out time for these priorities each day and therefore, sometimes I have miss out on time with friends, tv shows, or other events.
2. Review your calendar
Look at your calendar for the next month. Ask yourself, "Is there anything I can say "No" to or let go of?" Try to eliminate anything that no longer excites you or serves you in aligning with your values and priorities.
Perhaps you have things you wanted to accomplish this month that you no longer want to do or that could wait until another time? Ask yourself, "Is there anything you have scheduled that could simply be crossed off or moved to a later date to make space in your calendar?" Also, look at your calendar for free time available where you can schedule in some family time, exercise, or something you've been meaning to do, but haven't made the time for.
The key to using your calendar is to be intentional with what you schedule, align it with your values, and then commit to what you choose to put on it.
3. Question your current commitments
Do you have previous commitments that no longer align with your values and priorities? Maybe you said "Yes" to a party of an acquaintance, but you'd rather do something meaningful with your family? Or perhaps you volunteered to make homemade cookies for your kids class, but you'd rather just buy them at a bakery instead?
Don't be afraid to let people down. Of course, be thoughtful and kind, but be confident in your decision to do what is right for you. When we are aligned with our true values and priorities, we are able to show up in a much better way for everyone.
4. Identify your non-negotiables
Creating non-negotioables has been a game changer for me. You may be wondering, "What are non-negotiables?". Basically, these are things you commit to do each day no matter what, such as brushing your teeth. You can create non-negotiables for any and every area of your life. I like to choose ones that align with my values and that are extremely important to my well-being.
A few of my non-negotiables are moving my body every day in some way, starting my day off with water & lemon, and eating vegetables at every meal. They are simple commitments I've made with myself that I try to honor each and every day. This allows me to not have to think too much or question them, because I have made the decision ahead of time (a.k.a. no excuses!).
What non-negioables can you create to make your life a little easier?
5. Schedule in Self-Care
This is soooo important (and should be a non-negotiable)! Especially for you busy mamas out there. We need to take care of ourselves first in order to take care of everyone and everything else. Take time right now to schedule in some self-care each day and week. Even if it's just 5 minutes of reading each night or taking a 10 minute walk at lunch time. It doesn't matter how small or big your self-care time is, but it is the commitment to nourishing you mind, body, and soul that is so important.
6. Make time to connect - with friends, co-workers, family
Social media is great, but in person connection is the real deal. Studies have shown that spending just a little bit of time connecting with loved ones can add years to your life. It is so important in this digital age to make real life connections a priority in your life. So put down the phone (or computer) and actually go visit your mom, friend, or grandma!
7. Time block to work more efficiently
I love time blocking. I can't remember where I first heard about it, but once I discovered time blocking I started to work a lot more efficiently. Basically, I set blocks of time to focus on specific things each day. I have a work block for 3 hours, an exercise block for a half hour, a family time block, and a few other times that I block out for appointments or other things that need to be done. Time blocking keeps me focused each day and allows me to prioritize in a way that aligns with my values. For an awesome & detailed post on how to time block check out this post.
8. Stop multitasking, focus on ONE thing
Are you the type of person that pride herself on her multi-tasking capabilities? It’s okay, I used to, too. But the truth is multi-tasking is not a great way to get things done. Studies show that there are only about 2% of people that are actually proficient at multitasking. Each time we switch from one task to another we are actually losing time. It takes our brain time to catch up and readjust to the task at hand which is why it is so much more efficient to focus on one task at a time.
The only caveat to this is that if you are performing a mindless task such as doing the dishes or folding laundry, then you may actually want to multitask by watching your favorite tv show or listening to an informative podcast.
9. Leave a buffer
In one of my favorite books, Essentialism, the author discusses leaving a buffer in your schedule. Basically, this means to leave extra time in your schedule for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Stop overcommitting and scheduling every minute of every day with tasks. If you think a task will take 20 minutes, give yourself an extra 10 minutes just in case. Leave free time in your day to just think or not think at all. If you truly want to be efficient and effective in your life, then you must create the space and pace yourself.
10. Batch, batch, batch
Batching tasks is the key to being efficient. If you’re cooking dinner, why not double the batch so you have two dinners? It doesn't take any additional time, but will ultimately save you so much time! Think of any tasks that you perform daily or weekly that could be batched together to save you time. Some of my favorites are spending a few hours on Sunday batch cooking food for the week, taking a few hours one day a week to do housework, and doing all my grocery shopping and errands in one day. I also love to use batching in my business. I will spend a few hours writing blog posts and then another few hours I will take photos for my instagram. There are so many tasks that we can batch and it really does saves so much time!
Now, tell me - What tip are you most excited to start implementing in your life today?
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