I often hear the complaint, "But I just don't have any more time in my day!" or "There is only 24 hours in the day, how can I possibly get everything done?"
Time can be one of our most valuable assets. One of the major goals I had for myself this year when I planned it out (see How to Plan for This Year's Goals), was to "find more time" in my day where I can be focusing on thinking and writing, rather than running all over. Three weeks in, and things are not perfect (always room for improvement!), but I have managed to create a system to allow for more time in my day to think, read, and write. Here's how I did it.
1) "Limit Screen Time": Phone, iPad, TV
There are lots of new movements out there with the rallying cry to limit screen time (see Arianna Huffington's "Thrive" movement). Part of my ongoing issue with screen time is that I operate 75% off of my phone for marketing on social media, as well as operations through apps. I have been noticing more tension headaches since the end of last year, so I decided to try to focus on it. My first attack was to just be more mindful of the time I was on the phone.....that did not work. I'm a visual person, so then I decided to practice what I preach, and utilize Applied Behavior Analysis strategies (see How to Use ABA to Improve Productivity), and made things visual. This was accomplished by setting alarms on my phone to remind me mid-day to shut off my phone from 12-2 (Lunch), and then at 8:30pm to shut it off for the night. I have to say, the annoying alarm worked! I went from being focused on the phone from 7am-10pm, to having a few more hours in my day where I could unplug and decompress, and allow for time to think and write.
This strategy has taken me more time to do (no pun intended), but I am seeing improvements in using this strategy to where I feel I am seeing more strategic tasks being accomplished. The concept of timeblocking has been around for awhile. Cal Newport can be credited with the idea in his book, Deep Work. My personal strategy for using timeblocking has been to block off portions of my day where I am limiting screen time, and focusing on one specific task. I have organized my calendar in this way, so that way I know I am busy at that time, and do not overbook myself. I have also started setting calendar alerts to remind me 15 minutes before that time starts to wrap up what I am doing, and start the new "deeper" work. This has been extremely helpful because then I am sticking to my commitment.
What other strategies do you use to find more time in your day? Leave a comment below!
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