Finding time for MORE of what matters!10th July 2017
I can’t count how many times I have heard others (or myself!) grumble that there just isn’t enough time. But let’s be honest we all get the same amount, though we may have differing demands on that amount. The one thing we can’t actually change is the number of hours, minutes, seconds in a day. What we can change is our attitude to those and how we use them. So keep reading and see if these tips can help you to find time for more of what matters.
Value your time
Often the problem is that we don’t see time as a valuable asset. But it is. So the first step to using time more wisely is seeing how important it really is and then treating like a precious commodity.
Somethings we have little choice about. If you are in paid work then you will simply have to be there for a certain number of hours each day. Even if you run your own business there will always be certain things that must be done. But even accepting that there are still a lot of hours and even more minutes that we choose to spend in particular ways.
Never forget about minutes. Have you ever NOT started something because you think you only have 5 minutes but it turns out to be 20 minutes and you could have got the job done? When you start valuing your time you will find that you use even the 5 minutes while waiting for someone because even 5 minutes is valuable.
Acknowledge that you choose how you spend large amounts of time each day. Even if you work 9 hours a day (there will often be breaks within that) that still leaves 15 hours where you decide what you do. I know you need to sleep and eat but the fact is we choose when and how we do those things. Think about the last few days and how you have spent your time. Did you choose to spend an hour flicking through social media or did it ‘just happen’. Did you choose to watch a film on television for 2 hours or did it just happen? There is nothing wrong with either of those things but if there are things that you say are important that you aren’t fitting in then it is time to think about your priorities.
Prioritise and plan
Often we will say what our priorities are yet end up doing completely different things. Is you health important to you? So it surely follows that fitting in time to exercise or eat well must be a priority. Are your personal relationships important? Well quality time with those folks must be a priority.
I often find entrepreneurs prioritise tasks not time. Clearly it is important to get things done but by looking at time differently you can often actually fit more things in.
So at the beginning of a week plan in the big stuff, work, time with family and make sure when you do that you also plan in some time to take care of yourself. Then plan in time for your own learning, reading or spending time with a mentor or coach. Make sure of course that you also have time to relax. It usually helps to be very specific about tasks when it comes to planning smaller chunks of time – but of course everyone is different so it may take a few week sfo ryou to work out what works best for you.
Beware of multi-tasking
I think this is rapidly becoming a modern day curse. Sometimes 10 minutes of focussed attention can be more fruitful than an hour of diluted, distracted ‘work’. Not just for work either – if you are spending time with a partner or friend then spend time with them – put the phone away. I know we lead busy lives but often we create the busyness by not simply attending to one thing at a time and actually finishing it.
It is important to remember that you are human. When I have worked coaching people and they show me what they want to achieve sometimes I am left wondering whether it is a mere mortal I am dealing with or a time bending super hero! It is important to aim high and be aspirational but there must be a degree of realism as well. The answer will vary with each individual sometimes it needs certain tasks to be delegated, or combined. Sometimes identifying one overarching priority helps but the important thing to realise is that if you give yourself something that is unachievable it will simply lead to dissatisfaction and probably you beating yourself up – which usually leads to a lot of time wasting as we can all enjoy a bit of a wallow in those situations.
Build in Rest
In every day there needs to be some time for rest. Not just sleep but we have probably all had a situation where we have grappled with something for ages – left it then found the answer was staring us in the face. Rest is time away for certain things. Some people medicate or use mindfulness others may exercise but when we plan our time to include those times of rest often we can find that we use time our more wisely.
Time will not change but thankfully as individuals we can change. That means we can use time wisely and be as productive as we choose to be living lives that mean we can fit in all the things that really matter to us. If we want to!