Time. Time with those we love. Time for more experiences. Time to fulfill our purpose. It is one of life’s most precious commodities. And yet it is also incredibly fleeting.
As a woman, mother, traveler, & Christian, I feel the pressure of time passing every day. Yet I know that’s not how I should view it. I should think of how I can live every moment to the fullest!
But y’all, that’s hard to do when your to do list is out of control. I know you’re with me. We all have times when our schedules get out of control.
When your schedule goes off the rails & your to do list runs wild, here are five tips to help you get back on the right track!
Ask yourself the all important question: What is most important to me? Where do I currently spend the majority of my time? Is it on work? With family? Traveling? Is this how I want my life to continue?
Next, prioritize the percentage of your time that you want to spend on the different facets of your life, from work to play. Make the decision ahead of time so that you don’t end up totally lopsided. Then make a schedule—& stick to it! If it doesn’t get scheduled, it won’t get done!
Set Qualified Goals
When it comes to your to do list & your bucket list, set achievable, measurable goals. Don’t just say, Lose weight. Instead, say, Lose 15 pounds by February 1 by increasing exercise to four times a week & eating salad three times a week.
Be specific & be realistic with your goals. Set yourself up to succeed!
First Things First
When time comes to mind, we often think of the illustration of sand running through the hourglass. But ladies, we should be thinking of an entirely different analogy—one that will help us manage our time, not just confirm the inevitability of its passing. Consider:
The Professor and The Jar
A professor held up a jar full of rocks before his classroom. “Is this jar full?” he asked. The students answered unanimously, “yes.”
Then he took a bag of small pebbles & poured it into the jar. “Is it full now?” he asked. The students all agreed it was.
Next he took a bag of sand & filled in the empty spaces in the jar. “Now is it full?” he asked. The students affirmed that it was even more full than before.
Last, he took a pitcher of water & poured it into the jar until it was spilling over the top. “What about now? Is it full now?” The students all agreed it was full to the brim.
He then asked, “Do you think if I had started with the water there would have been room for the rocks?”
The Moral of the Story
When it comes to managing our time, if we start our day with the fillers and the easy to do list items, we’re probably never going to get to the big items—aka the rocks. In other words, the more foundational tasks should be tackled first, because they take the most brain power. Then, as the day goes on, we can get to the smaller & smaller tasks that require less & less energy.
Create Healthy Habits
In her bestselling book Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin shares numerous ways to develop new habits. I highly recommend checking it out. Some examples are pairing a new habit with something you enjoy doing, like only watching your favorite TV show when you go to the gym. Another example is to reframe your thinking around a choice or activity. Instead of thinking of “giving up” french fries, think of yourself as “free from” french fries. Many popular science books, not just this one, have given loads of proof that habit-forming is key to happy living because it eliminates stressful decision making during the day. If you’ve already formed a routine, you don’t waste brain power deciding to complete those actions every day. As Nike would say, you “just do it.”
Eliminate the Unnecessary
If your schedule is a nightmare, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. What can you ditch for good? Is it TV? Is it Two Dots or another game on your phone? Figure out what you absolutely don’t have time for AND is not adding value to your life & just stop doing it. Today. It may be hard, but it will be worth it!
Time may be precious, but take 15 minutes to plan ahead today. You’ll be glad you did. Let me know how these tips worked for you in the comments!
And if you want to learn how to create some more time in your day, check out The Practically Perfect Planner!