Time, why you punish me?

So, tell me. How has your January been? Have you made strides to keep your New Year’s resolutions? C’mon, we’re in the trust tree so you can be honest. Ok, I’ll be honest. I haven’t been the best with mine but it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying. While I’m extra organized with my things, I’m not so much with my time. I’m not sure if it’s because my things are tangible and my time is not but my New Year’s resolution was to be better with my time management.

Now it seems like everyone else’s resolution was to be organized because my schedule has been JAM packed since the start of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled about everyone’s eagerness to be organized buttt it means that my schedule is jam packed. To fit in all the aspects of running a business (plus actually doing my job), trying to workout and eat healthy, and somehow maintain my relationships and have a social life seems impossible sometimes with only 24 hours in a day (less if you count the minimum of 7 hours of sleep my body needs to function). The crazy part is I don’t even have kids so bless those of you out there that do all of this on top of keeping little humans alive!

How does one manage to squeeze it all in and, at the same time, keep their sanity? Today, we’re going to look at a few ways to help maximize your time and keep you focused on what needs to get done and in what order. Step number one…

Write. It. Down.

Yes, I’m very anti paper clutter, just ask anyone who knows me. However, there is something sacred about writing down your schedule and to do list. Below are the two notepads and one planner I use on a daily basis, each for a different reason which I’ll break down in a moment. (The important thing here if you want to reduce clutter and using rip off notepads or post its, etc. is to discard of the pages when you’re done - shred if there is personal info on any of them - but do not hold on to them once you’ve finished your tasks).

The planner is used to see the “big” picture, whether monthly or weekly. The big stuff is jotted down here such as jobs/consultations, parties/events, appointments, etc. Stuff where I know I will not be available to do anything else for a certain length of time. This is also where I put everyone’s birthdays and when my bills are due. I make sure this calendar is in sync with the one on my phone for when I don’t have my planner on me but need to schedule something in. Does it take a few moments to write it down then type it in? Sure, but it’s saved me from double booking myself by accident plentyyy of times! So, well worth the few moments.

I don’t quite use the blue pad for what it’s intended but that’s ok. I’m a rebel. I use it to jot down the details of certain things from my planner (i.e. any specifics I need to remember while I’m on the phone with an upcoming client), make packing lists if I’m going away for the weekend, or just random things I need to do/remember. It can look a little chaotic by the end of the week but I only use one page per week so it’s not too overwhelming.

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Now the orange pad is a new one courtesy of my brother as part of a Christmas present (he knows me so well). But it came at a good time because as of the 15th, I started an 80 day workout program that includes timed nutrition. While I am certainly struggling to stay on top of that aspect due to my schedule being different every day, it helps me to visualize and plan out my meals/workouts. At the beginning of the week, I write down the time of each meal (and what it contains) and workout for each day so it helps me stay focused and on track. If you’re doing any sort of program like this, you know that a huge part of your success is due to planning. Taking the time at the start of your week to plan will save you SO much more time and frustration in the long run. Not to mention, yield better results.

{Side note : You can find these pads by Knock Knock at The Container Store!}

Time sucks

No, I’m not saying that time sucks. I’m talking about the things that suck time away from you. I’m looking directly at you right now, social media. It’s one thing to be scrolling on your phone reading something like this which is potentially bettering your life and another to be scrolling reading your ex’s sister’s cousin who you went to HS with’s latest dramatic attention seeking post on Facebook. Ok, gossip can be a little fun sometimes but honestly WTF do you care about that person? How does that person affect your life and YOUR goals? I rarely use social media anymore other than for business purposes and honestly, I’m much happier and feel more productive this way. If you’re looking for the easiest and most immediate way to save time, put the damn phone down and work on the things you need to do for yourself and your family.

{Side note : Because I do post regularly for my business, I use social media managers such as Tailwind to help plan ahead and save time!}

The same goes for TV. Ok, so I can admit that since the beginning of the new year, I’ve binge watched the entire series of both The Office and Curb your Enthusiasm but I laid some ground rules. One - the TV does not go on until the evening. The mornings are for podcasts or music while I’m getting ready. Once I’m home for the night, the firestick gets fired up but - here’s the catch - i do not sit down. My brain doesn’t work so well at night but my body does (it helps to know this about yourself by the way) so that’s when I do most of my workouts, laundry, cleaning, etc. Michael Scott and Larry David are my background noise while I get shit done. If there’s a show or two that’s currently running and you love, by all means sit and enjoy it. You work hard and deserve to enjoy the things you love. But to do that while binge watching series is a huge - what? - time suck.

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One genius little trick I’ve adopted if I find myself in a time suck is from the amazing Mel Robbins. If you’re looking for a book to read (note, not a time suck if it betters you), I’m practically begging you to read hers called The 5 Second Rule. It’s about changing your habits in any capacity but it works really well in the social media scrolling scenario, for example. Let’s say you realize you’re wasting time scrolling through Insta, simply count 5 4 3 2 1 and put the phone down. It keeps you from procrastinating any longer than you should be. Don’t believe me? Check out this article that talks about science backing this up. Science, guys, science.

Trading money for time

I recently heard that millenials (a category in which technically I belong even though I feel wayyy too old for) are spending more on services that save them time such as Peapod. Food shopping does not only take up time, it’s a huge pain in the ass. It seems that no matter when i go, it could be the middle of a Monday, the stores are packed and it’s stressful AF. Ordering your food online will cost you a bit more but think about all the time you’d save! You also don’t run the risk of standing in front of the milk and wondering how much you have at home at this very second. You can just get up and go check your fridge before you add it to your cart.

The same works and goes for other essentials such as using Amazon prime pantry or v important stuff like wine. I was introduced to Winc by a friend and it’s pretty freakin cool. You can get 4 bottles of wine you pick delivered to your door monthly, saving you trips to the liquor store. If you know you need extra bottles on hand such as for the holidays or if you’re hosting a party soon, having them come to you rather than you go to them is a huge help. Any subscription service that delivers things you personally need and use regularly is worth looking into.

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{Side note : If I find that I do have to go into a store such as HomeGoods where I can’t buy online and also tend to browse too long, I set a 20-30 minute timer on my phone. It sounds weird but it really helps me stay focused on what I went in there for so try it people!}

Ok, so us “youngins” are apparently paying more for online services but what about personal services such as a cleaning one? This is a bit tougher pill for me to swallow but I’m warming up to it. Part of me fights it because I know that’s a job I can do on my own but when I’m scrubbing the toilet at 11PM because it’s the only time I had to squeeze it in, I realize it might not be such a bad idea. If you have kids and it’s in the budget, it’s especially important because A kids are messy as hell and B you could spend more time with them than their messes. This concept applies to anything you need done around the house (landscaping, ahem organizing, etc.) and in your business (an assistant). If something helps save you time to focus on more important tasks to you and you can afford it (sometimes you can’t NOT afford it), then seriously consider making the switch to hiring help. There is no shame in taking care of your priorities and outsourcing the not-as-important-but-still-needs-to-get-done stuff.

As always, I sincerely hope some of these tips have helped you and have answered some questions you may have had about time management! I know that they certainly have helped me start the new year off on a better foot in an area I was lacking in a bit. Whatever you do, try to move away from this particular scenario that I, embarrassingly, have found myself in more times than I’d like to!