Did you know the average person checks their phone about 150 times every day? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we spend on average 5 hours a day on leisure activities including social media.
We waste time on our phones, on social media, and on the internet. I had a bad habit of repeatedly picking up my phone to mindlessly scroll through Facebook – I deleted the app, but then ended up doing the exact same thing with Instagram!
It’s not just social media that takes up time unnecessarily – time management is a problem pretty much everyone struggles with.
Which of these sound familiar?
- You spend your days doing random tasks because you haven’t set your big 3 goals for the day.
- Procrastination causes you to be rushed to finish projects (lifelong procrastinator here!)
- Saying “Yes” when you are already overwhelmed and allowing others to take up your time.
- Distractions around you, affecting your focused concentration time (this is especially difficult if you work from home).
- Picking up your phone to check a notification, and next thing you know, you’ve been mindlessly scrolling Facebook for 30 minutes.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Yet why is it that some people get so much more done than others?
In this post I’m going to help you learn how to get control over your time. You’ll discover how to determine how much time you really have, where you’re wasting time, and how you can optimise your time to get more done!
How much time do you have available?
You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.
Let me ask you, how much time do you spend doing work that brings you an income, and how much is spent on tasks that make you no money – such as tweaking your website or scrolling on Facebook or Pinterest?
Don’t know the answer? It’s time to start tracking your time to see what you’re doing.
Of course, you only have 24 hours a day, with a certain number for sleeping, eating, work, and leisure. The trick is to determine how much time you are spending on everything and then finding ways to streamline or change the way you work.
One way to determine how much time you have is to use a free tracking tool. I prefer Clockify, but Toggl is also quite popular. You use it to track the various tasks you work on during the day. You can assign tasks to different “projects” so you can easily see where your time is going.
Include the amount of time you spend doing something. For example, let’s say you are working away on a project then get distracted by Facebook. Write down the time you switched to Facebook and the time you returned to your project. You might be surprised that instead of just a few minutes to answer a post, you actually spent 30 minutes or more on Facebook.
If you prefer putting pen to paper, then another option is to write down everything you do in a day for a week in a notebook.
Determining where you are spending your time and how much of that time is wasted is the first step in taking control of managing your time.
Optimising Your Time
Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
Now that you know where you are spending your time, the next step is to optimise your time so you can be more productive.
It’s not difficult. Making a few simple changes to how you are doing things now can add that time you thought was lost.
How to Optimise Your Time
Everything you need to do to meet your goals, whether for your business, your health or some other aspect of your life, needs to have an action plan. You should know the date you want to have it completed.
Use a calendar or project management software like ClickUp to divide the project up into chunks. If you have a project that will take a long time to complete, do some work on it each week. You can assign tasks to others on the project and keep track of their progress through project management software.
Make sure each project has a detailed list of steps to take in order to reach the deadline. Break down big projects into mini or micro tasks to keep from being overwhelmed.
Outsourcing work that is a drain on your time is another way to optimise your time. You’re freeing yourself up for other tasks, but your work is getting done. This works in your personal life as well. Hire someone to mow the lawn, run errands, or clean your house.
You can outsource the graphics creation and the formatting of your coaching products, freeing up your time for content creation, marketing, and networking.
Clear distractions by closing any web browser tabs not necessary to the task you are doing. Close your inbox and log out of social media accounts. Silence notifications on your phone as well. Use an app like StayFocusd. This extension for Google Chrome restricts the amount of time you spend on time-wasting websites. The sites are blocked for a day after a certain amount of time has been used up.
Forget multitasking. Many people think they are good at multitasking but really, it diverts your focus into different directions. You get distracted and forget what you were doing on one project. It takes longer to get back into the flow of each project.
Instead set up specific times to do each task, say check email at a specific time, social media updates another time, working on a project at another hour.
Improving Your Schedule
You can improve your schedule and increase your productivity in many ways.
Optimise your space.
Set up your space so work flows efficiently. Keep your desk at work organised and set up so you can easily access areas you use the most, set up your workout area in a way that works easily for your routine.
Organise your cabinets and refrigerator to find healthy foods for recipes and snacks quickly. Remove clutter and unnecessary items. Having a clear, uncluttered area, in which to work and live, enables you to find what you need, when you need it. You’ll also spend less time moving things around that are in the way.
Optimise your to-do list.
Take time to write out your to-do list for each day. A good plan is to do this the night before, when you quit working for the day. That way you know what you need to get done at a glance. Get strategic on how you use and create your lists. Keep your to-do list simple. List the most important 3 to 5 things to do that day.
Having a list of 15 or more tasks can be overwhelming, making procrastination more tempting. Break bigger projects into small, actionable steps that you can track and incorporate into your day.
Use systems to organise your tasks and time.
Time blocking, the Pomodoro Technique, and batching are different types of productivity systems to keep you focused on one task at a time.
The Pomodoro technique works by helping you ignore distractions. You get focused on your tasks by working in short bursts, with short breaks in between. Use a timer set for 25 minutes. Focus exclusively on that task. Don’t switch between tasks, take a break, check social media, or look at your inbox.
Once the time goes off, take a break, ideally a quick 5 minutes. Set the timer for another 25 minutes and continue working. Continue with this system for as long as you need in order to finish your tasks for the day. Focus Keeper is a free app that you can find on the iStore, that I love using. (I actually ended up getting the premium version, which is super cheap, so I can adjust the time.)
Implementing simple changes, using apps and organising yourself can all have a big effect on how much time you have to use. The more you can optimise your time, the more productive you will be.
Getting Started with Time Management
Determining where you spend your time and how you might be wasting it is a very important step in gaining control over how you spend your time. Using apps such as Clockify will help you see where that time is going.
Another way to manage your time better is to have help on tasks you don’t enjoy or can’t do well. Outsourcing work frees up your time so you can put it to use on tasks you are better at. Hire a virtual assistant to handle customer service issues. Hire a landscaper to take care of your lawn. Delegate housekeeping duties, graphic design needs, marketing, or anything else that be adequately done by someone else.
Use technology to help you be more efficient as well. Use apps for project management, to store lists and ideas, to manage time and keep you from wasting time.
Turn off notifications on your phone and computer when you’re working on specific tasks.
Knowing what you need to accomplish each day keeps you focused.