Are you really time poor… or is your time management poor?
Time should be thought of as a resource, because that’s exactly what it is. Similar to money, time is valuable and rare- but the key distinction between these two is that once time is gone- it can’t be earned back. “Time poor” is a term used to describe someone severely lacking in time. I know- you’re busy and everything you do is important. Between keeping your kids alive, work, cleaning the house, balancing finances, walking the dogs, etc., your time is spread thin. How do you fit anything else in when you’re already *like literally the definition* of time poor?!
Well, 1. I want you to stop thinking this. Right now. You have 168 hours each week. The time is there. 2. Your time management just sucks.
My favorite excuse I hear is: “I just don’t have time to work out- I’m too busy”. Being “too busy” is an excuse. Saying this is just a nicer way of just saying “it’s not a priority to me”. This applies to things well beyond just fitting in workouts each week. This applies to everything you’ve been wanting to do and knowing you should do- that nagging to do list, meditation, meal prepping… everything.
If you’re one of my favorite people, you know, the ones who say they don’t have time to work out, I have some news for you: how we think we spend our time and how we truly do are vastly different. And this is because of “time suckers”. Here are some examples of what I mean: traffic, social media, Netflix, jumping from task-to-task, I’m sure you can think of a lot more of your own (these are my big ones). Bottom line is: we have the time, we are just using it wrong.
Using your time effectively entails being productive and not just busy. Everyone has different priorities and schedules, so I can’t tell you how to organize your time day-to-day. I can, however, give you some tools to organize your time more effectively.
Say no to things that do not serve you. Don’t waste your own time with something that will not benefit you, your goals, or the people around you. Yeah, that even means learning how to tell people to go fu—I mean, that you can’t make plans because you are learning to prioritize your time more effectively… Not to imply that you need to be #teamnodaysoff or follow the #thegrindneverstops mentality… but if something will not improve your goals, learning, or physical and/or mental state, then I would suggest you re-evaluate why you’re investing your valuable time in it.
2. Time Block
Make a schedule on your calendar, utilize a planner, and block out your time. Pick a day each week- mine’s Sunday- and plan for the week ahead.
First, determine your absolute “must”s and block those out first. This would include work, kids, sleep, school, etc.
Second, block out your “should do”s that are of the utmost importance. These might include studying, working out, meal prepping, yoga, learning a new language21, etc. The things you’re not required to do, but that your future self will thank you for.
Lastly, plan time for recovery and enjoying life. Dedicate however much time you need for this each week. This will keep you from getting distracted and burnt out if you know you have some time coming up to relax.
While planning out your week, look for ways to save time; an example of this being waking up earlier to make it to the gym while avoiding traffic. And while you have time blocked out for certain tasks, be sure to focus on just that. Don’t jump from task to task. Chill out, squirrel.
3. Reduce Screen Time
Track your screen time and then set goals to minimize it each week. This is easy to do on Apple’s new update. (If you’re an Android user, you’re not using your phone anyway, so you’re golden.) Screen time can be a huge distraction. Turn your phone on silent or even off completely while doing important tasks that require your focus. Getting distracted by texts, calls, emails, social media, and miscellaneous notifications can take away from productivity, therefore extending your tasks well beyond the time it should have taken you. Check some things off that nagging to-do list instead of letting your phone suck you into a rabbit hole again.
4. Keep a time log
Track how you’re spending your time throughout the day. See where you’re being the most productive, when you’re getting distracted, where you’re wasting time, etc. in order to learn and do better. You don’t have to do this for forever, just long enough develop your plan going forward. You’ll quickly find that you do have time to work out (OMG YAY).
BE PRODUCTIVE. NOT BUSY. Time management stems from self-discipline. Don’t break a promise to yourself and don’t let distractions take over your day. Be present in the moment! Find the time to prioritize your goals over distractions and your future self will thank you for this.
Does your time management not suck? How do you fit in work outs each week? Let me know in the comments below how you do so!