Some days, life is exhausting! Each morning you wake up, you’re expected to get the children ready, get them to school, make it to work on time, be a functional-competent human, get off work, maintain a clean home, maintain a figure, be a good friend and spouse.
Regardless of what anyone says. NO one has it together. We’re all just trying our best to make it day to day (in a day where there is not enough time).
It’s no wonder we feel like we are running on fumes, stuck in a rut, or burned out! I get it, and even on my best days, there are moments when I can’t help but feel a little bit overwhelmed! On those days, I have to get back to the basics and incorporate a few time-saving tips that can help me feel a bit more in control!
This post is going to share 9 ways that I am sure will help you streamline your day and reclaim some of your time for the things that matter!
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The truth about time
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and feel like you are in the twilight zones with the busyness of our everyday lives. So many of us live life as if we have an unlimited amount of minutes when in truth we don’t.
Fortunately, truly recognizing this can help us make better decisions about how we spend our time.
Time is a resource that we spend when we obligate, plan, or schedule something into our days. When we fill our days with less important tasks we are easily burnt out. When on the other hand we spend our days balanced between what needs to be done and what we want to do, even busyness in life feels fulfilling.
The key is figuring out the sweet spot. And that sweet spot for more time for the things that matter is found when authenticity, realistic routines, and sustainable schedules meet.
Time-saving tips that give you back your time
So how do we find this sweet spot? The following time-saving tips have helped me find so much more space for what truly matters in life! If you are putting them into practice I recommend you try out one tip at a time over the span of a week before implementing another.
1. Use to-do lists effectively.
We all create to-do lists. In fact one of the greatest questions I receive from moms is “how do I make my to-do list work.”
The problem is that many of us only consider one part of the to-do list. We only focus on the “what” of the to do list.
That is “what is going on the list.” We never stop to consider the how of our to-do list. We also have to consider how we will work on the tasks on our to-do list.
This can be done by habit-batching tasks, creating a schedule or time-blocking out our daily to-do list so that we are more intentional with how we are spending our time. It also allows us to quickly recognize spaces where we are overextending ourselves.
2. Set goals for the year.
Evaluating your goals and values each year gives you an intention to focus on. This can help simplify your decision-making process and make it easier to say no to things that do not further your goals.
It also allows you to reevaluate the commitments you have made and see if they are in line with what you want to achieve. This is an important step in time management! Try to set only 1 goal in just a couple of the following categories:
Knowing your purpose for the next 12 months prevents you from wasting your time on less important tasks.
3. Think progress, forget perfection.
As a recovering perfectionist, I know how hard it can be not to obsess over the minor details of tasks. But, as a mom, I can tell you it is 100% necessary to get more done! This time-saving tip is more of a mindset adjustment.
It’s accepting that done is good! It takes a lot of time to perfect anything we do, and with that comes practice. So think of every imperfect task you complete as more possibility of practicing!
Your best at any given moment is more than enough! Every little step that you take to get you closer to your goal is more than enough!
4. Reassess your progress throughout the day.
Taking time to re-evaluate your to-do list at regular intervals during the day can help improve your ability to make good time allowances.
For example, if you believe it will take you 20 minutes to cook dinner, but consistently it takes you closer to 40 minutes, you can make changes to your daily plans based on this knowledge.
Additionally, reassessing your list can help you cull tasks that you don’t necessarily do. Whether it is a task that has already been completed, or it is a task that can be completed by someone else!
Lastly, this time-saving hack helps to ensure you aren’t getting caught up in meaningless tasks. Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing anything meaningful.
5. Single Task.
We have to let go of the idea that multitasking is efficient! Studies repeatedly show that multitasking is less efficient. It causes us to make more mistakes. It decreases focus! And actually slows us down!
Just because you are capable of multitasking doesn’t mean that it is an optimal solution or that it helps you be mroe productive.
I recommend designating time to work on a single task and then move on! *
*Pro tip – When you can, close all other tabs on your computer, silence your phone, and focus solely on the task at hand.
6. Recognize distractions and time-wasters.
How do you amuse yourself when you are bored? What are your go to procrastinating techniques? Social media, television, web surfing, and texting are the more common activities.
Distractions can even be GOOD things that we are doing that fill our time from other important tasks. I for one; can get caught in a great creative pursuit and neglect cleaning. Its a bad habit because while expressing myself creatively is good, the stress of a messy home is not!
Time-saving tasks should promote balance in all areas instead of just focusing on the fun side of life. Noticing how you waste time and recognizing when it happens is one of the best ways to make time for the things that matter.
The sooner you’re able to catch yourself, the better the odds of success.
7. Set Healthy Boundaries (and stick to them)
Basically, learn to say no. This is challenging! Whether you are a people pleaser or just someone who LOVES to serve, the idea of setting boundaries can be a hard lesson to learn.
But I like to think of it like this! At the beginning of this article, we talked about the cost of obliging ourselves to things! And that cost overwhelmingly is our time and energy.
We only have a limited supply of both and when we use that up on things that we aren’t called to, we run out of it for the things that we want.
Refusing requests is a way of respecting your time and energy. Avoid biting off more than you can chew. Be helpful, but not at the expense of your own life.
8. Prioritize Rest.
Are you prioritizing you needs for rest. This time-saving tip goes hand in hand with the one previously mentioned. When we over obligate ourselves its usually because we have minimized our needs for time and energy restoration.
We were called for a rhythm of working and resting. We weren’t called to do it all! Rest has to be prioritized and planned.
And rest has many different sides and many different looks for each of us. Consider self-care as the modern way of describing it. Physically, Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually we have to rest!
9. Minimize what you manage.
Finding time for what matters is actually all about learning to let go. Letting go of the people, tasks, and things that take up time and energy without providing return.
Decluttering, simplifying, and organizing are all ways to minimize what you manage. When we are concious about minimizing what we are managing we are clearing space to manage only the important things!
This means taking a serious look at what is in your life and letting go of the things that prevent you from focusing on your life purpose.
Time management starts with clarity!
Purpose gives our lives meaning and a sense of accomplishment. When we know what it is that we’re working towards, even the mundane tasks of life can be more fulfilling. Defining your purpose may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Start by getting clear about your values and what you want for yourself in the future. Once you have a general idea of your purpose, make it a priority in your life. There are plenty of tools and resources available to help you stay on track (including the free Tame Your Time Checklist we provide). With a little effort, defining your purpose can change your life for the better – giving you more time and energy to do the things you love.