Today is a reflection piece as I dissect my day to see where I have time wasting habits. My personal goal in life is prioritize the actions and activities that bring me joy. That really means cutting out habits that don’t serve me anymore.
For this exercise, I started out by making a list of things that energize me. These are the things I love doing, that stoke the passion fire. My list looks like this:
My passion lists are usually pretty long. There are so many things that fill my cup and make me happy. I decided I would take the items that are the most related to my current personal goals and make these a priority. I already make time to do most of these things regularly as it is, however, I know that there is room in my schedule to do MORE of what I love!
The next part of the exercise involves getting ruthless with your schedule. If you don’t have a daily schedule that is going to be your first assignment. Having a schedule actually frees up so much more time in your day. I never used to like the idea of scheduling, being more of a flowy kinda gal. I commited to a month of planning my days and I discovered that I had way more time to do what I love and way more opportunities to be spontaneous, because all of my responsibilities were handled!
If you are new to scheduling or like my a flowy kinda person, I recommend block scheduling, which is a loose schedule that chunks up your time, instead of running on a specific time schedule.
If a schedule really isn’t your thing, simply list the things you need to do in the day and review them in the morning. That way you have a mental map of what needs to be done. Now take a look at your passion list and put at least ONE item from that list on your To Do’s. These items should be a priority and they belong on your list!
Now let’s take a look at our day. Be honest with yourself. What does your morning look like? Do you have a routine? Are you picking up your phone right away? Checking Emails and socials? I used to do this. I would grab my phone first thing and check for new client emails and then get lost in socials or distracted and then be running around getting myself ready for the day. Do you have any evening habits that don’t really serve you? Are you plopping down in front of Netflix and binging a show? Are you running around trying to getting meals going and pick up kids from activities? Is what your doing working for you? Do you wander around at lunch looking for a place to eat? Are you zoning out in work meetings?
I took a hard look at my day and here is what I came up with:
I am wasting time scrolling social media and checking emails to frequently through the day. This is my biggest time waster. As a small business owner, that relies on my phone to communicate with my clients, it is really easy to justify picking up my phone at all times of the day.
Picking up my phone is the cue for scrolling. As soon as I pick the phone up and finish checking what I needed to look at, or responding to a text or email, I end up checking everything. I check socials, stats on the blog/website, reading all my emails, sorting pictures and so on. Even if it’s five minutes here, ten minutes there these things add up. Check your screen time numbers on your phone. You might be surprised at how much time your screen is getting!
I also am cued to pick up my phone when I sit on my couch after work. I miss opportunities to connect with my family. I also am ignoring the giant stack of books that I want to be reading.
Here is how I am swapping out this habit:
Okay, mealtimes are a huge drain on my time. I am always trying to figure out what the heck my family is going to eat. This is literally every single meal, everyday, staring in the fridge or cabinet looking for inspiration. I’m driving to the store last minute because I don’t have all of the ingredients I need or I am picking up take out.
I have started planning meals and prepping food twice a week. Like I mentioned earlier I tend to not want to be locked into a set plan of specific meals at specifc times or days. What I do instead is make a list of 7 dinners. I am a mono eater and I am all about eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch for multiple days. It makes shopping on a budjet more effective, let’s me choose foods that are in season and makes grabbing food at meal time a no brainer. I have so much more time to work on creative tasks, write and work on my business goals, just by streamlining meals. It free’s up a ton of time in the evening too! I can pop something in the oven while I go paddle or set my family up with a plan to cook the meal. I also save time when I am shopping because I know exactly what I need for the week. With everything prepped twice a week, I am not spending time at meal time getting everything ready. It’s a game changer!
Gone are the days where multitasking is a touted skill. Research shows that multitaskers actually get less done in a day! With a Toddler by my side all day long, working both from home and on the road, and trying to maintain a home and of course a life, I have a lot going on at a time, all the time. When I looked at my day, I found that it was taking way to long to complete tasks to finish. I would get started get interrupted and then often would get started on something else.
I have started to work on the discipline of completing every project I start. This is small minor daily projects and more long-term projects such as my crafting projects.
How I do this is a take a few minutes in the morning to review my tasks for the day and I have systems and schedules in place. I work my way through each list that I have one task at a time. I don’t start the next task until I have completed the first. For projects that take several days, I commit to a specific amount of time. For example, I will work on my sewing project for one hour total each day. Somedays that’s an uninterrupted hour. Somedays that’s 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at naptime. Do what works for your life.
I have a few systems in place to help with my goals. For example I have a weekly cleaning schedule. It’s very simple, I have certain tasks for certain days. Bathroom on Monday. Kitchen on Tuesday and so on. I have regular cleaning task that I do everyday, such as laundry and the floors. This takes all guess work out. Keeps me from getting overwhelmed and my house stays looking pretty good through the week ( a huge priority for me personally).
I have a morning routine. This gets my moring going and I have specific things I complete in the morning to set me up for success. I review my schedule, enjoy my coffee, give attention to the toddler (this makes other tasks easier, because he already has had my undivided attention) and get clean and dressed for the day and we eat.
I use habit stacking. If you have been around me or the blog, you know that I am obsessed with habit stacking. It’s the process of tacking a habit you want to a habit you already have. You use cues to make it work. For example: Every day when my son falls asleep for a nap, I do a 45 minute workout. This works because instead of collapsing on the couch exhausted (what I would LIKE to do) I workout, immediately. This is so energizing. It burns off stress, it makes me feel good. I love how it feels to use my body. This has been the biggest win for me yet.
I hire out. Yup, sometimes you just have to buy a little time in your day. As a fulltime mom, business owner and creative. I hire out to take care of my son for an hour or two here and there so I can focus on my paddling journey (I am currently training for the Crossing for CF and 80 mile race from the Bahamas to Florida). I love this time and for me it is the most appreciated expense I have. You really can buy more time in your day.
I started Aloha Tammie Professional Services, to be give people an option of hiring out small tasks that are time wasters (like town runs) and stay focused on the things that fill them up and give them energy.
As cliche as it may seem, time is our biggest asset in life. Once it is gone, it’s gone. The quality of our life is determined by how we spend our time. This is my biggest goal in life, is to have spent my time well!
I hope these tips help you out, let me know what you think in the comments!
See you out there!