The older I get, the more I realize that the most valuable thing I have and ever will have is time. In fact, if given the choice of having more money or more time, I would always chose time;hands down – every time.
As a busy Mom, this precious commodity has become even more valuable to me as it decreases at the same time that my family increases. As a Nutritionist and health coach to other busy Moms, it’s also one of the things that I hear my clients lack the most of in their day-to-day lives.
So today, I’m going to share with you my 7 top tips of how to maximize the time that you do have, so that you can take back control of your day and have more space and energy for the things that matter most, like YOU!
Top 5 Tips of Take Control of Your Time So You Get More Of It
1. Schedule Your Day (For Less)
One of the biggest reasons why we always feel strapped for time is because we’re trying to do too much in too little time. You know those days, where you work, have to pay the hydro bill, the kid’s dentist appointments to book, after school ballet and soccer for the kids. Yet, you still think you’re going to be able to fold those two loads of laundry, cook dinner, and go online and order that anniversary present for your in-laws.
By jam packing our days, we’re already setting ourselves up for failure because we’re already behind the 8-ball before we take our first shot. The solution? Look at your to-do list and space them out over the course of the week. If you know you have a lot of family obligations one day then don’t plan to do the laundry that day. If you have a day that’s not as packed, make sure you cook some extra food for those busy nights and schedule 30 minutes to call doctors, make appointments, and do your banking.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and we need to apply that same degree of planning and patience in our own lives so that we still get everything done, without trying to do it all in one day and feeling like a failure because we couldn’t.
Schedule these things in your phone or on a family calendar and make sure that you commit to sticking to these blocks of time so that you can check them off your list and move on to the next.
2. Get Organized
If there was one thing I would attribute to the amount of things that I can get done in a day, it’s being organized. I block out my schedule into 30 minute intervals throughout the entire day. Everything I can possibly schedule goes into my calendar, right down to ‘Dedicated Maddie (my daughter) Time’. The reason is because this helps me know exactly what I should be focused on and when. Because believe me, for an entrepreneur, if you don’t run your day – your day will without a doubt – run you.
Another thing that I do to keep me organized is that I have lists for EVERYTHING. I use Google assistant to make my grocery lists. I have a big note book that I use for work to make lists of all the things that I need to get done. I use the ‘notes’ option on my phone to record lists of things that are family related that I need to get done for the week. EVERYTHING goes down on paper and nothing gets left in my head – or it will get left behind.
A great practice to get into the habit of is to block off about 30 minutes on Sunday night and plan the following week and what the following day will look like. This is also a great opportunity to make sure that throughout the week, you’re blocking off needed time for yourself (gym, friends, reading, personal development, etc.) Block off time in your calendar or even create a family calendar for you and your partner to share so that you both know what’s going on in your lives and with the kids. Make your lists and divide those up as well.
Then, each night, before bed block out some time to review the current day and plan the following day. If you didn’t get to everything that was on today’s list, bump it until tomorrow’s and choose something from that list to bump to the following day (or to delegate to your partner or someone else to take it off your plate entirely), if your day is now full as a result.
3. The Art of Saying No
Sometimes if we feel like we lack time in our days, it’s because we’re giving it to things and people that don’t lift us up or serve us. We attend functions, visit with friends and family out of obligation. It can be draining on our time and on us.
Mark Manson, the author of, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, talks about having a ‘Fuck Yes’ or ‘Fuck No’ test in these situations to help us get clear on the things that we want to do vs. those that we don’t. The premise being that if you’re not saying “Hell Yes!” to something, the answer is “no”.
This concept can be applied to anything in our lives: dating, jobs, social invites – you name it. In my personal experience, it not only has served me well but has helped me to get really clear on my friendships, my values. and the things that matter most to me.
There is also no denying that saying no to things for many of us isn’t an easy task. However, when practiced with grace, honesty and transparency, I find that over time, it becomes a lot easier.
Granted, there are some exceptions to the rule that tend to fall under the ‘adulting’ category that regardless of how you feel about them, still need to be done. However, if you’re in a partnership, it also provides a great opportunity to discuss the division of household chores and see if one person prefers certain chores over the other, so that at the very least, even if you don’t get a ‘Fuck Yes!’ from grocery shopping, it’s definitely not a ‘Fuck No!’ like cleaning the bathroom.
4. Track Your Time Now
One of the fastest and most efficient ways of getting more time into our day is to track our time over the course of the week. By dissecting exactly where your hours are going, you’ll know what tasks are worth your time and what tasks are a waste of time.
For example, are you spending time texting back and forth with friends when a 5 minute call could have sufficed? Are you getting caught up scrolling through social media for 15, 30, even 45 minutes each day and wondering where the time went? Are you plopping down in front of the TV after dinner each night, staying up too late binge watching Netflix instead of planning out the next day, or getting to be early so that you can wake up early and hit the gym?
These small ‘time suckers’ go so easily undetected in our lives and yet can monopolize hours of our day. By being mindful and keeping a record for one week of where each 15 or 30 minute interval is spent, you’ll be easily able to see where your time is going and if it’s going to good use.
With this, you can begin to make small changes throughout your day to help get that time back like putting your phone on airplane mode while you’re working or doing an important task, or giving yourself a limited amount of ‘dedicated’ social media time each day. Making these small adjustments will help to make sure that you’re maximizing your time on the things that matter most to you.
5. Call in Help
Have you ever seen those Moms that just look like they have it all together? They always look well rested, well coiffed and just… well. Believe me, there’s no secret to their success. They weren’t born with a special ‘Mom gene’ or have special qualities that you don’t have. The one thing that separates you from them is HELP. Whether it be hired, borrowed, bargained, or bribed. These women call in help frequently and often to make sure they GSD (Get Shi*t Done)!
The sad truth is that years of pop culture and societal standards have lead us to believe that Moms are supposed to have it all and do it all – by ourselves. The evolution of women in society and the workforce has created a tidal wave of change in terms of the roles that woman assume and yet, the outdated standards still remain.
Gone are the days of June Cleaver. Now, women are expected to have thriving careers, be active in their communities, cook, clean, raise children, and bake homemade goods for the school bake sale – all while doing it alone. Sadder still is that so many women are so desperate to look like they have it all well in hand that they hide the fact that they have a team of support behind them, making everything possible. Thus- leading the rest of us to feel like we simply don’t measure up.
The truth is that it’s not possible to do it alone. The more we start asking for help and requiring the members of our personal villages to step in and help – the better women we’ll be and the better children we’ll raise.
Ask for help, often. From everyone. For anything. Ask because you don’t need to tackle that to-do list on your own. The sooner you ingrain that thought into your head, the faster you’l be able to free up more time for the things that you love.
6. Protect Your Time
Once you’ve acquired a few more precious moments in your day, the next step is to guard and protect them like your life depends on it. To do this requires putting up boundaries early and often so that no one – not a single soul in your life – can encroach on your time and try to take it away from you.
This will require some hard conversations, beating back unnecessary emotions like guilt and shame and grit for the first little while until expectations have settled and things become a habit. Until then, hold strong and don’t give up because the moment you give in once – you’re more likely to give in again and again. The next thing you know – you’re back to square one.
7. Letting Go of Guilt and Shame
Whether you apply all of these tactics, or none – the most crucial one of all is to let go of guilt and shame about taking time for yourself. These emotions are bound to come up and to keep coming up. It’s a long process to undo years of societal and familial conditioning so be patient with yourself.
Most importantly, it’s important to recognize that guilt and shame are wasted emotions that don’t do anything to serve you except bring down your energy and make you feel bad about things that you shouldn’t. That being said, it requires a lot of work to create awareness around these emotions when they come up and work through them so that they don’t hold you back from achieving your goals. Ultimately, the choice is yours as to whether or not you succumb to them and allow them to keep you stuck.
As our lives expand, the available time that we have for ourselves seems to shrink, making it (in my opinion) the most precious commodity that we have. This also means that now more than ever, as the demands on our time increase, we need to be even more intentional about how we spend it and who we give it to so that every moment counts.
These above practices, though difficult to implement in the beginning, are worth every effort and ounce of energy they take. That being said, like anything else in life, it requires consistent effort on your part to ensure that these tools and tactics can be implemented and solidified for the long-term. The most invested and serious you are, the more other people will support you in your efforts.
Try these out and let me know how it goes – in a quick succinct email of course – so as not to waste too much time 😉
With love and nut butter,