It has been 5 years now since I first built my Vision Board. I can still clearly see the goals I had set and how it kept me motivated throughout the year. The benefits that I saw from that experience encouraged me to start mentoring and guiding people to build their own vision board. One of the common problems that I encountered during the process was the lack of time management. So, it’s not only me who struggles to find the time and keep things in balance.
We all have innumerable tasks that we want to do but limited capacity and hence comes priorities. So, managing time is nothing but setting your priorities right. I know it’s easier said than done.
In this article, I will discuss my strategy to manage time and be on top of important things in life. To start with, here are some of the things that takes a significant amount of my time each day –
– Full-time Job
– I prepare my own meals each day
– Leisure time blogger
-Yoga and Running (I have done 3 half marathons)
Apart from all these, there are ad-hoc activities like socialising, watching a movie, spending time with your loved ones, shopping, additional work hours and the list goes on. We never account for these activities but take a significant part of your time. I am definitely not saying to stop socialising or cancel your NetFlix subscription. However, you need to take control of the time you spend on these activities.
Here are some tips for you to manage your time effectively.
Fill Two Needs With One Deed
Optimize your time by combining certain tasks. This doesn’t necessarily mean multitasking because that may be counterproductive. If there are a couple of things that can be done simultaneously without a problem, then do them together!
These are my real-life examples:
- I attend a weekly yoga class at my workplace. So, instead of spending an hour of a break on just browsing the internet I invest the time in maintaining my health – Saves time and money for an additional class.
- I utilise my commute time (unavoidable), I listen to podcasts (personal development) or speak to my family (nurtures relationships).
- I combine Netflix-ing with daily household chores – Avoid binging on a web-series.
There are many such activities that you can combine, however, make sure you do not combine 2 important tasks as your brain is not built for multi-tasking. You can just optimize the time you spend on the activities.
I cannot stress the importance of self-discipline in one’s life! Self-discipline takes effort and time to develop. It’s not always easy, however, it’s necessary if you want to paint your vision board green. Motivation helps you get started on a task, however, it’s the only discipline that brings consistency. Motivation can be external, however, discipline can only come from within. Hence, it takes to build that self-discipline.
There are good side-effects of being self-disciplined. It helps you grow and builds your confidence in the long run. It makes you passionate about your activities and makes you more skilled at it each day. Before you realise, being disciplined becomes a habit.
One of the ways to make yourself stick to an activity is to attach an external coach to it.
- Pay a fee to go to the gym
- Download an app on your phone which locks your phone upon crossing a limit of screen time
- Talk about your targets to as many people as possible
One of the things that I do to commit to an activity is join a hobby club, it’s not necessarily a full-on commitment, but you’ll probably stick to a schedule and doing the activity with many people around you makes it fun-filled. This is how I started my weekly yoga classes which have stuck to me since then.
If you’re a blogger/freelance worker you can set deadlines and even make them public to your readers or to whoever it may be. You’ll be way more motivated to complete something if other people are expecting it from you. You’ll gain discipline in no time.
Get Into A Routine
As someone with a “Type A” personality I thrive on routine, planning, lists, schedules, and predictability. That is exactly why I generally live my life by routine. This doesn’t work for everyone because we’re all different, but it’s definitely what has allowed me to do more each day. Wake up at the same time, have clothes laid out and my lunch packed, leave at exact time, plan your day, write a to-do list, etc. It’s those little details of each day that lead to big changes in your life.
For example, waking up early and on time will allow you to squeeze in things that you enjoy during the first couple hours of your day (meditating, reading, getting ready without rushing, slowly sipping your tea) Or going for a walk right after work removes the temptation to relax and work at home. These routines build habits and you’ll only get better at them! But do not forget to keep time for yourself (me time is a must).
Something I started doing recently that has been working really well is scheduling certain tasks for specific days. I have 1-2 hours every day to work on my side hustles – reading, writing, going for walks, experimenting with new recipes etc.
Similarly, routines set you up for success.
Despite doing all of these, you will never achieve a 100% balanced life. Time is limited and you can only accommodate so many activities in 24 hours.
As Gary Keller wrote in The One Thing, “Extraordinary results require focused attention and time. Time on one thing means time away from another. This makes balance impossible.” There is always an opportunity cost of doing one thing.
If you want to lose weight you’re gonna have to spend more time at the gym and less time drinking/eating out.
If you want to run your own business you’re gonna have to give up watching TV all the time and scrolling social media.
If you want to travel the world, you’ll probably sacrifice spending time at home with family/friends
There is always a trade-off and you need to balance it well but setting your own priorities. What sacrifices are you willing to make to get what you want? That’s the important question here.
If It Takes Less Than Five Minutes, Do It
This simple rule has changed my life. If I notice I am procrastinating on something I think to myself, “No that’ll take a couple of minutes, just do it.” And then I do it.
Have you ever been running late one morning and you’re about to pour your coffee into your travel mug to only realize that it’s sitting in your growing pile of dirty dishes from yesterday? What if you would have just washed them?
Some examples from daily life
- Deciding on what to wear to office the next day, a night before
- Making your bed in the morning
- Planning on your weekly meals
These small tasks might seem unimportant but not spending time thinking about it and just doing it will free your mind to focus on significant goals in your life. It unknowingly does a few things for you –
- You’ll build your confidence with small achievements that you gain by completing these tasks.
- You don’t see the mess all around you and makes you feel good about yourself and your surroundings.
- It keeps you active and healthy.
- You suddenly have more time in hand!
Time is one of our most valuable assets. You can never get it back and we are limited on how much is left. If you’re working toward a certain goal that’s going to require everything I just mentioned. Juggling all areas of life is a challenge, but it will pay off in the long run! Along with all this is also important to learn to rest both mentally and physically.
What Are Your Best Time Management Tips?
If you want a one minute break and read something that makes your mind think about time in a more relaxed manner – read this poem written by me!