It seems to fly by at an increasingly fast pace, doesn’t it?
Of course, objectively I know this isn’t true. I realize that time can’t actually speed up or slow down. But it sure feels that way; it seems like I blink and I’m flipping the calendar to the next month.
And from the number of emails I’ve received recently, I realize I’m not the only one who thinks so.
I heard from several of you wonderful readers over the last month, and each person is looking for more time management tips; some people want more time in their day, others want to make the most of the hours they have, while still others want to work smarter so they can spend more time doing things they love.
In short, we all want more time.
Believe me, I hear you.
My husband and I frequently wish for more time in our day. “How did it get so late?!” we ask ourselves. “I wish I had a few more hours before bed.” “I need to stay focused so I can take a break this weekend.” Etc.
Do you ever find yourself making similar statements?
If so, then you’re in luck, because over the last several weeks I’ve been working hard to uncover “more time” in my day.
In my coaching program with Brooke Castillo, I’ve learned that the best way to start managing our time is by developing an awareness of how we spend it now.
I must say, this was quite a wake-up call for me; it made me realize where all my valuable hours were slipping away – Facebook, Instagram, my never-ending inbox – and it helped me regain control over how I spend my time.
Today I’m excited to share with you the strategies I use, so that you, too, can make the most of each day.
Are you ready?
5 Simple Steps to Uncover More Time in Your Day
Step 1: Uncover More Time in Your Day – Reflect on Your Last 24 Hours
If you want to find more time in your day, the first thing you need to do is discover where your time is going in the first place.
To do this, grab a piece of paper and a pen (or use this awesome workbook!).
Next, record everything that you did in the last 24 hours.
You may be thinking, “but Paula, my last 24 hours weren’t my “typical day.” or “My last 24 hours were over the weekend.”
That’s okay. Do it anyway.
In fact, you are going to do this three times this week, so if yesterday wasn’t “typical,” it’s no problem at all.
Take 5 minutes and record every single thing you did over the last 24 hours: eating, sleeping, exercising, getting ready for the day, emails, commuting, talking on the phone, scrolling through Facebook, grocery shopping, playing with your kids, walking the dog, watching Netflix, waiting in carline. Everything.
Step 2: Uncover More Time in Your Day – Write Down Your Ideal 24 Hours
The next step is to reflect on what your ideal 24 hours would look like.
What would your day look like if you had a “perfect day?”
How would you spend your valuable hours so that you feel accomplished and content when you go to bed at night?
Record this day on a separate sheet of paper (or in the workbook).
Step 3: Uncover More Time in Your Day – Compare Your Two Lists
Step three is sometimes a rude wakeup call; take a few minutes to compare your last 24 hours to your ideal 24 hours.
How do these two lists align? Do they align? If so, where? If not, why not?
Where are your valuable hours slipping through the cracks?
Are you losing hours scrolling through social media? Do you spend valuable time lost in your inbox? Are you zoning out in front of Netflix while avoiding your to-do list?
Taking time to highlight the “time sucks” is the first step forward in uncovering more time in your day.
Step 4: Uncover More Time in Your Day – Map Out a Plan for Tomorrow
This next step is a big one; take a few minutes to carefully map out your next 24 hours. List everything from sleep, eating, and exercise, to answering emails, social media, and commuting to work.
What can you do to ensure that your next 24 hours align as closely as possible to your best 24 hours?
Will it be an exact match? No, probably not.
But that’s okay.
When you know better, you do better. Choose to make the most of your day ahead.When you know better, you do better. Choose to make the most of your day ahead. #dobetter #imbusybeingawesome Click To Tweet
Step 5: Uncover More Time in Your Day – Follow Your Plan
Step five is the most straightforward, but also perhaps the most challenging step.
Because now it’s time to get to work.
You have the perfect day in front of you; it’s time to stick with that plan.
Say “no” to distractions. Focus on single-tasking. And keep working toward that carefully time-blocked schedule.
- Find my best strategies to say no here.
- Learn how to single task here.
- Discover my favorite time blocking strategy here.
Every time your mind wanders, remind yourself that you’re living your best day. Remind yourself that when you stick with this plan, you will feel incredible. You will be proud at the end of the day because you showed up for yourself.
Then, at the end of the day record how you did spend your 24 hours. Did you stick with your plan from step four? Why or why not?
Finally, repeat this process in two days. Then, repeat it two days after that. As you repeat this activity three times in the first week, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how closely your “perfect day” and your “actual day” align by the end of the practice.
I encourage you to continue this process once every week or two to hold yourself accountable. Keep challenging yourself to show up, dive in, do the work, and feel proud. I’m willing to bet that if you do, this brief 10-minute practice will make a 180-degree difference on how you experience each day going forward.
Are you ready to dive in? Great! Be sure to grab this free workbook to walk you through the next four weeks. You won’t be sorry.
Do you want to uncover more time in your day? What are your favorite time management strategies? What are your time management stumbling blocks? Share your thoughts below!