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A path to better time management

Time Management

At one point or another, we all have to take a good look at how we manage our time.  There will come a point where you complain that you don’t have enough time.  You’ll read self-help books and websites for guidance.  YouTubers will motivate you just enough to get you through the day.  You can try bullet journal after bullet journal with little success.  Yet all these tools at your disposal and not a damn thing works!  How do I know this?  Because I’ve been there and I’ve talked to dozens of people who have been there too.  So what do you do?

You make a conscious decision that today you’re going to create a routine that will give you more time and provide me more value.  I’m going to stick with it for 1 week, 1 month, 3 months and so on.  I know you have a ton of different options of how you can manage your time so here’s one more, mine.

Create a Self Honor Statement

I will do the following every day.

  • Will not get involved in gossip, drama or speaking negatively of anyone.
  • Show up to work 30 minutes early every day.
  • Leave my workstation clean and prepped for the next workday.
  • Surround myself with those who share common values and goals.

This statement is comprised of personal morals, values, and ethics that you will live by daily without thinking about them.  In a sense, these are your scriptures that guide you to being productive, focused and distraction-free.  And ultimately giving you back your time.  I listed 4 of mine above.  

The Unquestionable Routine

Build a routine that has hard starts and stops.  Always leave time for yourself and your family.  Make sure your family agrees with your routine so that they can support you and vice versa.  So here’s a routine that will surely give you back your life.

  1. Wake up early
  2. Journal
  3. Family/Free time
  4. Work
  5. Family time.
  6. Journal
  7. Go to bed early.

The Break Down

Waking up early

Talk to any successful person in any industry and they will tell you that waking up early is the key to success.  Your mind and body are the sharpest at this time of day assuming you’ve had a good night sleep.  It’s quiet. You don’t have commitments.  Can get a lot done.  Some people like to take this time to read, write, stretch, meditate, drink coffee, listen to music.  It’s your time to enter the world.  Decide how you’d like to do that.

I wake up at 4 am daily.  I take this time to drink coffee and write blog posts.  

Journaling

Adopting this into your morning routine is key.  It allows you to do what I call a mind dump.  Get it all out.  Just write everything you’re thinking about.

I am normally thinking about what I need to get done that day so I tend to write lists.  I refer to these throughout my workday. 

The Scattered Squirrel makes great free downloadable planners and journals.  Check out the website here.

Family/Free Time

Your family should be just as involved and supportive of your routine for it to work.  You need to come up with a functional plan that everyone can get on board with.

Weekday mornings I make breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I walk the dogs.  I work out.  Mind you, my workday usually starts at 12.  On the weekends, I workout.  I don’t have the responsibilities of cooking meals and walking dogs.

Work

If you are self-employed, I would urge you to set a schedule.  Only work during your set hours.  That way you have a hard start and stop time that you can commit to and train others to respect.  If people can’t respect your hours then you don’t need them as clients.  Remember this is about freeing up time for YOU.

I use to work around the clock.  What that translated to was no time for me and burnout.  It took a lot to reverse the patterns I had established but once I did, I felt great.  Not only did I feel great, my clients were much more organized about their time, and I bettered my relationship with my family & friends.

I made a definitive hard start & stop time to my work day.  My day starts 30 minutes before I see my first client.  Before I leave for the day, I clean my office as to walk in the office the next day ready to begin my day.  I carved out time in my workday to be able to return calls, answer email, enter client information.  ***Put in your communications when you return correspondence.  For example, my emails say I will respond M-F at 2 pm or 6 pm.

Family Time

Don’t take your family for granted.  Make them a priority.  If you don’t have a family, this applies to distant family members, animals, and friends.  Be home for dinner, watch tv together, attend functions, spend time with your pets.  Things that let others know you care about them and vice versa.

You can also use this time for your personal enjoyment.  Get a hobby.  Meet friends.  Relax.  Work-life balance.  It’s essential to living a healthy life.

I’m fortunate enough to live close to my parents.  Every week I spend time with each of them.  They have helped me feel like my time is valuable and is well spent.  I’ve also to learned to play the guitar, play table tennis, and educate myself on new massage techniques.

Journaling

Check in with your checklist from the morning.  Cross off all that you got done.  Next, write down what’s on your mind.  Write one thing you’re grateful for too.

I like ending my day on a positive note so I always like to end with what I’m grateful for.  It’s fun to look back at my journal entries to see how far I have come.

Go To Bed Early

Nothing good ever happens after midnight.  – Bo Schembechler

I first heard this quote in college.  Remembered it ever since.  Turn off the tv.  Drop the game controller.  Hang up the phone.  Put down the cookies.  Replace that with a good night sleep.  Have trouble sleeping?  Build a nightly routine.  Stop eating by 7.  Journal.  Read.  Shower. Drink camomile tea.  Lay in in bed.  Train yourself to go to bed early.

As an entrepreneur with very high goals, I can’t afford to waste my time running idol.  Yes, it occasionally happens but for the most part, I’m in bed every night by 10.  Ready to get a jump start on my day.

Final Thoughts

Life can become overwhelming PDQ (pretty damn quick).  Once it starts to pile up, it seems impossible to get control of it.  But, you can chip away at the pile bit by bit to get it down to a manageable level.  It takes two things willpower and planning. You can do it!


 

Do you have a routine that you follow?  I’d love to know what it is, how it’s helped you.  Comment below.