Do you get overwhelmed and feel like you don’t have enough time to do all the things? Or maybe you have time but you are not using it efficiently. Time stress has been a big challenge for me over the years. I will share with you strategies that helped me get on track and manipulate time to work for me.
Not enough time!
I used to live with a feeling of panic when I had a “busy” life. I dreaded commitments and a full schedule because I felt so overwhelmed and never knew how I was going to do it all. I would inevitably avoid doing anything, and would instead binge watch Netflix. Then, the feeling of guilt and disappointment in myself would take over. It was kind of a vicious cycle.
First, I had to change my thinking about not having enough time. Time scarcity is a mindset and a choice. Everyone, even highly successful people who do the most have the same 24 hours that I have. Also, I had to stop looking at my list of things and thinking about what I needed to do all the time. In order to start enjoying myself, it was essential for me to focus on what I was doing right then and do it to the best of my ability. Living in the stressful future was taking away from my present.
Where does the time go?
Little did I know that I had a gold mine of time that I wasn’t using. Until you take a close look at what you are doing every moment of the day, you don’t realize how much time is wasted. It’s so easy to get distracted, especially when you are trying to “multitask“. Time flies out the window! Our brains aren’t meant to work that way. Our thinking slows, our learning comes to a halt, and stress goes up. Just don’t do it!
Other than wasting time trying to multitask, I would find myself scrolling social media, avoiding challenging tasks in any way possible, and just taking forever to do simple “chores”. I literally had no direction. My compass was spinning all around. As a result, my time was spinning right out of my reach. I had no ability to manipulate time to my advantage.
Be the captain of your ship
In order to create anything in life, you will need to have clear intentions and clarity of direction. A captain of a ship must know exactly where they are going or they will not get anywhere. Without a vision and focus on staying the course, your ship will be bouncing around the waves for many years to come, never getting to its destination.
Here are some tools to help you take control and manipulate time. Wealthy people center their actions around creating more of and improving their time resource in order to free them up for creativity, making more money, and enjoying life. Start thinking in this way and lack of time will never be an issue for you again. You are the master of your seas!!
Tool #1- Time Tracker
There are many time tracker apps and software, and I might make a time tracker sheet in the near future and provide it as a printable. But really, all you need is a blank sheet of paper.
Start with 12am and write out every half hour all the way to 11:30pm. Make a couple copies of this sheet, because you’re going to time audit yourself for 3 days. This will give you the best picture of how you spend your time regularly.
You can either add to it throughout the day, do morning/lunch/night, or just wait until the end of the day. I suggest doing it more often so you are more accurate. Don’t have judgement on yourself and don’t try to change anything. This is simply a record that you will look at later.
Don’t shame yourself, feel guilty, or like a looser. This is data! You need to know where you’re at in order to transform. You could be overworking or under-working. Accept that this is how it is right now, and move on to tool #2.
Tool #2- Schedule
When I told my friends and family that I was going to schedule out my day hour by hour from beginning to end, they thought it was an extreme idea. They didn’t think I would have time for anything, and wanted to make sure that I took time for myself, for fun, and to be spontaneous.
Little did they know that doing this would actually give me more time. When I started planning out my days, I would complete what I was working on faster and have extra time left over. I found myself finding time for all types of leisure moments. I was able to take a 20min nap and still do everything on my calendar. I could go to lunch spontaneously with a friend, move things around on the schedule, and STILL get it all done. Time seriously started showing up everywhere. It was like magic.
I started feeling good because I was being productive, but I also had a weight off my shoulders because all the things I was stressing about had their place. They were scheduled, so I didn’t need to think about them until I was doing them in their intended time slot. My mind was free! I could focus on what I was doing with completeness and enjoy the process.
Try it! I found that planning out a week in advance took too much time. Now, I plan out the next 3 days using Google calendar (any detailed calendar will work). Fill every slot. Be complete with your planning. Make sure you plan time for self-care and relationships! Whats great about making your schedule is you can see areas that are unbalanced and adjust them. You have the power to manipulate time!
Tool #3- Visualize, Focus, Complete
I have been using this tool lately to literally bend time! I’m getting better with practice, as with anything. But its so exciting to see this work! This is the Law of Attraction at its best!
If you have a task to do and you want to get it done in a certain amount of time, visualize yourself doing the task. I take 5 minutes, sit comfortably, and imagine the whole process. See yourself doing it quickly and efficiently, and at the end generate the feeling of accomplishment. I even think, “Wow, I got this done in the perfect amount of time!”
Then, when you start the task, focus like a laser. Don’t get distracted by anything. Don’t think of the future or the past. Be completely present, work quickly, and feel the flow! If your mind wanders, bring it right back. This is like a form a meditation except highly active.
Once you complete the project in the allotted time, your faith and excitement for what you can accomplish with shoot through the roof. There is no limit to what you can achieve with this tool! As you get better and better at it, you can create more difficult tasks to complete in even less time. You will be amaaaazed at how time stretches for you to complete them. So powerful! This goes to show you that time doesn’t really exist. We can manipulate time!!
Tool #4- Flow
Flow is where you will see the most time distortion. I wrote a blog post on flow (How to Be In Flow). Flow is where a person is completely absorbed in a challenging task and they have the skill to meet the demand. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has a wonderful book called Flow. There have been studies done which have shown that people have time distortions when they are involved in moderately challenging, attention-demanding tasks. Time seems to fly usually, but sometimes time can seem to stand still depending on the situation.
Flow can be cultivated through meditation, which trains the mind to focus on a single point, such as the breath, for a period of time.
Flow can be stimulated by doing what you love. When you are doing something you truly enjoy, you are fully present and don’t want to be doing anything else. Time will usually fly in this instance.
Flow will come easier if you do things at an optimal time and place. Get curious about when and where you feel the most in flow, and gravitate towards those area to get the best results. Early mornings are good for my flow, and I also love working at coffee shops.
Flow can be encouraged by autosuggestion. When you are doing anything, think about how you are doing exactly what you want to be. Suggest to yourself that you wouldn’t want to be doing anything else or be anywhere else. Get yourself excited about every task and you will find yourself more and more in flow in increasing areas of your life.
Tool #5- Eliminate/Simplify/Automate/Delegate
This is a popular one, and I have started to implement these ideas in different areas of my life. This tool will help you continue to manipulate time to increase your success.
Ask yourself these questions in their order regarding everything you do, especially low value, repetitive tasks. This will allow you to gain more time and achieve more of what you truly want.
Should you eliminate the task? Is it absolutely necessary? How does this add to my life? Will this help me make money or gain skills in what I’m working towards? If not, get rid of it. I have recently gone to part time at my job (working for a corporation). I don’t see my future there, the return is minimal, and the time I gain by working less will allow me to create income and skills in the areas I desire. I haven’t completely eliminated it yet, but eliminated half.
Can you simplify the task? The Pareto principle (80/20 rule) states that you get 80% of your results by 20% of your activities. That means that only 20% of what you are doing is actually contributing to your success! Can you simplify a task down by 80%? What part of that task is actually getting you what you want? Maybe you can bring it to its bare bones (although, never skimp on providing quality).
Can you automate the task? What are the monotonous tasks that you have to perform? Cooking, emails, computer backups and maintenance, walking the dog, social media posts for your business, etc. See if there is a program that can do any of these for you. I just started ordering fresh meals to be shipped to me every week. I am saving hours of cooking time which has freed me up to work on things like my blog instead.
Can you delegate the task? Maybe there is someone who could do these tasks for you? You could spend a little money now on a freelancer or virtual assistance and make it up by creating even more money-making products. Start thinking about freeing up your time, turning it into money and other things you want to create in your life!
Design your life
You have the creative ability and the power within to completely design your life how you want it to be. Once you truly realize this, you will get excited. Once you start seeing the changes and growth, you will be hooked. This journey is so much fun, rewarding, and worth it! Stop seeing time management as work, and start seeing it as a way to generate more freedom!
As you start taking control of your time, you will find more and more ways to multiply it. I’m so excited for you! Let me know what you achieve!! 🙂