10 Tips to Maximise your Time
We’ve all been guilty of using the excuse: “I don’t have enough time!”
Time scarcity is the mindset that 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough. It’s not enough to tackle our never-ending to do-list, not enough to fit in helping that friend and certainly not enough to go to that party.
It’s true: time is a finite resource. However, a time scarcity mindset can leave us constantly anxious and lead us to feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
But, if we rethink this mindset, we can use the pressure to maximise how we spend our time.
- Get a good night’s sleep
You’ve heard it before, but I’m going to tell you again! A full, productive, and happy day starts the night before. Maximising your time isn’t about literally creating more hours in the day, it’s about and utilising the hours you have. So, no setting the alarm to 5a.m. unless you’re committed to a 9p.m. bedtime!
- Set your intentions
The easiest way to watch your days disappear is to not be aware of how you want to spend them in the first place. Whether the night before or in the morning, dedicate 10 minutes of your time to deciding what exactly you want to do today. What one task should you work towards today that will make you feel content as you go to bed tonight?
When we feel like we’re racing against the clock we can often fill our days with tasks that seem urgent but are not actually very important. Time scarcity can lead us to have a short-term perspective, whereas it is the long-term goals that will be the ones to enrich your life.
TIP: A good exercise is to do an Eisenhower matrix of your goals. This is a 2 x 2 grid with the columns headed “Urgent” and “Non-urgent” and the rows headed: “Important” and “Not Important”. The idea is to have the Important and Urgent box empty as you should do your important tasks before they become urgent!
Use time scarcity to your advantage by implementing self-made deadlines. Parkinson’s law claims work fills up the time we allocate for it, so make sure you put a limit on how much time you’re willing to give any one task.
- Audit your days
Where is it exactly that you are losing your time? We’ve all been in the scenario where suddenly it’s evening and we’re just not quite sure where our time went. Well, find out! (Hint: start by checking your screen time!) When we know the culprit, we can begin to take measures to cut it back. Set boundaries with yourself to protect your time to focus on the intentions you set earlier in the day.
Where can you double up your time? Now, this isn’t to say spread yourself thinly – certainly don’t do that: focusing on a task will make you more effective. However, there are ways we can multitask without it being to the detriment of the speed or quality of our work. I like pairing a physical task with a mental task. For example, why not read whilst commuting or listen to a podcast whilst doing the washing up?
- Say no
Your time is yours. You don’t owe it to anyone else. So, don’t feel pressured into spending it on activities or with people that don’t make you happy. A good way to change your mindset is to treat the plans you’ve made for yourself for the day like you would any other plan. It is valid to be busy whether the plan is a booked appointment or simply a plan you’ve made yourself.
- Don’t be selfish
On the other hand, the idea that you simply don’t have two minutes to lend a helping hand is exactly the thinking that will cement a time scarcity mindset. Lend a hand, be present. When you start thinking like you do have the time, the weight of the anxiety will ease. Not to mention, being a little generous with your time will pay-off tenfold by enriching your relationships.
- Make time for the good stuff
Life really isn’t meant to be one string of assignments and check boxes. What is it that you want more time for? Do you miss reading? Has it been weeks since you’ve been in touch with certain friends? Prioritise these things. Enjoyment and balance in your life are crucial both to avoid burn out and, well, just because!
So, what did you get done today? Spend just 5 minutes thinking about it. Whether today was filled checking off those non-urgent, important to-do’s or filled with back-to-back reality TV, hopefully reflecting will remind you just how much time you do have in one day. And, that if you use this time intentionally, there is plenty of it to achieve your goals.