We’re known as the “busy” generation. Our plates are always full. We've always got too much to do, yet we keep saying yes. Lots of us ask the question, “How do we do it all?”
Here’s the thing: being too busy is a lie. Each of us has 24 hours in a day and you get to decide how you’re going to spend your time. Every single hour. You know the feeling you get when you say, “I don’t have time.” It makes us feel weak and that we aren’t spending our time in a worthwhile way. That means we rush to tick off our to-do lists, and then we wonder what we've actually spent our time doing.
If you say you don’t have enough time, then that comes down to how you’re spending it. Because the truth is, you are in control of your life.
I’ve definitely been in this place, so if this speaks to you too, here are some steps you can take to start feeling more in control of your time.
Remember what really matters to you
So we can’t spend every single minute doing exactly what we want. There are some things, like dealing with our finances, food shopping and house chores that have got to be done. But you’ve got to make sure that this is evenly balanced with doing what makes you happy.
Cooking, exercising, blogging, creativity, Netflix, reading, pampering sessions, date nights – these are all fantastic examples, and you can do them as often as you want. If you love working out, make it a priority so it becomes a permanent part of your schedule. If you work all day and sleep all night, you’ve still got that big chunk of time in the evening. Split this into the things you have to do and the things you want to do.
I know sometimes it can be difficult. Take it from me – there have been times when I’ve been working an extra three evenings a week and it can really take its toll. But when you change your mindset, you’ll still be able to find time to do something you love, whether it’s taking a bath or reading before bed.
This time exists. You've just got to start thinking differently and notice that it’s there. Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve found I’ve got even more time – and I cherish it more too.
Find out what you spend the most time on
The first thing to do when you’re looking to spend your time more intentionally is figure out what you do every single day. For a week, write down what you do for every thirty minutes, even if it’s the same task sometimes. Scrolling through social media, cooking, travelling to work – everything. You want to see what takes up the most of your time and whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing.
You've got to look at what you do and think if it’s worth spending that much time on. If not, how can you eliminate that activity or shorten it? Or if you can’t change it, then think how can you spend it more satisfyingly. Like if you’ve got a long commute, why not write notes for your next blog post or catch up with a podcast? There are always ways around things if you think hard enough.
Plan everything out
It’s the age old saying: “I’ll start it when I’ve got more time.” But the problem is that only you can make that time appear. So why not make it appear now? The key is in preparation.
Whether it’s in your planner or on a big calendar on your wall, write down what you want to do and when. I find that if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen. Plus, this will make your Sunday night so much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to get excited about the week ahead and book in all the fun stuff first.
Change your thinking
Your thoughts matter. They have power. Saying “I don’t have time” is a way of putting something off. Believe me – I keep saying “I’ll do that tomorrow” about an email I’m nervous about replying to. Instead, you want to think of a positive alternative or a reward.
Give yourself a time limit and get it done. “I’ll start exercising more once this big project has finished.” “I’ll start baking once a week when my kitchen has been redecorated.” “I’d love to do that – but this is more important.” These are some examples of the way you need to think.
It all comes down to how you view things. Don’t create a schedule and then slot things into it. Decide what your priorities are, and then schedule them.
One thing I need to work on, which will help you too, is learning how to say no. Start off small. I turned off all social media notifications on my phone and I’ve seen a huge difference. It’s made me spend my time so much more intentionally – and the time I spend on social media too.
It might feel strange at first. You’ll begin to feel more powerful. But only you can plan your life – no one else. It’s your time.
The question is, how are you going to spend it?