Now, you’ve heard me say before that you can’t actually get more time, which is true. You have 1,440 minutes every day and you aren’t going to get any more no matter how hard you wish for or dream of having it. Not to mention the fact that time isn’t real, it’s a concept so you can’t get more of something that doesn’t really exist.
What you can do though is make some steps to get back the time that you’re wasting right now and to make better investments of your time. Click the play button and check out this episode of Time & Space on Own Your Power Radio. I’m giving you seven ways you can find more time.
One of the biggest hindrances to getting things done is not knowing your priorities. You’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t know what theirs are and this is where a lot of people get stuck. Time and time again when working with a client and looking at how they go through their days and what happens in the midst of them, it boils down to not knowing what’s important.
If you’re stuck in this spot, I want you to step back and take a deep breath and exhale. Then look at the things you value most. What things matter the most to you? Your children/family? Your health? Each of your values are direct indicators of what your priorities are. One of my top values is my health, because after all if I don’t have that I can’t have much else that I want, which is unacceptable to me. That value transitions into my days as one of my top priorities which is why my vegan diet, a good daily workout and meditation are part of each of my days. Nothing comes before them so they’re on the top of my agenda every day without fail.
Make a list of the things you value then look to see what priorities are related to them. Some values may have more than one. Once you know your priorities, you can compare them to the things you’re doing daily and determine what stays on your list, what gets delegated and what gets kicked off your list.
Keep a list of what’s important handy so that as you move into this new habit of focusing on the important things you have a reminder in front of you about what gets on your list. Being aware of and in touch with your priorities takes the guess work out of things because you already know what’s allowed to hit your to-do list and calendar and what isn’t. The things that fall under this category are the things that you tackle during your Prime Time.™ This is just one way to stop wasting time, take your power back and get things done.
There are way too many productivity tools out there to mention, making it even more important to choose the one that’s a perfect fit for you. The tool you use to support you on a daily walk through your to-do list should fit you as well as your favorite pair of shoes. After you’ve done your homework to learn exactly what the tools you’re attracted to can do and determine which is the best fit based upon your Productivity Persona™, you can’t stop there. Once you have the perfect tool for you in your hot little capable hands, you’ve got to work it if it’s going to support you. There are three major things you’re going to want to do:
- Set Yourself Up For Success-It’s important to use all the features to support you daily. When you get your tool, invest the time in setting it up completely, and no half-stepping! Add your contacts, and for electronic tools, sync it with your calendar, and add your business email so that you have access to it. It’s convenient to have it all in one place, not to mention the time you’ll save.
- Develop Habits– Once it’s set up you want to build the muscle of using your tool every day . If you haven’t been using something to support you on a daily basis, you’ve got to allow yourself the time to get into the swing of things. Use reminders to help you build this muscle if you need to. On a regular basis, add new calendar items, contacts and any updates, and use it to plan and to guide you daily.
- Back It Up!- Sync and back up your electronic device regularly—at least twice a week. It’s a good practice to set reminders in your calendar so that you don’t forget to sync and back up. There’s nothing worse than losing or having something happen to your electronic device and not having that back up. I’ve helped clients work their way back from that disaster and it’s not pretty. If you’re using a paper tool, maintain it the same way and share your calendar information with your assistant or another trusted party. If you’re a one-woman show, keep a second copy in a safe spot for easy retrieval in the worse case scenario.
There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. Every day people are busy with irrelevant things. Things that don’t directly line up with their big picture. Sometimes the busy work comes into play because you’d rather procrastinate than do the task at hand. The things that keep you busy and unproductive are the unnecessary meetings and those without an agenda. The trivial stuff, the things that seem more pleasant to do and some email and phone calls all fall into this category. These are the things that keep you from the things that you really should be giving your time to.
Then there are those time sucking BSOs (Bright shiny objects) that are notorious for leading you astray every day, all day. You know how it is…you’re working on something and then you get a thought about something else that needs to be done, or an awesome idea that you just have to bring to life and you take that detour. You follow the thought or that idea and before you know it an hour or more has gone by and you haven’t done a thing when it comes to the task you originally started with. Ugh!
So how do you bust the busy work and the BSOs? For starters, eliminate the busy work by getting focused on your priorities. Determine what they are based on your values and the things that will help you manifest what you’re up to. Let go of the rest by delegating it or deleting it altogether. The key here is to move away from the things that don’t matter by creating a personalized productivity system that will get you through your days. Create new habits like regular planning that will help you move away from putting out fires and constantly dealing with crises. I mean, who wants to put up with that?
If you’re guilty of letting those BSOs lead you in an entirely different direction, grab a note book or pad of paper that you can keep on your desk or work table. Make sure it’s portable so it can go with you on those days you work from your local coffee shop. The next time a BSO strikes, resist chasing it down and jot it down instead. Take a quick moment to write down the thoughts you’re having or the other things that come to mind that have to be done. Do the same with the ideas that come to you which should only take you a quick minute or two. Then cross of the items you’ve transferred and get back to what you were doing. At the end of each day, or at least a few times a week go to your notes and pull the additional to-do items from your notes and into a fitting spot in your calendar or to-do list. Take those great ideas and add blocks of time to work on them and bring them to life. Each time you come back to your notebook you’ll be able to tell where to start so you won’t lose anything and you’ll maintain your focus which will help you get things done.
Today Daylight Saving Time started and the first thing I remember saying to myself this morning is, “I want my hour back.” I wanted back the hour that was snatched from me. That hour of peace and quiet for my Sunday. Then I heard my own voice in my head say the same thing I tell my clients, “Remember that time doesn’t exist anyway, and you have all the time there is.” All I could do was laugh.
If you’re like me you may be wanting your hour back too, but like I reminded myself, we have all the time there is and since time doesn’t exist, there’s really no loss. We get to create what time is for us and learn how to walk that fine line between knowing that it’s just a concept and operating in a world where people allow it to run their lives. When we remember that and take control of our days, there are ways we can, so to say, add time back into our day.
- Get & Stay Focused-Staying focused is a primary key when it comes to your day to day to-dos. Once you have clarity, you can create the vision and once you have the crystal clear vision, you can focus and stay on point. It becomes much easier to know what your priorities are because your vision is clear…you know what you’re up to and what’s important.
- Let Go-Delegate the things that don’t require your expertise to do. Make the time to explain the how-to hand it over to a highly capable party and focus on the things that only you can do. Also let go of the things that aren’t important in relation to what your focus is. Those tasks that have been on your agenda for a while that you just can’t seem to get to, so they keep getting moved, or those things that you do as a way of avoiding what really needs to be done.
- Make Your To-Be List-You’re so caught up in the things that have to be done that you lose your focus and forget to think about who you’re being. Before you can even think about what there is to do, you’ve got to take a look at who it is you need to be. Being an entrepreneur requires you to be bold, tenacious, fearless just to name a few ways of being. When you determine what you’re creating for yourself you have to step outside of who it is that you’re usually being, so make your to-be list first.
Putting these things into action can help you get up to two “additional” hours in your day. Get your hour back and then some!