Do you ever have days where you feel like you’re super busy but once the day is over you look back and feel like nothing got done?
In today’s more-is-more culture it seems like everything we do is a “must.” The result of this
is that many of us find ourselves chasing unattainable expectations of tasks to complete,
with little time to find moments for ourselves and our families. Without realizing, we can
easily pack our days with a bunch of little things while neglecting our true priorities.
If this rings true with you, you’re not alone!
The feeling of not having “enough time” is a common obstacle for many of us.
Perhaps you see a new business or fitness program you’d like to try, but then decide against it because you don’t know how you’ll possibly fit it into your busy schedule with your work and your family.
One of the best ways to take control of your schedule (and create more time) is by managing your time like a Warrior. That means working smarter, not harder, and learning how to get more done without adding more hours to your schedule.
China here. As a new mom, my time is more valuable than ever.
I covet those time blocks when my son takes his naps and I can actually get focus work done (like writing this blog post!). Since he’s only taking 2 naps each day and those naps last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, I know I need to make the most of each block. This means I plan and prepare for each time block in advance so I can be as efficient as possible before my little one wakes up.
Whether you are a parent, an entrepreneur, a student… or even if you just want to feel more accomplished and less stressed at the end of the day, learning how to get more (important work) done is freaking gold!
If it’s not on your calendar, it’s much easier to push back or prioritize something else instead. Time blocking is a way of making sure that what has to be done gets done.
Don’t forget, you are responsible for your purpose and priorities so it’s up to you to protect that time block!
Research shows that when our attention is completely derailed, it can take 20 to 30 minutes to refocus [Article]. That’s why it’s so important to do our best to eliminate interruptions.
Here are a few suggestions for how you can create a distraction-free environment:
Set yourself up for optimal productivity by clearing any clutter from your workspace, stocking up with fresh paper & a pen, filling up your water, and printing out necessary documents
Connect with your team or whoever you need to so you have all the information you need to complete your task & you don’t waste any time waiting on others
As Gary Keller would suggest, each day ask yourself this focusing question, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do for [insert whatever you want] such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”
You can apply this same question to different areas of your life.
For example, “What’s the one thing I can do for the launch of my new program such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”
Your most important priority is the ONE Thing you can do right now that will help you achieve what matters most to you. (By the way, if you haven’t read The One Thing, do yourself a favor and grab a copy, it’s a game changer!)
Once you are clear with how to make the best use of your time and the next action you should take, write it down.
In the example above you might decide that your one thing you must do today is to make some promotional videos. Hence, you should write down “Film 2 videos.”
We recommend that you work on your most important priority of the day in your first time block while your mind is fresh. Willpower to stay focused is like a muscle, and according to Stanford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, it “decreases over the course of the day, as your energy gets “spent” on stress and self-control.”
Multitasking is a lie!
Multitasking doesn’t allow you to fully focus on the task at hand because your brain is still focusing on the last unfinished task. As this article notes, multitasking “exhausts the mind, zaps cognitive resources and, if left unchecked, condemns us to early mental decline and decreased sharpness. Chronic multitaskers also have increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can damage the memory region of the brain.”
Conversely, single tasking can increase your creativity, energy and focus.
Regular breaks can increase performance and prevent burnout. Stretch, move your body, drink some water, take some deep breaths.
We don’t recommend scrolling social media or checking emails during these breaks as these can do the opposite for your brain
Brain dump any extra concerns or to-dos so you can rest assured knowing you won’t forget them.
Decide what the most important thing is to start with when you pick back up, and make clear notes of your next action steps.
Staying focused and productive during my time blocks has been so valuable for me as I transition back into working. Not only does it move my most important priorities forward, it also enables me to be more present with my family so I’m not scatter brained or worried about what I still need to do.