Over the years I've learned a lot about time management. I think I will constantly be in the journey towards less and finding my identity in Christ rather than productivity. However, I desire to make a meaningful life happen for me and my family, and this takes planning. I feel like I truly am gifted in planning ahead, haha. It seems like a silly thing to say, but it has helped our family and my life in countless ways. It's just something that has been written into my wiring as a person.
I get the feeling every now and then that people think I do a lot more than they are capable of doing, and I think that's just not true. I structure my days very specifically to make what matters to me happen, and when I don't, I totally feel it. Anyone is capable of making what matters to them happen, even if planning it may be a little out of your comfort zone. The truth is that I don't do everything, and I'm truly not that busy (more thoughts to come on this later). The tools I use to do things has helped me to do more in less time.
So with that said, I wanted to share just a few tools that help me to make the most of the time I do have.
Can I say it again? Using the PowerSheets have helped me get clear on what I want to be true of my life at the end of this year, 5, 10, even 50 years from now, and help me to work backwards to make those things a reality. It helps me spell out bigger goals and then lay out actionable steps to accomplish them.
Prioritize your to-do list
With just the early mornings and Reaghan's nap, that doesn't leave much time to get things done. I try to categorize what needs to get done throughout the day. For example, I prioritize what actually needs to happen today versus things that can wait until tomorrow or next week. It's the difference between what is urgent vs. important. Some things are time sensitive, so they need to get done quicker, where as others are general goals that don't need to be done right away, and can wait. This also looks like deciding what can be done while Reaghan is awake (housework, errands, cooking) and what can really only be done well while she's asleep (computer work, photography, designing, writing, etc).
Time your to-do list
After you prioritize what should be done first, and what could wait, give a time allotment to each task. I'm not sure where I first saw this or thought to do this, but it has been working for me for about a year now! As a mom I realized pretty quickly that I needed to make the most of the little time I had to get things done, and giving myself a time limit really helps. I decide how much time a task will take (for example, answering emails might take between 15 minutes), set a timer on my phone and resolve to just work on that one task for the allotted time. This really helps me stay away from random distractions!
Do Not Disturb on my iPhone
When Reaghan's nap starts, I turn my phone on "do-not disturb." If I don't, I can end up spending between 30 minutes to an hour responding to texts. I don't know what it is, but that seems to be a big distraction for me while she's asleep. Since I know my time is limited, I want to make the most of it and not be distracted every 5 minutes with my phone dinging.
And because I'm a visual person, and maybe you are too -- here's a little printable to help you timing out your to-do list. Try it out this week and let me know how it goes!