Making the Most of Your Time – Productivity Through Prioritizing & Time Blocking

 “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

― Bruce Lee

Life is awesome, with awesomeness comes packed schedules trying to juggle work, family, health, relationships, life etc. Creating a balance that you feel like you can accomplish some of your important to-do’s as well as make time for what makes you happiest is an ideal situation. I would venture to say a lot of us struggle with this on a daily basis. The to-do list is never ending, things come up that you don’t expect and next thing you know it’s past dinner time and you don’t have a clue what to make for dinner.

Although I wish I could tell you that I had a perfect formula and give you a wand that would make miracles happen and your house sparkly clean, I don’t. However, I do have some suggestions that if practiced could help make your time more productive leaving you more time to do the things you really want to be doing. I challenge you to take one of the suggestions and try to incorporate it into your week and see how you feel at the end of the week. The goal is to help you feel more productive with more free time, hey, even an extra 30 minutes counts!

1. Prioritize. Every morning take 5 minutes to write out your top 5 to-do’s and the rest in a separate column that you’d like to get done but can wait. If you want to take it one step further, add a column for the “Universe” to handle. And believe that it will be taken care of. For example, if you have been looking at purchasing a new car but the time hasn’t been quite right and you need to get a few things in line for that to happen, give it to the Universe to handle and I’ll bet you that in a little time, things will start lining up just as they need to for you to get that new car. Trust the process. Ask yourself, what needs my attention today and add that to your top 5 priority list.

2. Time block. If you have a handful of errands to do, do them all at one time. Plan a route that will be efficient and that you’ll get a lot done at one time. If you have house cleaning and chores to knock out, turn on some music, set a timer and get through as much of your chores as you can – for example, start the laundry so that is going while you load the dishes, sweep while dancing around, hey why not enjoy this! Speed dust, vacuum, etc. Choose one “bigger” chore to do once a week – think clean windows, mop, deep cleaning type of chores. Put that in the calendar and recruit help if you need to. It will make it go by quicker and you’ll be so happy you did it! Time blocking with cooking – once you have gone grocery shopping, immediately plan to cut up your veggies and store them in containers for the week for easy access & cooking. Think of it as you are your own sous chef, you are helping your future self with the work you put in now. Always try to plan one or two “one-pot” meals for the week that you can just throw in a crock pot/dutch oven/stir fry pan and let the cooking cook itself so you save time. Cook enough for leftovers and container them up for lunch or dinner later in the week.

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3. Distractions. Get rid of them! How often do you check your email on your phone? Facebook? Other apps? Do you get distracted by television shows while you start a project? Do you start one task and then move on to the next before completing your first? Figure out where and what your distractions are and tell yourself you are going to go for a (set a specific time) without that particular distraction and get stuff done! For example, chose to check email at specific times, turn off your vibration or your ringer that alerts you every time an email comes in, instead decided to spend 30 minutes on email every two hours or something along those lines. Is TV your go to? Instead of watching your TiVo’d shows in fast forward, get things done on the commercials or allow yourself to watch your shows once you have gotten one of your “priority” tasks complete for the day. Use it as a reward instead of a go-to mindless distraction.

4. Get up earlier. Yes, just do it. Try for 10 minutes one week, 15 minutes the next, 20 minutes the week after. Get started with the day and enjoy the day that much longer. You can use that time to prioritize your day, meditate, do some stretches and set your intentions for the day. Use it as you-time to get focused and positive to be awesome all day long. Think about all the things you could do with an extra 20 minutes in your day? Maybe you are having guests over after work and it’s going to be tight – set the table before you go to work, make sure the dishes are unloaded and tidy up the guest bathroom. Perhaps you will have to stay longer at work and have an evening commitment after work – make yourself a snack for the in between time to keep your energy up!

5. Creativity – write it down. When do you have your best ideas? Right before bed? In the shower? On your lunch break? Wherever you feel like your most creative time happens, keep a notepad and pen nearby. Weather it’s a new goal that pops in your head, a dream vacation idea, something you want to research, write it down so you don’t forget but don’t let it distract you from what you are currently doing. Capture those creative thoughts and keep them alive by coming back to your notes at a specific time of the week, preferably one you have “time blocked” into your week. 🙂

Let me know what you chose and how it works out for you! What other things do you do that helps you save time? Share your ideas and suggestions with other readers!

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