“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” —Leonard Bernstein
Most everyone I talk to is busy. No matter what you do in your work, it seems to be the norm. We all juggle lots of things and wear many hats.
I’ve come to see that you can look at being busy in different ways. For example, when I’m moving from one thing to the next and am in “my flow,” being busy feels good. I feel focused, and even with daily interruptions and challenges things get done. Mostly, I notice that I’m present with what I’m doing and not thinking about other things. This is when the passion I feel for my work really comes through.
Yet there are days when I feel so busy that nothing seems to get completed. On those days my thoughts are all over the place, and staying in the present moment feels challenging.
In today’s post, I’m sharing 7 things which can create more time in your day. Things that will not only put you in “your flow,” but keep you there.
1. Start Your Day by Doing Something Just for You
You might not know it, but beginning your morning by taking time for yourself can make a huge difference in how your time flows throughout the day. Maybe it’s quiet time with your cup of coffee, taking a walk, or meditating. Whatever it is, make it a gift to yourself and stick to it.
The days that I do my yoga practice are much more productive than the days I don’t. Being busy doesn’t change, but how I meet the day and work with it does.
2. Have a Routine
Having a routine and sticking to it supports getting things done, because when there is order to your day, you’re not just randomly jumping from one thing to the next.
Interruptions may happen, and sometimes it’s impossible to stick to your routine. But, the fact that it’s there can keep you on track. Think of it as the foundation of your day. Your routine creates the building blocks to get things done, and everything else flows around the structure you create.
3. Handle Things One at a Time
It’s amazing how when we are all over the place with our work, the day will fly by without much productivity. We all multi-task, but when we do one thing at a time we are more focused. Studies show that multi-tasking can cost as much as 40 percent of your productive time.
Here’s one trick. Decide the time you’re going to spend on something and literally set your timer. Don’t let yourself get distracted and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplished.
4. Write it Down
There’s something about writing things down as they come up (or recording them on your phone, if that’s your preference), which allows you to keep going with whatever you’re doing. Knowing that whatever needs to be addressed is recorded and there for you keeps your mind uncluttered so it’s easier to stay present.
Another way to let go at the end of the day is to create your list of what needs to be done the following day, knowing it’ll be there when you come back to it in the morning.
5. Set Aside Specific Time for Email and Internet
How many times a day do you get distracted by looking at your email and text messages, or—even worse—going down the internet rabbit hole?
As someone who writes a blog, of course I like to see what others are writing about, but it always takes more time than I think it will. The key is to schedule your internet time as you would anything else. If it’s something you do in the evenings at home, don’t get distracted by it when at work.
The same goes for email and texts. Schedule looking at your messages two or three times a day, rather than checking them every time something comes in. This is a tough one, but well worth creating the habit.
6. Declare it Done
Do you ever complete something and then keep going back to it, tweaking it, thinking about it and then inevitably leaving it for another time?
Sure, occasionally we go back to something because we have an insight about it or know it needs to be looked at again. Really consider how often you touch something before you feel it’s complete. The key is to recognize when something is okay the way it is. At that point, you’ve gotta call it done. It doesn’t mean it couldn’t be different—or even “better”—it just means it’s fine the way it is.
7. The Last Step
That’s it! These 6 simple steps will create more time in your day, but there’s one more step that will really help you take it over the top.
So what’s the very last step?
Be conscious of the time you’ve created rather than letting it get absorbed into the busyness of the day. Stay in your flow, knowing all will get done, and you’ll be surprised how much more you accomplish.
We’d love to hear how you create more time in your day.