Many of us struggle to find enough time in a day.
It’s not because there isn’t enough time...We simply don’t always know what to do with the time we have.
No fear. From a person who’s known for procrastination and wasting time, here are some tips that have helped me stay on top of my days and live a more purpose-driven life.
Top 10 Time-Management Tips:
1. SLEEP. That’s right. The first thing you need to do is spend more of your time sleeping. A good night’s sleep keeps up sharp, refreshes our emotional state, revitalizes our bodies, and improves memory. If we want to maximize productivity, we must put sleeping at the top of our To-Do List. Here are a few tips to help you get a good night sleep:
Set your bedtime. Give yourself 30 minutes before this time to stop tasks and begin winding down.
Have a bedtime routine. Your body needs time to wind down. An hour before I want to sleep, I begin my nightly routine:
Drink herbal tea
Listen to an audiobook or read with my husband Joe
Debrief the day with Joe
Turn out the lights. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 9 out of 10 people use their phones before bed. These little devices keep our minds turning and compromise our slumber. If you want a good night sleep, it’s best to turn off your phone 1 hour before bedtime.
2. EXERCISE. Our bodies were made to move. People often think “I don’t have the time or energy to work out.” Contrary to this belief, exercise improves cardiovascular and respiratory health, providing an energy boost. Exercise enhances work performance and creativity, acts as an antidepressant, reduces stress….And so much more! It also improves our quality of sleep and potentially adds several years to our lives…what a simple way to make more time!! Here are some tips to stay physically active throughout your days:
- Do intense 30 minute workouts 4-5 times per week. We can spare 2 hours of intentional exercise per week if we spend 2+ hours on our phones per day! If you need quality workouts that can be done from the comfort of your home, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “At Home Workouts.” I’m positive I have the perfect workout for you!! If you’d like more information about at home workouts, look here.
- Get on your feet. We must be intentional about moving, especially if we work an 8-5 desk job. Get up and walk around every hour. Use a stand-up desk. Plan evening walks with your family after dinner instead of watching TV. You will have some great conversations when you are not distracted by cartoons and the LED glow.
- Be Accountable. Whether it be a friend, coach, trainer, or fitness app, find something or someone to hold you to an active life. I am constantly running accountability groups filled with women like you. Join one! Email me with the subject “Wellness Groups” or click here for more info!
3. EAT RIGHT. Food is our fuel. You are 66% more productive when you eat clean. A clean diet clears skin, reduces stress, increases your happy hormone level, and allows for a better night sleep. (These tips are just creating a viciously-awesome cycle!)
- Eat Whole Foods. Aim to eat 2-3 servings of fruit, 5 servings of veggies, 3 servings of carbs, 3-4 healthy proteins, and 6 tbsps. of healthy fats each day. I like to use The Daniel Plan Cookbook for delicious recipes that include whole foods. You could also try Whole 30, Thrive Diet (Vegan), or The Forks Over Knives Cookbook
- Eat foods that improve focus. Oatmeal, berries, nuts, and seeds are all focus foods and make a great breakfast combo. Other focus foods include salmon, leafy greens, avocado, and green tea!
- Eat energizing foods. Apples, peppers, sweet potatoes, spinach, beans, and dark chocolate are all good options.
- Use Food Services. See if your area offers CSA services that deliver fresh, local produce to your door! You can also try Hello Fresh, which delivers whole foods and healthy recipes straight to your doorstep each week! Use the promo code P9NQUR at checkout and receive $40 off your first order!! That is 3 Dinners at your doorstep for $29! It’s an amazing time-saver and the meals are delicious!!
- People often think eating healthy is too expensive. However, processed food is a hidden money pit. These man-made foods leave you unsatisfied, full of sugar, and wanting more, which equates to buying more. Here are some Killer Cost Savings Tips for Buying healthy on a Budget:
- Buy in bulk. This includes meat! Buying the whole chicken and cutting it yourself is normally ½ the price per pound. Find a Local Famer and split the cost of some grass fed beef with friends. Make sure your meat is hormone and antibiotic free, and your farmer is animal-friendly.
- Purchase local and in-season.
- Utilize your freezer. Freeze extra on sale items. Buy your local berries in the summer and freeze them for delicious winter smoothies. Freeze any leftovers for a future lunch or dinner option.
- When buying organic, use the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists. Foods with peels (bananas, avocados, oranges, etc.) protect the fruit from harmful chemicals, so purchasing organic is unnecessary.
- Watch your portions. Set aside planned leftovers and use them later. This will also save you time!!
- Buy good food that’s cheap!! Foods like beans, rice, sweet potatoes and bananas are rich in vitamins and all under $1 per serving. You can see a longer list of foods under $1/serving here.
- Shakeology is a $4 meal, with all the nutrients you need! It's an abundant source of natural protein and is infused with 70+ superfoods! I’ve actually hit my grocery budget now that we have Shakeology in our daily diet.
4. HAVE A PURPOSE FILLED PLAN. Now that we know taking care of our bodies gives us more vigor and time, we now need to focus on what to do with all this extra time and energy. To start, we must have a plan. Get some type of planner (for your days, meals, workouts, etc.) and plan your week. If you are looking for a digital planner, try Way of Life (iOS), Productive (iOS) or Nozebe.com. I sit down Sundays and write out the week ahead of me!
- Fill in priority items FIRST! Kids gotta eat. You have to sleep. We must make time for the important items first, which for me are family and personal/spiritual development. Then, fill in your other weekly tasks. Put EVERYTHING on a list until it becomes a habit. Do your best to transition regular to-dos to daily behaviors.
- Example: If you always have "do the dishes" on your to-do list, make it a habit to clean up right after lunch. Your to-do list will become shorter as life becomes habitual.
- Prepare a power hour. Before bed, or when you first wake up, make sure your list/planner has the items you need to accomplish that day. Write them down and get them done first thing!
5. ATTACK YOUR TASKS. Writing the list can be easy, and even kind of fun! But following through can be where it gets challenging. Here are some tips for attacking tasks, and following through with your plans:
- Develop Routines. Put similar tasks at similar times of day, so tasks are more predictable and turn to routines. Work out every day around 9, clean around 1, etc.
- Make tasks specific. I used to just write "work" and would just get on my company page and read stuff, without knowing what I actually needed to do! But if I write "Work on website homepage" or "email _________" I sit down with a specific purpose and do it!
- Break long tasks into micro-tasks that you can complete 20 minutes or less. You will feel more accomplished and motivated to keep moving!
- Finish each task. Do not move onto a second task if your first is incomplete. Better to finish one task then have 10 half-done things at the end of the day.
6. MULTITASK! Though our hands are busy, we still have opportunities for our eyes and ears to be productive. While you clean, cook, workout, etc., listen to a podcast (I love Entreleadership or Michael Hyatt!), talk to a friend or family member, or jam to some music! It feels good to cross two things off our To-Do list, and these fun things can make mundane tasks more enjoyable!
7. SAY NO. Learning to say “No” may be the most important personal, professional, and leadership tool a person can have. Saying “No” keeps us from overcommitting, protects family life, preserves energy for prioritized work, and powers us to resist temptation. Are there things you are doing that you don't HAVE or WANT to do? Say no!
8. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN! The average American spends 2+ hours on our phones per day!! Have scheduled time for getting on social media, then move on to the next task. Don't check out your "likes" until the next time you post. It's better to get one "like" from your man that dinner is ready and the house is clean than 100 likes on a pic you posted! Prioritize.
9. HAVE A MORNING AND EVENING ROUTINE. Again, it will give you predictability, and make you more productive! As stated earlier, an evening routine will help wind you down so you can get good sleep and wake up ready for a new day!!
10. LEAVE ROOM FOR FLEX TIME. Things will take longer than we think. Sometimes your kid poops 10 more times than you planned. You may work later or longer than expected. We just have to roll with it! Do not be a slave to your to-do list. Flexibility will help us not feel stressed and behind, and will leave room for those precious, unpredictable moments with our family and friends. Let's be honest, those are the real moments we are living for, so allow time for those.
I hope you found these Time Management Tips helpful! While implementing these tasks, use the Hashtag #MommysTimeTips and tag @MommysMarathon for a chance to be featured on the website and social media pages! Have a productive day!
Michael, Hyatt. Shave 10 Hours Off Your Workweek. 1st ed. Brandon Triola Designs, 2015. Print.
Warren, Richard, Daniel G. Amen, and Mark Hyman. The Daniel Plan Cookbook: Healthy Eating for Life. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.