It's no secret that there are only 24- hours in a day. I used to think there was never enough time in the day to 'get it all done' or do #allthethings. But I've shifted my mindset and believe that 24-hours in a day is plenty, if you're using them wisely.
I am a fan of hustling (hence the title of my blog) however, I don't think you should glorify being busy just for the sake of feeling like you're being productive - something I am still working on! I'm sure you've heard the phrase hustle smarter, not harder - to me, it’s all about efficiency and using your time wisely towards things that truly matter to you.
This week’s post will walk you through a series of exercises for setting your priorities and ultimately creating a plan for spending your time doing things that use your time smarter without necessarily working harder. My goal is to help you see that you can spend your time doing things you love that support your goals and still have free time to have fun.
Click here for a free printable workbook guide for completing all of the exercises outlined in this post!
1 | SET YOUR PRIORITIES
First things first, you gotta get your priorities straight. This can be hard to do sometimes, but it is ultimately what will set you free to use your time on things that are important to you. You’ll start by making a list of non-negotiables in your daily and your weekly schedule. This will be a little different for everyone depending on what things are an absolute must in your life. Think of this list as your ‘needs’ - these are things that have to happen to maintain your physical and mental health. For example: eating, sleeping, personal hygiene, exercise, church, etc.
Next, make a list of things that are important to you on a daily or weekly basis, but that may not directly impact your physical and mental health (in a life or death sorta way). This list is your ‘wants’ - think of these things as things that would be nice if they happened, but your mental and physical health won’t be compromised if they don’t happen. For example: getting your nails done, lunch with friends, date night, etc.
2 | TRACK YOUR TIME
In order to figure out how to best use your time, you need to know how you're currently spending your time. Take at least three days (if not a full week) to track exactly how you're spending your time. Grab a piece of paper or use my free printable workbook to track your hours. Take notes on how you're spending your hours (and even your minutes!) and be as detailed as possible.
With this exercise, it’s important to really pay attention to the actual amount of time you’re spending on something, not your perceived amount of time. For example: scrolling Instagram or other social media: I always think I’m only spending 5 minutes, when in reality I, like most people, probably spend an average of 15 minutes on Instagram and even more on other social channels - source). Do your best to be actual and honest with your numbers here!
3 | ANALYZE
It's important to figure out what's important to you and what you want to spend your time doing. A good way to do this is to think about your goals. Take a few minutes to list out a few goals you’re working towards right now. It can be as simple or as grand as you want, just jot down what comes to mind in this moment. After you write down a few, see if what you're spending your time doing aligns with those goals.
For example, if you have a goal of losing weight but you aren't spending any time at the gym or in the kitchen, then you need to eliminate something that is less of a priority to you than meeting your weight loss goal.
4 | MAKE EDITS
Now that you know exactly where your time is being spent and where you want to be spending your time, you can see where you can start making changes. The goal here isn't to necessarily ADD to your day in order to fill the time. The idea is to align where and how you’re spending your time with your goals and what you want to be doing.
To do this, first look and see what you can take away or where you can be more efficient in order to free up time in your daily or weekly schedule. Flip to page 4 in your workbook and create a list of things you want to spend less time doing. These are things that may not be serving you anymore or things that don’t support your goals. Or simply things that you can live without (like watching a 3-hour Kardashians marathon).
Next, create a list of things you want to spend more time doing. Flip back to your goals page and pull in things that will support your goals. You may also pull in some things from the list of ‘wants’ you created during the first exercise.
In the last column, create a list of constants. These are your non-negotiables that you listed during the first exercise - your ‘needs’. These things have to happen each day or each week no matter what.
5 | CREATE A PLAN
Now that you have figured out your ‘needs’ and your ‘wants’, exactly how you’re spending your time, your goals, and things you can eliminate from your schedule, it’s time to bring it all together into a plan.
I believe there's a time and place to be spontaneous, however, in your day-to-day life, I am all about having a plan. I use a daily planner (that I write in because writing helps me remember), but you can use iCal, google calendar, or a page from your workbook to keep track of your time.
All of my friends can tell you that I'm very structured when it comes to my schedule, especially during the week. But working three jobs, training to be competitive in CrossFit and finding time to spend with my family and friends are all important to me so I figure out a way to create the time for it!
Flip to the last page of your workbook and start with a fresh week. Take a look at your list of constants and block them into each day of your week. You should have a good idea of how long things will take you since you by referencing your inventory of how you spend your time.
Next, add in things from your list that you want to spend more time doing. Again, the idea here isn’t to necessarily jam-pack your days, but create time for the things that are important to you and say no to the rest.
It sounds silly to write things in your schedule like ‘grocery shopping’ or ‘work’ because they are monotonous, however, adding them to your schedule will hopefully show you that you have more time than you think you do. For me, anything that I want to get done or make time for, I write on my schedule. I’ve also found that doing this helps me commit to something more. For example, I’ve really been trying to work meditation into my weekly routine but haven’t been successful for 2 reasons: one, I haven’t made it a priority and two, I haven’t made it part of my morning or evening schedule so it never happens.
Try a week with your schedule and see how it goes. If you like it and you find it helps you spend your time more wisely, pick a time each week to lay out your schedule for the upcoming week and do it to it!
MAKING THE TIME
At the end of the day, if something is important to you enough, you will make the time for it. You'll cut out a happy hour or two per week to hit the gym because you are serious about losing weight. You'll keep eating out to a maximum of three meals per week because you are serious about paying off your credit card. Priorities can be scary because it means eliminating one thing for another. But if you're serious about reaching your goals and optimizing your time in order to be your best self, then you have to fight through the fear and step up to the plate, my friend. I know you can do it.
What are you eliminating from your life? What are you making time for? And, ultimately, what goals are you going to start prioritizing in your life? Let me know in the comments below!