My Top 3 Scheduling Hacks to Maximize Your Time
If there is ONE thing my clients (and myself, and all my friends…) want, it’s more time. When every single day feels rushed and there are still things you can’t seem to fit in, it’s easy to feel a bit defeated when you head to bed.
Here are 3 key hacks that will help you maximize the time you have so you can get more done but feel less overwhelmed in the process:
Schedule time in your week for all the little things that pop up seemingly out of nowhere. You’re low on gas, there’re just two things you forgot from the grocery, the credit card needs to be activated and you’re going to have to sit on hold, you need to pick up a card for your Mother-in-Law’s birthday, etc.
As a human who thinks of something and decides it’s a fire that needs to be put out that instant, it can feel overwhelming and highly scattered to have all these little tasks in the background. When you have Maintenance Mode on your calendar – let’s say this week it’s Thursday 9-noon – you know there is blocked time for it to get done.
So, when you remember that you need to shop for that card and pick up applesauce and eggs, it doesn’t mess up your schedule (and therefore, your productivity) that day. You know it will get done in 2 days, along with any other stray errands that pop up.
You know what used to frustrate the hell out of me? Finishing a meeting at 11:15 and needing to leave to get my son at 11:35. It’s not enough time to do much, but it’s a precious 20 minutes I want to do something with. I found myself thinking of what I should do with that time, none of it seeming important enough or being too big a task, so I end up doing nothing but check email and scroll.
I know this happens to you, and I know how annoying it is. I want you to open your planner (or Trello board, or notebook, or notes app…) and make a list of tiny tasks that take 5-15 minutes. If you want to get fancy, you can categorize them into, Home, Me-Time, Work, or whatever makes sense for your life.
Here’s my example:
Respond to DMs
Engage in Facebook group
Post in stories
Respond to easy emails
Go through unread emails and unsubscribe as needed
Text a friend I’ve been meaning to text
Sit outside and drink water (trust me on this!)
Play music and move my body
Paint nails (my friend Steph got me hooked on GelMoments that takes 2 minutes to paint and dry!)
Wipe down counters
Start to prep dinner
Confirm or make appointments
Throw out old food from fridge and pantry
Laundry (start, switch, start folding, or put away)
It helps to have these written down until they’re basically engrained. You’ll notice when you have that awkward time, you mentally go through the list and quickly decide what sounds most urgent or appealing. This is also a great list for when you have young kids and they are occupied but you know it won’t last long.
Know Your Daily Essentials (and cap at 3)
There are going to be days, maybe many days, that knocking stuff off your list simply isn’t in the cards. There’s traffic, your kid is homesick, you’re sick, or a zillion other things that throw our days out of whack. Instead of looking at what you wanted to get done and feeling guilty or just blah about yourself, focus on the top 3 things that have to get done that day to drive you forward.
This is going to differ from person to person and in different phases of life. Right now, my essentials usually fall into these categories: doing something for me, for my business, and for my family. This can vary, or it may be specific actions that help you feel grounded and purposeful.
Today, writing content (business), doing yoga (personal), and taking my son to the carnival (family) meets my daily essentials. If the dishes don’t get done, if I don’t read at all, or I don’t get to the emails I was going to respond to, I’m still golden.
This is a great way to highlight any goals you are working towards. Make an action of that goal a daily essential to ensure it doesn’t fall in the background.
Also, beware of the all-or-nothing mindset. Maybe you planned to do an hour of yoga, but all that is feasible is 30 minutes. You still did your daily essentials, even if it didn’t look like you thought it would.
P.S. If you’re convinced that time is your enemy, I got you. I work with women who tend to take on too much and help them set and reach purpose-powered goals so they can go from scattered and overwhelmed to streamlined and present.