We’re all guilty of wasting time, either by procrastination or by accident. I’m on a quest to be more intentional with my life, and that includes my time management. We only have so many days and so many hours in our life, and it’s important to live them to the fullest.
Time. Why does it seem to go by so fast? Somehow we quickly go from sipping our morning coffee to panicking because it’s already 5 PM, and we haven’t accomplished ANYTHING.
So what needs to change?
You’ll find plenty of blog posts bursting with time management tips. They come with a lot of good ideas. But this post is going to be a bit different. While most of these tips will be for managing your time better, some of them will be focusing on changing your mindset.
I think this is ridiculously important. You can automate everything, hustle harder, move faster—but all of those things are focused on efficiency. While I’m all for efficient processes, I thinking having an intentional mindset + lifestyle will be what gets you farthest.
Basically, this post isn’t here to help you study better tonight or get your work done faster tomorrow. I’m aiming to go bigger than that. This post is meant to change the way you view your time management so the quality of your life will be higher.
If you’re intentional with how you spend your time, you’re going to enjoy life more.
Set Your Priorities
Let’s get straight to the point here. You can spend your time however you want—at your day job, sitting by the window at your favorite coffee shop, lounging on your couch scrolling through Instagram, whatever.
None of those things are good, none of them are bad. It all depends on your intentions. Why are you doing the things you’re doing?
To really dig deep into your intentions, I’d recommend taking some time to define your core values + goals. It’ll help you to understand your priorities a lot better.
Because if you want to be intentional with your time, you’re going to have to prioritize the things that matter the most to you. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an overwhelming list of tasks + activities you want to accomplish.
So once you have your priorities in order, how do you commit yourself to them?
Evaluate Your Time-Wasters
Social media, I’m looking at you.
Scrolling on Instagram is a huge time sink for me. Just to see how much time I was spending on there, I went to “Activity” in Instagram’s menu and found that I spend 57 minutes a day on just that one app.
Now, part of that is because I use social media to promote my blog + interact with other bloggers. But still—that’s an hour a day on one social media site!
If you’re a fan of Dave Ramsey, then you’re familiar with evaluating how you waste money by keeping track of your receipts. Do something similar with your time. Obviously, you don’t have literal receipts you can keep track of, but try logging your time in a notebook or in a note app on your phone.
What do you spend your time doing, and how does it line up with your priorities?
The next points are going to focus on the action of being intentional with your time. You’ve learned how to decide your intentions, and you’ve figured out when you’re wasting time. So now we’re going to delve into creating a routine + mindset so you can consistently be intentional with your time.
Plan out Your Time
Whether you use a planner or a scheduler or whatever, give yourself some structure. I personally don’t give myself time slots to do things like blogging, cleaning, writing, etc. I just create a to-do list (one for work and one for personal stuff) and chip away at it throughout the day.
I find that when I give myself some sort of idea of how my week/day should look, I waste less time. This leaves me feeling so much more accomplished!
Banish The Distractions
For me, this looks like turning off my music when I’m working (unless it’s creative work), only keeping one tab open in Chrome, and forcing myself to focus on the task at hand.
I’m actually doing that as I write this post. I have no other programs open, and the only tab I have open is the one I need to write this post. Ugh, and you have no idea how badly I want to get on Pinterest!
Holding myself accountable to finishing a project is the best productivity hack I know. If I have a will to finish something, I’ll get it done no matter what.
Set a Timer
Setting a timer is great for two reasons, time management-wise.
You can use it to track how much time you spend on something. My mother-in-law uses this strategy to see where her time is going in her editing business.
You can use it as an incentive for yourself. Instead of doing unloved tasks until they’re finished, give yourself 15-30 minutes to complete them. I actually use this as a hack to be more creative.
Understand That Productivity is Different for Everyone
This is something I just recently learned. Productivity is NOT forcing yourself to get work done. Efficient productivity is basing your tasks off of your needs.
Let me explain a bit more.
If you’re sitting at your desk and you can’t seem to get out of a slump, you’re going to be better off taking a break than forcing through your work. Now, this only works if you do something good with that break.
Feeling lethargic? Get your blood flowing. Do some squats and drink some water.
Feel like your desk is a prison? Move closer to a window (or go to a coffee shop if you can) for the day.
Can’t stop thinking about the next thing on your to-do list? Then switch over if you can. Why not?
This all depends on how you feel. And once you figure out what your problem is, you have to do something about it. After all, that’s the point of being intentional, isn’t it?
How are you intentional with your time?
Let me know in the comments. And if you need help figuring out how to line up your core values + priorities, check out my free ebook “Creating an Intentional Life.”