I seem to ask myself alarmingly often where my time has gone and why I never seem to have enough of it. And then, when working on my little #qotd (quote of the day) project, I discovered this confronting but motivating pearl of wisdom:
You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé.
So, if there is any playing field in which every single person is level and no-one is favoured, it is in the amount of time we have to achieve our goals. Yes, certain people’s circumstances make it easier for them to delegate (i.e. Queen Bee and her entourage), but even Queen Bee had to find the time to build up to that position in her life and she did that within the same 24 hour constraint that we have.
This got me thinking about another concept I discovered in my endless hunt for motivational quotes – that time is elastic. You can fit as much or as little in it as you set up your life to allow. So I started to think about how I structure my days and where I could add tools or systems to create more time for new activities, ideas (or even just rest). These are a few that have made an amazing difference in both my personal life, but even more so in our businesses:
1. Use your calendar – Failing to plan is planning to fail. If you don’t map out what time you have and allocate it in an organised fashion, you’re not setting yourself up very well to get the most out of it. I find mapping things out on a calendar where I can see more than just the day ahead so useful for avoiding double booking, forgetting appointments, and even just to allow my mind to offload all that “admin” information so that it can make room for more creative thinking.
2. Create end points in your calendar appointments – The other thing that calendars have helped me do is set end times for appointments. You have to set an end time to put in an entry, and that has helped me avoid those long, drawn out “meetings” when you don’t technically have anything else afterwards but really could use that time more effectively. Not that you can’t go over time when the right situation comes up, but at least it’s good to have an idea at the start.
3. Apps – Whatever your business needs, there’s likely an app that can help you streamline and systemise. For us, social media is one of the biggest time drains and so we use apps like Schedugram to schedule our posts so we can do it all in big blocks of time and then not have to think about it again for a little while. These have revolutionised our workflow and stopped the interruption of having to think of a post on the spot throughout the day.
4. Say no – I have always been a big “yes” person which has its many benefits but also which ended up in me filling my calendar with things that weren’t necessarily a priority. It also took time and energy away from things that were a priority, so learning to say no (politely, gently and after much reflection) has been a huge key to opening up more time for the things that are important.
5. Rest – I bang on about it but I really have been surprised that doing less actually allows you to do more. When I was doing a million things at once I thought I was being so efficient but looking back, the quality of my work suffered and I ended up burning out which was the ultimate efficiency because I couldn’t work at ALL during that period. Pacing myself and ensuring for mental and physical breaks means you tend to have more clarity, enthusiasm and creativity. Even the world’s most famous minds have structured their days around naps, walks or mental breaks.
There are many more but these 5 are easy to start and have made a huge difference to us! Hope they help and hope your year is off to a great start!