C-Suite. Business Owner. Entrepreneur. Home-based Business Owner. Most of us today are juggling more than one of those titles. Then you add all the non-work titles: spouse/significant other, parent, care-giver of older parents, community volunteer, etc. Is your time ever your own? Do you barely have a chance to come up for air? Does your spouse/partner/child/parent complain that you aren’t spending enough time with them? When you do spend time with the people you care about, are you truly present? Or are you thinking about work or other pressures?
Here are three tips to gain more time without compromising your effectiveness in your work and career.
- Reduce the time you spend complaining. I read somewhere once that we spend on average 20 minutes a day complaining about time and the weather. You can gain 20 minutes or more of quality time just by changing up this one habit! Take a day, and make a list of the things you notice that cause you to complain. When I did this, I was shocked how extensive my list was! Every time you refrain from complaining, you not only add time to your day, you also move into a more positive mindset. You can also become more aware of how much time you spend complaining when you are with other people. I added 90-120 minutes a day of time in my day when I used this one tip. I was really tough with myself, even eliminating complaining I was doing in my head, along with verbal complaints.
- Increase your flexibility and enlist those closest to you in your flexible scheduling. The greeting card industry doesn’t need to rule your life. Just because a holiday is on the calendar, doesn’t mean you need to celebrate it on that day if your circumstances aren’t allowing it. When our family all moved into entrepreneurial endeavors, we became extremely flexible about how we view the calendar. It is easy to work every single day and night when you are starting out. You can calendar in specific free time. It can be different every week. Today, Thursday was a day for me with no scheduled appointments. I am flowing in creativity, taking longer walks and re-focusing. (I’m still in my work out clothes at 2:43pm as I write this.) Sunday is Mothers’ Day, and my boys know that for me, every day is Mothers’ Day. They honor, love and respect me every day of the year. I don’t need a greeting card to tell me that. My youngest has two big video projects he needs to do that day. My middle son is moving to a new home. My eldest texts me something beautiful every morning, and he will probably be off on a work project. We celebrate each other often, and when we are together, it is magic. There is no “you’re supposed to…” feeling to it. If you can all get on the same page about what is important, and honor what is important for each person, you can begin to craft what works for you.
- Step off the “hurry up and wait” hamster wheel. Have you ever hurried to get somewhere, only to wait? One of my Pressure-Free songs is the Dooby Brothers’ Old Black Water with the line: I ain’t got no worries, ’cause I ain’t in no hurry at all! It is in the small moments that you can practice not hurrying. You will be much less apt to trigger stress hormones if you move with calm purpose. Driving the speed limit, moving purposefully through your house when you are getting ready to go somewhere, and showing patience with others who are getting ready are three places to start. Once you start reducing the release of stress hormones, you will be more fully present in all of your activities, increasing your effectiveness and your relationships.
I hope these tips are helpful! If you are looking for a fast, effective way to improve your time management and would like to truly get a handle on stress and overwhelm, I have some openings for my “Free to Excel” Strategy Call. Click here to access my online calendar.