We all have the same 24 hours in a day, don't we? How often have you heard that and wanted to roll your eyes and walk away?
Time is a resource that’s dolled out evenly to all humans but we are playing with different cards in our hands.
I can’t change the cards in your hand but I can help you identify how you’re wasting time in the game.
Social media, email, notifications and meetings are on the top of everyone’s list. I’ve covered these subjects here, here, and here. I’ll be doing a deep dive into email later this year but if you want some quick wins check out this post.
You can also limit personal stuff to after work hours to minimize these external distractions.
I’m not saying you should be rude, but draw clear boundaries.
I'll give you an example. Every few days I go to a neighborhood gym before work. While bumping into my friends and neighbors is often fun, sometimes a simple hello can turn into a conversation that seems to last forever. I find the best way to stop this is to look for a pause in conversation, say that I have a meeting in 10 minutes, and politely excuse myself from the conversation.
I have a whole post about how to deal with the contractors that come to your door.
Let’s look in the not so obvious places to reclaim our precious time.
The Last Minute Errand
How many of you have made countless trips to the store to pick up something you forgot? Maybe your friend's birthday lunch is tomorrow, but you haven't gotten a gift yet.
Try this: Create an ongoing list of all the things you need for the store (Alexa is my bestie here).
I also keep a bench in my garage for all the returns or outgoing packages. It’s easy to glance over when I’m running out and see what needs to be done. Allocate your time out of the house so you are making the most of it.
When things go wrong in our business or our personal life, we can waste loads of time looking for someone to blame. This is something I’m constantly working on - especially inside my marriage (love you babe).
Try this: Pay attention! Take responsibility for your blaming behavior. When you are able to catch the impulse to blame (before it happens), create a pause, be silent, and take two deep breaths. Then, make a different choice.
As you are probably aware, worrying isn't only fruitless, but also a huge time drain. You are worried about how your kid will be treated in school, you worry that the competition might steal your amazing idea, and you worry that your hubby might get into an accident.
Try this: Eliminate time. Yes, you have to realize that all your worry is based on a future time that has not yet occurred. If you get present in this moment, your worries will vanish.
Even though you promised yourself that you would go to the gym today, you tell yourself, "I don't really need to go today.". You put off writing that ad copy because you worked hard today and need a break. We all have this devil living inside us. We can let things slide, but not the important things. For example, if that ad copy were supposed to be written as part of a launch you have planned to move your business forward. Avoid letting it fall by the wayside.
Try this: Stop making excuses for yourself. Identify when you use these words:
Making Decisions to Appease Others
Have you ever spent way too long crafting a text because you're worried about how it might be received? 🙋🏻♀️ How about pushing out a deadline because you were worried that the team was spread too thin. Women tend to always put others first at the expense of themselves and their time.
Try this: Always be kind but know you can’t control how someone else feels. If you are setting deadlines with realistic timelines, stay firm to your objective
I hope this post has gone deeper than the traditional list of distractions you’ve seen over and over. Your time is precious. Don’t give it away to just anyone.
You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life. Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.