Do you constantly feel rushed? Are you perpetually stressed? It’s hard to admit, but often our own time-wasting habits and daily schedules create unnecessary burdens on our precious time.
Little things like staring at your closet full of nothing-to-wear each morning when you need to leave in ten minutes, or following your kids around repeatedly telling them to do what they already know they need to do each day – brushing their teeth or getting dressed – are often thieves of our time and effort. Never mind how tense having money problems can make us feel.
Remember when you were a Girl Guide? They were trying to teach you something! Pick out clothes for the next day before you go to bed. Make your kids do the same. Give them a checklist of daily to-do items so you don’t have to nag. Make lunches the night before as a family, with everyone pitching in (yes, even the little ones.) In fact, make all your meals ahead of time on a free day. There are loads of recipes for make-ahead breakfasts and freezer dinners. A little organization saves a long amount of time.
Stick to a Schedule
No matter what you do for a living or on your personal time, you can keep a diary for one week writing down everything you do every half hour. When the week is done, go through your list and segment which activities you do most often, then compare those activities with what you need to do most. Chances are, you’re spending time somewhere doing things that aren’t a priority. Social media is a big time-killer for many. If necessary, schedule time for social media into your day and then avoid it while you do other tasks. Break large projects into smaller jobs and schedule them into your itinerary. Answer texts, messages and emails for a pre-set amount of time on a predetermined frequency, such as twenty minutes every three hours.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Make sure you get enough quality sleep and eat a balanced diet. If your body is tired or full of sugar and fatty foods, it won’t work at optimum capacity and will often make you feel tired and more stressed. Enjoy treats, but consider them as a bonus, not a meal plan. Exercise with intention, like doing interval training, which can be done in shorter time periods than regular workouts. Ensure you spend some of your scheduled time doing things you enjoy both alone and in social settings, as it brings joy to your life and can help lower stress and worry while also changing your attitude toward life. Remember what all work and no play does?
Avoid Things – and People – Who Waste Your Time
Every office has a jabber-jaws or gossip — keep your head down or make your phone calls when you see him or her approaching! Turn off social media notifications to avoid the temptation and give phone calls, meeting or other tasks a pre-set time limit and move on when that limit is reached.
Examine Your Spending Habits
Keep a detailed diary for one month of every penny you spend. Financial strain can wear anybody out, so look for places where you’re being frivolous and trim the expenses, or use the data you collect to create a budget and stick to it. I know a woman who was trying to save, so on payday, she’d cover her bills, put some into a savings plan, then divide the remainder into cash in mason jars labelled for things such as coffee, eating out, entertainment, etc. If the jar was empty, she went without.
Often we don’t realize a few minor and simple changes to our routine lives can make huge differences to our well-being and peace of mind. Refuse to accept your life’s status-quo and find even just one thing you can improve upon at a time. You’ll be glad you did.