While everyone hates the term, those who know me agree that I am a very busy person. It’s so easily overused as an excuse to not commit to things, but for me it’s a result of everything I commit myself to.
24hrs per day x 7 days a week = 168hrs per week to spend how you like. Here’s my basic breakdown:
In Laura Vanderkam’s TED talk on time management (How to gain control of your free time) she explains that being “too busy” for something is not the case, and instead it’s simply “not a priority”. I whole heartedly agree.
Here are my tips for squeezing so much into my day:
Unconventional Time: The golden trick I’ve noticed most productive people have unlocked is the use of unconventional time. It’s utilizing certain hours that you wouldn’t have thought to otherwise…for example. Knowing you have plans that will clash with cooking dinner, so start your day early and meal prep your spaghetti bolognese at 6am (Dinner at 6am! Whhaaaatt). If your really smart about it you’ll cook enough to last you a few meals.
Meal Prep: Every Sunday I spend up to 2hrs meal prepping, and it’s my saving grace. I usually manage to cook most of my lunches and dinners for the work week ahead which keeps me healthy and frees up EVERY AFTERNOON for my other commitments. No excuses for “I’m in a rush so I’ll just buy takeaway”. And if I do go out for dinner then I’ll freeze the prepped meal and have it another time.
Plan Ahead: Hopefully your mum always taught you to pack your bag the night before, but did she teach you to throw a load of washing on as well? In the morning throw it in the dryer and carry on with your day. On busy days I don’t have time to head home between activities so I pack the car and have multiple costume changes throughout the day. (work clothes, casual clothes, scout uniform, bike clothes/active wear etc).
Write a List: I live off the multiple lists in my phone. The standard daily to do list (meal prep, chores, meetings, lunches etc. Especially useful for my weekends), my grocery lists so I’m in and out (I’ve gotten good at quickly planning my meals for the week like this too) and my broader shopping list (clothes and items, it’s so easy to forget what you came for and loose time window shopping)
Sleep: This is most people’s vice. Try to keep regular bed times, but most importantly rise early! I generally know if it’s after 11pm I’ll regret it, and am a strict 6:30am riser, with 7:30am exception on Sundays. I also never nap.
Stay Fit & Eat Well: One of my many many sayings is “food is fuel”, and I never skip a meal. Good nutrition is so important for fueling your body…don’t eat poorly leaving yourself tired and lethargic. Do yourself a favor and eat healthy, it takes no extra time. Staying fit keeps your energy levels high and it feels great. How are you meant to keep up with your friends when you can’t walk up a case of stairs?
Multi-task: I’m lucky enough to commute to work everyday so this is when I write my blog posts, to do lists, reply emails, text people and check out social media (my biggest time waster). I make my coffee in a keepcup every morning so it comes with me on the go and meals on a pate are a novelty – I’m usually eating out of my Tupperware containers as I race between commitments.
Combine Activities: Whenever I see my friends it’s usually for a walk, run, kayak, yoga, bike ride or training session, combining my social and physical needs. My newest one is catching up on Vlogs (Sarah’s Day) while going for a walk, instead of in bed while I’m meant to be sleeping, and I try to make all my phone calls while driving (using hands free).
Discipline: At the end of the day, there are no excuses, you are directly accountable for what you’ve achieved with your time. It’s about learning to say no to distractions (like the YouTube black hole) and planning your day well enough to be productive and stay on track.
Remember – you’ll find time by using your time!