If only I had a £1 for every time someone said they need more time or they don’t have enough time. It’s as if being busy is a badge of honour these days, we feel pressurized to “be busy” when we probably need to rather be smart with our time. This would allow us to be productive when we are busy and give us time to take a moment slow down without guilt.
People think I am so busy and that I pack a lot into my life. I do, because I enjoy variety and being productive, but don’t get me wrong, I chill out and enjoy my life more than a lot of people because I learned that we all have the same 24 hours a day, it’s just how we use it.
If you ‘need more time’ here are 6 tools I use in my life to help me focus and maximize my time
I’m the first to admit that I’m a lastminute.com woman and work best under pressure. Have you heard of Parkinson’s Law? It states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” So if you need to manage your time, start by limiting the time and resources you allocate to tasks, this will allow you to be more efficient and free up time for other pursuits, especially if you’re last-minute like me.
Eg: you have your To-Do list, give each item on your to do list an allocated time 10min/30min/1hr to complete and stick to that time.
Now you’re thinking…”ok fine, I can do that, but what is making me stick to those times?”
Try using the Pomodoro technique. Work with the time you have, rather than against it. Break you work day/allocated time for tasks into 25 minute segments with 5 minute breaks (you can allocate multiple 25min segments to one task)…here’s a free timer to get you started or check out some apps on your phone.
What’s stopping you from getting distracted? Checking your phone, FB pinging, the allure of Instagram…
Screen time, “time-out”
Most phones now have a screen time “time out” feature. iPhone has it available under Screen Time and Android has an app/s. This allows you to block certain apps for preferred amounts of time. For example on my “Jessie Day” (it’s my day with my daughter, no work), I “time-out” my apps, mostly social media and email for a number of hours in the day. This allows me to keep my focus on Jessie . If you’re looking to maintain focus, use this feature, it has worked wonders for me.
Focusmate – virtual colleague
If the Pomodoro Technique is great but what’s going to make you accountable…there’s a solution for that as well. It’s called Focusmate. It’s a virtual colleague. You book time slots and work virtually across from someone. This sounds odd, I know, but since I’ve been using it I’ve gotten so much more done in less time. Especially over lockdown when I was without childcare – I had work smart and in less time. No time to faff!
to help you (I use Microsoft’s To Do list app). I have a personal list with all the frequent things I need to do, plus things like a list for Christmas. When I think of things I pop them on the list and forget about it until I need to get to that task. You can also share a specific list, like groceries, with family or your partner. This saves time writing it on a list then forgetting it at home. Whoever goes, pulls up the list and off they go getting what you need.
Get up early
- I am not a morning person and this is hard for me, but something that has served me well is making sure I am up at least 30mins before my small human so that I am on the front foot (have ingested caffeine) and had time to get my head straight for the day
- Before I go to bed, I write down my 3 key “to achieve” tasks for the next day – which are a mix of personal and business. That way, as soon as I wake up I am ready to roll in my work time or personal time and I tackle the big most horrible task first as the rest happens easily after that.
** I do not receive any referral fees or “kick-backs” from the mentioned features/apps. These are the tools I use to manage my time in order to make time work for me. Find what works for you and use them.
We can definitely make time work in our favour. If you want to learn more about managing your time or need assistance to get started
- What kind of busy mum are you? Take my quiz and find out, then get access to tips, tools and techniques to guide you.
- I created a Healthy Hacks Digital Guide for Busy Career Mums who want to build healthier & sustainable habits so you can thrive. Find out more and buy here.
- Join my free community Healthy Thriving Career Mums, all dealing with their stressors (you are not alone!). It is full of resources and 8 free masterclasses.