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 how we manage our time. This would allow us to be productive when we are busy and give us time to take a moment to 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 of 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?”
Use the Pomodoro technique to manage your time. Work with the time you have, rather than against it. Break your workday/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. 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
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 to work smart and in less time. No time to faff!
to help you manage your time (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 them 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.
P.S. When you’re ready here are a few ways I can help…
- Download my free meal planner and save yourself hours and reduce your mental load.
- Subscribe and listen to my Healthy & Thriving Career Mums podcast all about health, habits and mindset for busy mums.
- Join our Healthy Thriving Career Mums community. The No.1 free group for career mums who want to build healthier habits and thrive.
- Get ‘The Busy Mums Guide To Healthy Habits’ – my e-book to help you build healthier & sustainable habits to thrive in 90 days.
- Do you need more support & accountability with your habits? I can help you with my 1-2-1 coaching.