How to Use Your Schedule to Find More Time for Yourself

Use your schedule to find more time for yourselfTime is very tricky.  Time can slide by us.  Time can get away from us.  We can throw time away.  We can crave more time.  We can even arrange our schedule so to make more time for ourselves.

Fascinating.  (Let’s do that last one.)

I want to help you feel like you have control over your time and that you have enough time to do what you want and need to do.  Fortunately, the process for getting sanity in your schedule is neither complex nor out of your reach.  You can do this.  It does take a bit of planning though.

How to Use Your Schedule to Find More Time for Yourself

Step 1. Download and use the Emergent Task Planner

The Emergent Task Planner

The Emergent Task Planner (a free download)

The Emergent Task Planner is a single sheet free download from David Seah.  Grab your Emergent Task Planner here.  Use it to organize your activities over a single day, plan your priority items, track your time usage, and keep tabs on your entire To Do list.

You will feel more connected to your plans if you write them down and if you see them written down. You will feel more inclined to get something done when you see the range of things you have to get done laid out in front of you in an organized way.

Gone are the days where you just hope that your tasks get done before the end of the day. You’ve got a plan now.

Step 2.  Commit to Accurate Scheduling

Here’s where the planning starts to pay off.

Get in the habit of assigning a time for each of your to do list items to be done.  Build upon that habit by making sure you do things as you have planned.  Each task has its own time slot.  You will know what to focus on just by looking at your schedule.  No need for confusion or indecision anymore.

This step will be difficult to follow through on at first if you have been Procrastinating for a while.  Just stick with the idea and practice of accurate scheduling and take things day-by-day.  You will soon be able to work in synch with time instead of feeling like you are always falling behind.

Step 3. Avoid overwhelm

Procrastinators are accustomed to feeling overwhelmed.  Overwhelm can take so many different forms including:

  • not having enough time
  • feeling incredibly anxious
  • feeling pressured by expectations from others
  • not being organized
  • being exhausted from lack of sleep
  • not knowing what to do next

Keeping your activities organized with the Emergent Task Planner will help you avoid overwhelm.  Accurate scheduling will also help you to to feel calm. You can take the planning one step further by making sure you make room in your schedule for proper rest and breaks, good meals, socializing, exercise, and sleep.  When you arrange your schedule mindfully, it will support your progress and sense of well-being throughout the day.

Make sure you remember to plan sanity into your schedule.  We cannot function like robots because we are not robots.  We need to take care of ourselves first, before we can do good work for ourselves and others.

Step 4.  Eliminate anything unnecessary

In order to have sanity in our schedule, we need to have a To Do List and a Not To Do List. We need to make decisions about what to eliminate and to make them wisely.

These decisions can feel tough, because many of us like to cram every.little.thing.under.the.sun into our schedule.  It can feel fun to try everything, but if we are being real, we need to come to terms with the truest of truths — we cannot do it all.

Consider what you might do without, so you can have more sanity for yourself:

  • binge watching television shows or movies
  • monitoring the news constantly
  • reading the entire Internet every time you pick up your phone
  • worrying and second-guessing
  • saying “yes” to everything

I know, it’s a tough list to think about.  It might be tougher to take this important step of cutting something out of your schedule.  Please know that your decision to manage your time more carefully will actually bring you more enjoyment and freedom in your life — not less.

When you make good decisions about how you use your time, you will end up feeling like you have more time to use.  You’ll need to trust me at first on this one, but that’s okay because these strategies really work.

Love your schedule, love yourself

You might feel some resistance to the idea of using your schedule to combat Procrastination.  After all, there are so many factors that make it seem like Procrastination is here to stay.  But, as we all know, Procrastination is the thief of time and a pain in the a**, and time is truly precious.  So let’s start moving so we can kick Procrastination out the door.

Let’s remember to be kind to ourselves as we try new techniques and ideas.  Let’s not get overly frustrated when things don’t feel like they are going perfectly from the start.  It is important to stay the course.  Love your schedule in order to love yourself.  The rewards of finding productivity and flow after leaving Procrastination behind are tremendous.  Don’t miss them.

Related reading:  

7 Tips to Help You Become a Master Scheduler

 

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7 Techniques to Save YouTime and to Keep You Organized

Use these simple techniques to save yourself time and hassle throughout the day.How do we deal with the seeming onslaught of to-do’s?  How do we prevent ourselves from falling into the same old time-wasting traps?

Sometimes it can feel like we might never get caught up, and indeed, our lives may be so full that we may never get caught up.  Strategizing how we are going to manage tasks and time demands can help us to remain calm and composed throughout the day.  Put in a few minutes to prep in order to save yourself many more minutes later.

Here is a sampling of some techniques I’ve found useful in giving me a leg up during busy times:

1.  Use the proper system for your tasks.  Any task that you do routinely will likely have a timesaving system you could think of and implement.  For instance you could:

  • get a pill case to store medications, vitamins, and supplements you need to take in order to save yourself the stress of forgetting and to keep yourself in your best physical condition
  • have a recycle bin on hand when you are sorting your mail to keep you from having to clean your mail piles down the road and to keep your surfaces clear of clutter
  • have a consistent system for jotting down notes, reminders, and appointments to increase your efficiency and to decrease your error rate
  • plan and pack healthy lunch snacks at the beginning of the week to make it easier for you to get out the door in the morning, to save money, and to feel well

2.  Develop your own best system for handling e-mail tasks.  We each have our own individual relationship with having to manage e-mail.  Take a few minutes to decide what your management method could look like.  Here are some suggestions:

  • reply immediately to e-mails whenever possible in order to get them out of your way
  • if there is a task associated with the e-mail, promptly determine a time and date for the task and enter it into your schedule or in a task management app such as Trello
  • reduce the time you spend crafting your reply.  Keep your message on-point, simple, and direct.  By doing so, you will save the person you’re communicating with some time too.

3.  Say “No” to activities that don’t fit into your schedule or that don’t align with your plans.  When we act with the Fear Of Missing Out and impulsively jump in and out of activities other people think we should do, we can end up overwhelmed and unmotivated.  Clear your mind by clearing the junk out of your schedule.

4.  Determine what your priority and mantra for the day will be.  Knowing what your single priority for the day is will help you to differentiate between good and bad decisions throughout the day.  Developing a mantra or a self-encouraging statement to support that priority item can further enhance your chances of success.

To illustrate, a priority I have for tomorrow is to focus on some unfinished business for my psychology practice.  Having that as my priority will allow me to steer clear of other tasks I could be doing, like checking in with social media.  My mantra for keeping my eyes on my business goals might be “I’ll feel relief when these business tasks are completed.”

What will your priority and mantra look like?

5.  Plan for the future in small ways.  Use micro-movements to protect yourself from unneeded hassles.  Some examples are:

  • making sure to keep your gas tank at least a quarter full
  • keeping extras of the tools and home goods you use and love the most so you don’t have to waste time running out when you run out
  • communicating ahead of time about meet-ups, pickups, reservations, and events

6.  Set policies and expectations for interactions in your home.  There’s no reason to bicker incessantly at home, a place that should support your sense of calm.  Take a few minutes to lay down some policies for things like:

  • bathroom etiquette
  • chore and cleaning routines
  • timely, open, and honest communication and respect

7.  Plan ahead.  This is not an easy technique for Procrastinators, who tend to be looking at the past rather than towards the future.  That is why this technique is so powerful. When we look to the future, we can sense possibility and we can have a role in creating it.  Some things you can plan are:

  • an exit from a not-good situation
  • an exercise milestone, e.g. 6 days of exercise per month
  • a meet-up date with a friend you haven’t seen in two years
  • a summer getaway

Bonus Material:

I’ve put together a planning sheet to save you the time of having to make one up for yourself.  The ALWAYS PREPARED planning sheet is a compilation of many of the tips I’ve listed above.  It’s meant to help you save time and get organized each day, but the intention is also to remind you to do some things that will help make the tomorrow better too.

Click here to receive the ALWAYS PREPARED planning sheet to help you get on your way today!

There are more techniques than there is time in the day.  Choose the ones that look good to you and try them out.  Develop ones of your own that suit you and bring you the most freedom and flexibility.

The more time you rescue from waste, distraction, and overwhelm, the more time you will have to savor, thrive, and enjoy the way you want to.

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Step of the Day: Get Yourself Organized via the Trello App

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There are so many times in life where simplicity seems to be the answer to our most complex problems.

One tool I use to keep me on top of my to-do list is the Trello app. I strongly and heartily suggest you download the Trello app immediately. You can use the Trello app on any and all of your devices, and any information you enter into the Trello app will be synched across your devices.

I first learned of the Trello app from the Zen Habits blog. I figured if the blogging king of simplicity, Leo Babauta, uses the app, it should be good for me too. And it is.  I have a view of everything on my plate on one screen.  I also have the capacity to slice and dice my to-dos until they are in shreds.

The app is designed with simplicity in mind. Your screen view will be of white vertical lists arranged from left to right. You get to decide how many lists you want to keep. You get to decide how to categorize them. You get to decide which order to you keep (or don’t keep) them in. Within each list, you will keep individual “cards,” each indicating a single task (or event or thing to remember or whatever). You get to decide how to prioritize and to organize each card.

Whenever I try to describe how well-designed the Trello app is, I get a little frustrated. My descriptions inevitably end up being more complicated than the actual process you will go through when you get your hands on the actual app and play with it. And it is like play. And who wouldn’t want to inject a little more play into their work?

If you’d like to get a more detailed look at how the Trello app looks and works, please read my recent Lifehack article. For some great ideas on how to use the Trello app to its potential, please read this piece too.

I hope you get as excited about the Trello app as I have been. Do you have any suggestions for other apps I should try? Do you have simple solutions for your own work that you’d like to share?

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