Time is more precious than almost anything else, it’s something most of us wish we had more of. We say that we need more hours in the day to get things done and we long for more time spent doing things we love with the people we love. Recently I’ve been considering how I spend my time. Finding a perfect balance between work and play sometimes feels impossible but I’m determined to stop wishing away my work days and only enjoying a certain percentage of my life.
I often tend to pile my plates a little high, which leaves me busy juggling (and sometimes dropping) them. In order to be as efficient as possible with my time, there are certain habits which I’ve had to pick up. Some only save me minutes, but minutes turn to hours and every one is precious.
1. Plan Ahead
Sometimes its all too easy to focus on the here and now but planning ahead is always a good idea. I’m serious, can you actually think of a situation in which at least some level of forward planning won’t benefit you? I can’t. Planning ahead is often reserved for slightly larger scale life events; weddings, retirement, annual holidays and who’s hosting Christmas. Think smaller. It’s very boring adult stuff, but grocery planning saves me so time, money and effort. I know what I need to buy so I don’t dilly dally around the store or end up having to make return ‘I forgot milk’ trips. I also know what I’ll be eating for the next week which prevents the ‘what should we eat tonight’ argument. My waistline and wallet thank me too as there are minimal last minute trips to the nearest McDonald’s because there isn’t anything in the house.
I forward plan as much of life as I can. Setting daily, weekly and even yearly goals, both professional and personal, can save a hell of a lot of time. One of my biggest regrets is not thinking about my career goals early enough or planning out my education. Since 6th form, I’ve been in a little bit of a limbo and have been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. There have been many arguments between my head and heart about whether I should take a practical route or follow my dreams. Right now I’m doing a bit of both, but I wish I’d have picked up the pace earlier on.
I like to write daily ‘to do’ lists, which are obviously more lax than a schedule but they give my day structure. Without a ‘to do’ list on my days off, I’m liable to find myself halfway through a packet of biscuits and 8 episodes into Friends.
As a content creator, I review my blog and my socials often and make sure to schedule in about a weeks worth of content. I use Buffer to schedule tweets which ensures that I don’t forget to promote my content. I also use UNUM or Planoly to plan my Instagram feed, then on Instagram I create drafts of these photos, add relevant hashtags and sometimes captions. This ensures that I know what I’m posting at least a few days in advance and throughout the week all I have to do is press publish because I’ve already completed the time-consuming part.
3. Stop Procrastinating
I’m fully in support of down days and taking plenty of time away from being traditionally productive to enjoy or to look after yourself.
delay or postpone action; put off doing something.“the temptation will be to procrastinate until the power struggle plays itself out”
On an average day, suffocating everything you need to do with your duvet and binge-watching shows you’ve watched twenty times before is not self-care, it’s lazy. I should know. I recently learned a three minute rule in which you dive right in and spend at least three minutes on a task that you’ve been putting off. Usually, you realize that getting started was the hardest part and now that you have, you’re able to carry on and put a big fat satisfying tick against it on your ‘to do’ list.
4. Don’t Make Life Hard for Yourself
I am the Queen of making life more difficult for myself. I’m the type of person who spends 15 minutes trying to pick up a thousand pieces of spilt rice off the floor with her hands just because she can’t be bothered to grab the dustpan and turn it into a 2 minute job. Don’t be me. Don’t make a bake sale into a bake off, your packet mix brownies will taste better than someone else’s le gateau vert anyway (can you tell I’ve been watching Bake Off). It’s silly to read books you don’t enjoy or understand just because you feel like people judge your usual rom-com’s. Do keep your things somewhat organised. It will save you half an hour trying to locate your hairbrush every morning.
Don’t make life hard for yourself.
If you have a bucket-list anywhere as long as mine, then there simply isn’t enough time to complete it, fact. Many of us share the same desires to see the world and experience new things. Unfortunately, if you’re an average Joe, then you’ll have to learn to prioritize. There are some things in life which we feel an unfair obligation to invest our time into. If it’s genuinely a waste of time and nobody will be worse off for it, then learn to say no.
The recent Christopher Robin movie was one of my August highlights. If you watched it too then you’ll have been reminded that sometimes you have to let someone down. It’s just up to you who that’s going to be.
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