We’ve all seen the cute “You have the same number of hours in the day as Beyoncé” coffee cups + memes, and to be honest, the phrase does hold some truth to it. Yes you’re busy, but seriously, how busy are you? And how productive are you in your busy-ness? Are you accomplishing your goals? Do you even have a list of goals to check off? We always ask the universe for more time, but if we aren’t cognizant of what we’re doing/how we’re spending our time, it’s gonna be pretty hard to make any real strides toward our goals, no matter if it’s for work or just life in general.
Case in point, in an attempt to not get sucked down the research rabbit-hole on one of my off days, I “forced” myself to spend 2 hours off-line and away from my computer. I set my alarm on my phone, placed it in another room, and then proceeded to workout, cook lunch (fish, rice + veggies), relax with a detox bath, and take a few pictures for upcoming blog posts. I was even able to do some minor house work.
The best part of it all? Because I carved out that 2 hour block of time to unplug and really zone in on those things on my list, I was still able to wind down at a reasonable time, cook dinner, and watch a movie. I NEVER do that. It was a bit eye opening for me, and let me know that while I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I need to get a better handle on HOW I spend my time. Balancing a blog, full-time work, a social life, health + fitness, and everything else isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible.
A few ways I’m improving my time management:
Unplug More Frequently
Checking in on Social Media is such a time drainer. You don’t realize how much time you spend scrolling Facebook + Instagram until you look up and 45 minutes have passed by and you have every single app open on your phone-AND NOTHING ELSE DONE. I do have to use SM for the blog (and so people know that I’m still alive, lol), but I have to limit how many times I check it so that I don’t miss out on valuable free time to create content for MY feed (because that’s the point for bloggers, right?).
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
And by plan, I mean get it out of my head and onto paper with actionable steps to complete things. Prioritizing them by hour/day/week/month will help me realistically scratch them off my list. I may not be able to do everything, but writing out my tasks/goals will give me something visual to look at and hold myself accountable.
Batch It Out
The Pomodoro Technique is pretty popular for people working on their time-management, but I’ve found that for myself, using the alarm on my phone works best. I will block out 2-3 hours max to knock out a few projects/tasks. I don’t multi-task, I just work on things in batches. I turn on music or a podcast (letting movies play in the background can be too distracting), and I don’t allow myself to even glance at my phone or tablet. In fact, I turn my ringer off and place it in a different room. I can completely focus on my projects (which range from cleaning, to styling + taking photos) and if I get done early? Sweet. I can then take a break to do whatever I want to do before I move on to the next.
More Default Activity, Less Blogging
So default activities are aaaaall of those things that I say I don’t have time for: working out, cooking, reading, journaling, painting, etc. AKA more “Me” Time. I would put working out on the backburner bc I felt like I didn’t have enough time, but that day I was able to get so much done, including a 45 minute workout, so it’s not so much I don’t have the time, I just haven’t been using my time as wisely as I should. I was also able to cook 3 meals that day! Nothing fancy, but all quick, healthy + delicious, so it’s possible. It’ll be slightly trickier on those days when I have to go to my job, but again, getting from in front of my computer more frequently will give me back more time.
Blog With Intention
So this may seem to go against my last step, but it’s something that I’ve been practicing for a few weeks and actually goes with it. By not forcing myself to churn out blog posts, I’ve been able to spend more time creating richer content. More of my posts are longer, I’m using more original photography than ever, and I’ve actually started to see great results from it. I have to LIVE in order to be consistently inspired with blogging, and I can’t do that glued to my computer all day + night when I’m off work. I’m still posting regularly, but it’s not draining.
I’m not forcing myself to have a rigid schedule by any means, but being more cognizant of how I’m spending my time will allow me to have a much better work/life/blog balance and get more done in a day.
How do you manage your time?