Making time for what’s most important

It is easy to complain. Doing something about it is the hard part. We can easily complain that we don’t have enough time in general, or that we don’t have time for something or someone.

If only, we had more time.

We can’t add more hours to the 24 hour-day. We can’t make an hour longer than 60 minutes. Even if we all stopped having fun in our lives, time wouldn’t move any slower. It would just feel that way.

So what then are we supposed to do to get more time?

Face of clock

Here is my recommendation and what works for me: Prioritize.

What is most important to me? What do I value the most? What do I enjoy doing the most?

Step 1: Figure out what is most important to you. List your top 3-5 priorities.

Examples: Family, Career, Health & Exercise, Education, Volunteering, Friendships, Hobbies, etc.

How do I make time for those priorities in my day?

It is okay if you gasp and say, “Ah! I don’t make time! I have no time!” It’s life. It has a way of taking over. Hopefully with a bit of thinking and planning, you can take back control.

Step 2: Create a schedule of your day from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. Add in your top 3-5 priorities to the time slots (half-hour, 1 hour, 2 hour  – however much time you want or need to spend on that particular priority).

Example: View the printable example and schedule template.

You can create a schedule every week and be very specific about what happens during each time slot. Or, you could create a schedule with open slots for activities that may vary from day-to-day, such as the 6:30-9:00 p.m. slot in my example. For each day or week, fill in which activities you plan to do that day. Over time, you will start to get a sense of how long you actually spend doing those activities and how much you can really fit into your day. It only takes a few minutes to modify your schedule each day or week once you created it the first time. I think it is worth the time. Try it and see if it works for you.

What priorities can I be more flexible with than others?

Step 3: If everything doesn’t fit into your day, consider if something can be moved, deleted or delegated.

a. Depending on your schedule, you could move something from a weekday to a bigger block of time on a weekend.

Example: Family time is very important to you but the half-hour drive-by at the dinner table isn’t cutting it. But maybe that is all that can fit in your day during the week. So on the weekend, plan for a couple of hours to do something together as a family. This way you are getting quality time together each week instead of trying to cram it in where it doesn’t fit.

b. If something doesn’t fit in your schedule, pull out your calendar and schedule another time for it.

Example: You really want to remodel the guest room or [insert another] room, but you can’t seem to find the time. Schedule out a time when you think you can work on it – perhaps sometime over the summer? Nothing is set in stone so don’t worry about it too much, but also try not to constantly cancel the appointments YOU make for something YOU want to do. You are most important.

c. There are things that you may have to “delete” from your day. Yes, that’s right, delete. You can’t do everything, so why not do the things you can do and stay sane! 🙂

d. The other thing you can do is delegate. If possible, teach someone else how to do some of the things you typically do so you can free up some time in your day.

Any other ideas on how to make time for what is most important to you?

 


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