Have you ever felt as if there just isn’t enough time in a day to complete what you had set out to do? Have you ever felt as if time is moving too fast?
You plan out your day the night before thinking “Ok I have 24 hours to do this.”
You wake up the next morning ready tackle the day and the next thing you know you’re at home going through your to-do list only see several things still not check off, “Where did the time go?”.
It’s a question we ask ourselves a lot these days but have yet to find the answer to. As a matter of fact, it’s a question I asked myself just yesterday.
I had planned my morning like I always do, did a bit of work in the morning and then checked my planner that night only to see several things that still went uncompleted.
It’s like, “What the hell was I doing all day?”. Honestly, it makes me frustrated when I go throughout an entire day and nothing gets done.
So how exactly do I fix this problem? How exactly do we enable ourselves to be more productive and get things done?
Just say no
Usually every Monday and Friday I act as an unofficial personal trainer for my coworker because she wants to lose weight but doesn’t know her way around a gym.
And while I would love to help her drop a few lbs, it’s a wastes time. After I finish my hour and a half workout I spend another hour in the gym forcing her through workouts she complains are “too hard” or “it hurts”.
It’s supposed to hurt!
But me being a nice person and wanting her to reach her goals, it’s hard to say no. It’s hard to deny someone who asks for my help especially when I know I am capable of doing so.
But sometimes you just have to say no. Sometimes you have to tell the other person “sorry but I can’t make it”.
Because when you start saying yes every time someone asks something of you what you are doing is taking away from the time would’ve been spent writing that book, working on that business, or making money freelancing.
And I get it, you want to help people and you want them to succeed. But who’s going to make sure you do the same? The person you’re helping?
How can they make sure you’re doing everything you need to do in order to get things done when they are coming to you for help?
While pushing them to succeed in accomplishing their goals may be the Good Samaritan thing to do, on the other hand, what you are also doing is putting your own goals on the back burner instead of making them a top priority.
If you want to get me more productive, get more things done and accomplish your goals say no.
Don’t take on too much
I’m a busy bee; I love taking on multiple projects all at once and the feeling of being a jack of all trades that comes with it.
But this isn’t good for me.
In fact, it’s hindering me from accomplishing my own goals. For most of us, our eyes are bigger than our stomach. We see something we like and go for it regardless of what’s already on our plates.
We get ravenous and try to take on every single project because we believe we are multi-taskers and can accomplish several things at once without missing a beat.
But as we’ve all come to realize that this is not the case. When we try to multi-task in essence what we are doing is dividing up our time between various tasks switching from one thing to the next trying to complete both at the same time and equally well.
This doesn’t work. It’s a fool’s errand. It doesn’t make sense. How do you expect to complete one task when you are occupied by three others that take up most of your time and energy?
The best thing would be to take on one project and stick with that.
Carve out time
We tend to do work spontaneously or when feel like it.
But spontaneity isn’t very effective and doing something when we feel like it isn’t very feasible because truthfully we never feel like it.
We’re never “in the mood” to start that business plan or write that blog post. We have to just do it.
However, just doing it can be difficult when you have a full schedule.
So what do you do? How can you get done tasks when you have class all day? How can you squeeze in time to work on your projects when you work 9–5 Monday through Friday?
Carve out the time.
I talk to a lot of my friends and they always say they never have time to do anything. They say, “I have class all day”, “I work all day” or my favorite “I’m tired”.
To me, these are excuses for not getting work done. And not to say they are lazy because the truth is they are hard working people. But like them, I have work too. I go to school too. And I still manage to write posts like these every day.
Here’s a breakdown of an average day for me:
- wake up and write for at least 30 minutes
- make breakfast
- take a shower and get dressed
- write or finish up some homework from last night until it’s time to go to class
- if it’s a Tuesday or Thursday I’m getting ready to go to work until 5
- My first class starts
- I’m in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program so I have to check in with my little every Tuesday and Thursday at this time
- eat lunch
- back to back to back classes
- head to the gym for about an hour and a half
- Tuesday or Thursday I’m just getting off work and sometimes I’ll go for a run
- unless it’s a Tuesday or Thursday I’m just heading home from the gym
- finishing up an article or working on homework
As you can see there is something going on at just about every hour of the day. So how do I make time to write or work on a business idea? I carve out time.
I wake up earlier to give myself at least 30 minutes to work on an article. Throughout the day I’m either at work or at school but even then I find time in between to work on write.
When the end of the day hits, like most of you, I don’t feel like doing anything when I get home.
Instead of finishing an article I started that morning, I’d rather crash on the bed. But if I give in I know nothing will get done and I’ll adopt the mindset of “I’ll do it tomorrow”.
However, if you carve out time to complete the projects you have scheduled for that day, I promise you will get them done and there will be no need to do it tomorrow.
Just say no. Stop trying to be everyone’s friend and help them with their goals.
While it’s great to help others, keep in mind once you do start to help that person you then become their crutch; the person they always go to for counsel.
But you have to stop this before it gets started. Tell your friend, family member or coworker that office hours are closed. You have work to do.
Don’t intentionally put too much on your plate either. Figure out what it is you want to do. Assess what is it that you really want to accomplish and make sure that everything you do falls in line with that one thing.
Lastly, carve out time.
Even if it’s just for 30 minutes do something. While you’re on you’re lunch break take a bite out of your sandwich put it down for a minute and trip up some words for the article you said you were going to finish today.
If your class starts at 11 am get up at 8 and work on your business. Better yet get up at 6 so you’ll have more time.
When you take a short break from your work instead of scrolling through Instagram write a few paragraphs for that book.
If you want to be more productive, get more tasks completed, and accomplish your goals you’re gonna have to create time for yourself.
Nobody is going to do it for you. In fact, most people are going to take time away from you. Which means you have to say no, you can’t take on too many things at once, and you have to carve out time to accomplish what you set out to do.