Just trying to change the world, one blogpost at a time.

21 July 2016

Sweat The Small Stuff

Life can be pretty hectic, and it seems the older we get the more things get piled on to our to-do-lists. Perhaps you're in full time work or full time study or, like me, have a combination of both. On top of that you might have house responsibilities (bills etc), a family to look after, a hobby or venture outside of your full time job. Plus, if being healthy is one of your goals, then you've got to fit in exercise and perhaps cooking. Additionally you've got to maintain friendships, uphold your social status (on the gram/snapchat/twitter/whatever you use) all whilst trying to develop yourself mentally and spiritually. 

I don't know about you but just thinking about all that makes my head hurt. Truth of the matter is, we all have things we want to achieve, ambitions we want to see come to life in whatever time period we've set, but time is a resource that only runs out. It doesn't give a damn that we haven't gotten through our list, it just keeps it moving. Zero f's given.
So the rather than making time the enemy, we have to find ways to make it our friend. 

1. Cut down the list, then cut it down again.
I can be slightly delusional in how long I think 24 hours is. I will start off with a to-do list for the day which has about 25 things on it, in full confidence that I'm going to get it all done. Yeah bloody right. Though there was evidence enough that my method wasn't working(I never got everything done) it was until I was given the book 'The One Thing' that I actually became aware of the ridiculousness of my list and started to amend. The book suggests a priority list, listing items in order of importance and then basically aiming to do a few from the top. My general aim is 3 things. So on a weekday this might be work, study, cook or work, write, gym and on the weekend gym, groom, be social for example. Having a smaller to do list makes days less jam packed and allows for adequate allocation of time, whilst picking the most important things to do means you're constantly progressing towards your biggest long term goals. Granted your nails might not be popping on a Thursday but you might be steps closer to that banging body or getting a really good grade in a piece of work. What's most important to you? What can you leave until later? Minimizing your list to be as small as possible each day will allow you to get things done to a higher standard. 

2. Wake up early
There are 24 hours in the day. Fact. In order to maximize what you can do in the day, you need to have as many hours as possible to play with. If you think of your day in a similar way to money then in essence you have Disposable hours = Gross hours - sleep hours. disposable hours, where your disposable hours are the hours you have free to get things done! Since your Gross hours are always 24, the only way to increase your disposable hours is to sleep less. Now, by no means am I saying never sleep again, your body needs rest too, but how much? 8 hours is the number most commonly thrown about but there are studies to suggest perhaps less is adequate. Since I have no scientific standing on this, I'll leave you to figure out how much you need but perhaps, if you've got lots to get through, that extra hours lie in isn't necessary? Make use of the morning, the time you have before work or lectures, or feeding the kids. Even it's just waking up 15 minutes earlier so you can get a quick workout in or put the laundry in the wash - every little helps!

3. Unplug
My phone and electronic devices in general are probably my biggest distraction. Having conversations, playing games, reading emails, browsing Instagram, googling ways to be buff and now watching snaps of people walking all have probably taken up, cumulatively, hours of my life. Even if my phone isn't popping and I know ain't nobody messaging me, I'll find a reason to tap the button 'just in case'. Whilst I salute the technological giants who have made so much possible, I'm finding that I have to consciously retrain myself to stay away from my phone, sometimes having to resort to putting it in a drawer or switching it off completely. If you're anything like me, perhaps consider trying some of the following:
- give yourself a limit on how many times you can check social media
- go phone free for an hour, two hours, a day?
- put your phone on airplane mode when trying to complete a task
- delete the apps that distract you most for a set time period
There's always so much going on that attempting to stay in the loop will only put you behind in your own life. Unplug once in a while and concentrate on the reality in front of you, not behind your screen.

4. Finish it!
How many of you are guilt of starting something and not finishing it in the same time period? Whether you get distracted or you decide to do something else and just don't get back round to your initial task until much later? Yep, me too! When my list was stupidly long, I'd find myself starting tasks, then in some failed attempt to multitask, I'd leave them and start something else, following this pattern until many of the things on my list were half done, but none were complete. Seeing a task through from start to finish is actually quite difficult. Other things pop up saying 'Do me, do me' and instead of saying 'Later' we give in, which then can make it harder to get back into what we were originally doing. The fact of the matter is, everything outside of the task at hand is a distraction because it's taking your attention away from what you're supposed to be focusing on. For example, if you've set out to study one chapter over the next two hours and half an hour in you decide to clean your room, you've been distracted, regardless of whether or not cleaning was on your to-do list. If you've got a scheduled break however then that's different. Too often we say we're going to finish something and then don't either because we don't give ourselves enough time or because we let other things get in the way. Personally I've found that being able to cross 3 things per day gives me way more satisfaction than having half completed 6. Force yourself to finish the task, even if it's boring, even if you're itching to do something else, get into the habit of completing things!

5. Schedule your time
Plan. Plan. Plan! These days I don't know where I'd be without that little calendar app on my phone(don't need to unplug from that one haha!) Whilst I love spontaneous days out, having an idea of what I'm going to be doing day to day has been a true life-saver. Being at the age where you have to plan to meet people in advance and things to do pop up all the time, its so handy to have an idea of things you already have going on, thus avoiding the dreaded double booking. Whilst having a to-do list, or priority list now (seriously read the book!), is a great first step, you need to figure out how much time each thing will take and where it's going to fit in your day. This in all honesty can be the hardest part. You might have to slot something in before work one day and just before bed another, flexibility is key. Additionally you might have something to do that doesn't fit into one particular time slot so you'll have to chop it into chunks and figure out how to do get it done. One tip I have is over-estimate the time you'll need! If you know you get easily distracted factor in an extra half an hour or so for example - better to have too much time for something than too little. Additionally, factor in things like food, travel, getting dressed etc; these things all contribute to the total 24 hours we have.
Once something is blocked in, treat it like you would work, show up (metaphorically) and get it done!

These are just a few things you can do to make the most of your 24 hours!
Always remember that whilst you can do anything with your time, you can't do everything - choose wisely!

Stay Blessed,

1 comment:

Laura Platts said...

Great post - with some valid points! We do need to be efficient with our time. Prioritisation is key, right. x

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