Do you feel like you don’t have time to do anything nowadays? Including work, your favorite hobbies, sometimes even making dinner?
I’ve been reckless with my time management lately. Spending too much time surfing through social media, and not enough time doing what I love most; investing in myself and living life to the fullest.
According to a poll on Gallup, 61% of working Americans say they don’t have enough time to do what they want. In addition to that, 68% of people feel like they aren’t getting enough rest.
Chances are, you’re busy. You’re running from one errand to the next, going from one tab to another before completing what you had already started.
You’re rushing to make dinner; you’re grocery shopping because your fridge is completely empty and you didn’t have time to do it earlier; you’re down to your last pair of socks because who has time for laundry anyway?
You’re doing all sorts of things you feel like you need to do, and at the end of the day, you feel exhausted. You’re both physically and mentally drained, and the most important tasks of all? You didn’t even get to them.
With that being said, here are 5 strategies I’ve been utilizing that you can try out in order to not only have more time in your day — but also spend it on the things you love.
Make quicker decisions by setting time limits.
I’m the worst decision-maker in the world. It will take me hours to decide on what I want for dinner. Sometimes, I walk around clothing stores for over an hour debating on whether or not I actually want the shorts I’m holding.
I know I’m not the only one. Friends of mine will message me all the time asking what photos to post, whether or not x caption is better than y caption, and so on.
You spend so much time in a state of indecision that you don’t even realize the time going by. You glance at your phone and wonder how on earth two hours have gone by, and yet you’ve only been in one store.
Every single minute you spend thinking about the decision you’re about to make is time wasted. Unless the question is life-changing, there’s absolutely zero reasons for you to spend even ten minutes thinking about something as minuscule as what to have for dinner.
If you’re like me and you struggle when you have a lot of options, set time limits for yourself in order to train yourself to make faster decisions, and you’ll cut this time waste out of your life immediately.
For example, when it comes to food options, I always give myself no more than five minutes to decide on something. When it comes to clothing, if I can’t think of 2–3 outfits to pair the item with, I move on.
Don’t overcomplicate it; when it gets down to it, making decisions — not life-altering ones — should be simple.
Delegate tasks when possible.
Are you someone who feels like if you hand off a task to someone else, they won’t do as good of a job as you would?
Understandable. I always feel like that, which is why I always huff and say I’ll just do it myself. However, putting everything under your own to-do list can be extremely taxing and take up a lot of your time.
For example, I used to create workouts for myself daily. I would spend 1–2 hours researching exercises, and it was honestly stressful. I ended up getting a personal trainer to create an effective and strategic workout program for me that included various styles of training, and now I don’t waste minute researching exercises.
Currently, I film and edit all of my YouTube videos, but I plan on hiring an editor to start working for me because editing takes a lot of time, and I could utilize that time for other things such as writing or creating more content.
There’s nothing wrong with delegating low-priority tasks to other people. I know plenty of individuals who would love to edit videos but hate being in front of the camera. It all boils down to spending your time on what you do best.
You can even delegate simple household tasks in your everyday life. For example, I love cooking but my partner doesn’t — so he helps clean everything up after dinner while I finish my work up for the day.
Focus on one task at a time.
Multi-tasking is one of the most unproductive things you can do. It also puts stress on your brain and decreases the quality of your work significantly.
In an article in Forbes, Douglas Merrill writes:
Unfortunately, our brains just aren’t equipped for multitasking tasks that do require brainpower. Our short-term memories can only store between five and nine things at once.
When you’re trying to accomplish two dissimilar tasks, each one requiring some level of consideration and attention, multitasking falls apart. Your brain just can’t take in and process two simultaneous, separate streams of information and encode them fully into short-term memory.
When information doesn’t make it into short-term memory, it can’t be transferred into long-term memory for recall later.
If you can’t recall it, you can’t use it. And, presumably, you are trying to learn something from whatever you are doing, right? Instead of actually helping you, multitasking works against you. It’s making you less efficient, not more.
I’m definitely someone who refused to believe that for a long time. I would go from writing to editing, to writing again, then filming (forgot I’m vlogging that day), then cooking because it’s 5 o’clock, then try to finish up the article I was writing at 9 in the morning.
It just doesn’t work — instead, focus on one task at a time. You’ll finish faster, and you can move on without worrying that you made a mistake or forgot something important.
Declutter your space and maintain a clean environment.
I can’t stress enough how much cleanliness matters to your productivity.
I don’t know what your desk looks like right now, but if you needed to find an important document for your taxes or something else — would you be able to track it down in under 5 minutes?
I went through a phase where I would start working, then notice (or remember) that I wanted to tidy up a certain area of my house. I would drop everything I was doing and immediately go do the task. Whether it was laundry, dishes, or even sweeping up some crumbs — I would do it.
I’m not going to say that cleaning is a waste of time, but if you constantly allow clutter to disrupt your work, it will result in you losing focus and harming the quality of it.
Instead, designate one day per week to do a deep clean of your home, and prior to starting work every day, do a simple surface clean to maintain cleanliness.
It’ll save you time during the day and throughout the week and make you feel refreshed on a daily basis.
Learn to say no.
It’s not easy to say no. Whether it be your boss asking you to do something or your friends asking you out for lunch.
I always feel guilty saying no to my friends, and then I have to remind myself that I’m working on my future which makes me feel a smidge better.
How often do you agree to something you know you don’t have the time for? How often do you say yes despite knowing it’ll screw up your day — or even week?
My partner always feels guilty saying no to his clients, and as a result, he will often skip gym sessions — or not do other work that needs to be done. This leads to him staying up late, not getting enough sleep and so many more negative consequences that simply aren’t worth it.
Saying no doesn’t make you look bad, and the people who truly care about you will always be understanding.
Learning the ability to say no will allow you to free up so much time for the things you truly want to do and have to do.
These strategies require you to create habits that certainly aren’t easy, however, if you truly want to get your time back and stop wasting it, these are all simple and easy steps in the right direction.
Start small, and it’ll become easier to not only stop wasting time, but it’ll get easier to build habits that push you to do what you love most.