How to Make Time for All the Things you Want to Do
As you start thinking about the New Year, and the new you, give this resolution a shot. Make scheduling a new habit that sticks in 2018. And that right there is the secret to making the time for all the things you want to do. Plan and schedule.
Our schedules always seem too full. It feels like we are always doing something. I always complain about never being able to sit down and relax. But in all honesty there are times during the day where I lose track of the time and get distracted. It's easy to spend 5 to 10 minutes checking our email, to scroll through pictures on social media and sometimes what starts as a few minutes of a show turns into Netflix asking if we want to continue watching.
I didn’t really believe it myself, because I thought of myself as a pretty productive and efficient person. But I logged every activity, or inactivity, for a couple days. And not only did I notice areas of distraction throughout my day, but I also saw tons of inefficiencies that could have been avoided had I just made a better plan.
For example, I spent the morning running errands, but I only made it to the grocery store and the bank. I should have dropped the kids off at school, went to the post office, then the bank and finally the grocery store. But unfortunately, I didn’t plan it. I forgot my grocery list so after taking the kids to school, I had to go back home. Once home I got distracted and had some coffee. I grabbed my grocery list and went to the grocery store, and realized that I didn’t have the time to do all the errands so I picked the bank. And then I forgot I’d be receiving a check within the next couple days so I had to run to the bank again at the end of the week. So inefficient.
If I sat down and planned it out, I would have remembered I’d have to go to the bank at the end of the week. Instead of going twice, I’d schedule a trip only once. At the time, it even felt like I had made the right decision based on the time I had left. I thought I was planning my errands. When I looked at my morning and what I had accomplished, I realized it was just me making myself busy.
How to Schedule your Time
I have two free PDF Printables to help with the scheduling process.
First, cut down on the distractions! It’s okay to spend time relaxing, or watching a show. But give that a time slot on your schedule. The point is to focus on the right thing at the right time. If you are having problems doing this, perhaps it’s best to shut off your phone, or get a program that disables your social media. You know yourself best, limit the distractions you know will cause you issues.
When it comes to scheduling, start with your non-negotiables. On the printable How to Schedule Your Life Like an Adult, there is an area for you to write down all your non-negotiables. These are items such as school, work, or taking care of your children.
Next, list all the things you want to do in your ideal week. And add a little time estimate next to each item. How long do you plan on spending on each item? For example you could say you would like to add reading for 10 minutes a day. Then prioritize which items you want to add to your schedule first. Place a little number 1,2,3, etc. with one being the highest priority next to each item on your list.
Now in the Weekly Schedule Spread, start adding the items you listed. Start with the non-negotiables. Put all your non-negotiables into the correct time slots on every day that it occurs for the entire week. Next you can start filling in your week with the items you want. It might take a little tweaking, because it may not fit at first, but play with it and you’ll start seeing your ideal week taking shape.
A little tip. Don’t get too crazy by adding EVERYTHING. You can add as little as one item from your want list at a time. Make sure it is sustainable. The first time I tried to add most of the items on my want list, it looked like getting up at 4am was not early enough! And it absolutely did not look sustainable. So take it easy, and take the right sized steps to adding to your schedule. Ask yourself if this is what you want. And be totally honest.
Another tip, is that the mornings and evenings are going to be the best times to add “me-time”. Mornings are especially great for adding items from your want list that prioritize you. Usually our non-negotiables take place right in the middle of our day. So look at your list and see if there are any items you can incorporate into your morning or evening routines. I have posts on both morning and evening routines you can check out for more information.
Once you have set your schedule, take it seriously. Just because an item is not a non-negotiable, doesn’t mean it should be something you feel you can skimp. Treat them both as equal scheduled appointments. If you have scheduled 30 minutes of learning a new instrument, and something important pops up, by all means reschedule. But the point is that you took it serious enough to reschedule.