I’m sooooo busy.
I was going to do ______, but then ______ happened and I didn’t have time.
I’ll start ______ after ______ is over.
I’d love to do ______, but ______ takes up all of my time.
Sound familiar ( : ?
Making time to do the things you really want to do whether it’s grow your business, write, learn a new skill, be more involved in your community, or make art is one my clients’ number one struggles.
And the challenge is real. If you work long hours and/or take care of people at home, your day can become very full.
That said, I believe there are ways to find time, even if it is in small amounts, to work on the things that will propel you towards your Big Vision.
Below are 5 Ideas for How to Find Time for the Thing You Really Want to Do
1. Track your time
This can be a huge eye opener. For example, one of my clients was feeling overwhelmed by a particular aspect of her work as an alternative health practitioner. She felt like it was taking up all of her time, but time tracking revealed a different story.
The work she felt frustrated about was actually occupying the appropriate amount of time in her week, but because it was happening sporadically and based on other people’s needs rather her own, it felt like it was taking up more of her week than it was. Time tracking also revealed that she wasn’t taking proper lunch breaks and was working too long each day, which also contributed to her feeling drained. Creating boundaries around her time and taking appropriate breaks will give her more energy and time to do the work she loves as well as have personal time outside of work.
Try tracking your time for 1-4 weeks with something like Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours Time Management Spreadsheet (Excel or PDF). I haven’t found a time tracking app that I like yet. Any suggestions?
2. Take small steps each day
This is one of my favorites. If you’re a fan of SARK, she calls them microMOVEments. You create a goal and then take a tiny step each day towards that goal. Your action shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes tops. All those tiny steps start to add up, like pennies in a jar.
For example, my parents want to clear a lot of stuff out of their house, but it’s a pretty daunting task. On my last visit home, I suggested that they get rid of one thing each day. This could look like adding an item to the donate pile, the sell pile, or tossing it into the trash, or recycling.
After a month of doing this, they’ve found that they often end up sorting, or tossing more than one thing each day. Their small actions have created a larger momentum.
Try breaking down one of your big goals into tiny steps and take one each day. Your actions can be as small as:
Opening a new Word doc
Looking at one website
Writing 3 sentences
Making one phone call
Downloading an application
Adding an image idea to your website redesign Pinterest board
Posting one tweet/FB post/Instagram image/LinkedIn update
3. Schedule blocks of time in your calendar
Whether or not you think of yourself as a planner, we naturally allot time for differently activities: work, eating, errands, sleep, friends, family, etc. If you want to accomplish something that requires a period of concentration, or if taking a small step each day sounds tedious, scheduling blocks of time into your week, or month can turn the thing you want to do into a priority rather than an item on your “someday” list.
For example, many of my clients struggle with publishing blog posts, or newsletters regularly (I do too!). What I find helps them (and me) is to create an editorial calendar for the month, or season. Deciding how often and on what days they’re going to publish and putting it into their calendar gives them dates to work towards.
Once we’ve decided on their publication dates, we talk about how much time it will take to create their content and the best time of day for their creative process. Based on those variables, we block out writing times in their calendar.
Pick a project you’d like to work on, but never seem to find the time to do. Try blocking out 60-minutes each week in your calendar for the next 1-4 weeks. Keep your commitment to this meeting with yourself to work on your Big Vision.
4. Find an accountability partner, coach, or group
One of the things that has boosted my productivity the most this year has been virtual co-working with my friend, Jesica Vega. Three or four mornings a week we meet at 9 AM on a Zoom video call to discuss what we’re going to work on that day.
After saying good morning, we work for an hour and then take a break to chat about our progress. We repeat this process 2-4 times throughout the morning and early afternoon depending on our schedules. If we have client meetings and can’t get together, we’ll share our to-do’s and progress by text.
Having an in-person, or virtual accountability partner, coach, or group can help you stay on track. Take 15 minutes today to email, or text a friend, or group of friends to see if they want to be accountability partners this fall.
I’m working on creating a virtual co-working group to launch in early 2019. If you’re interested in potentially joining the group, please complete this Google form.
5. Remember your “why”
When something has been hanging around on our to-do list for a long time, it can turn into a to-dread rather than a to-do.
For example, when I work with clients on copy for their websites, we sometimes hit a roadblock about halfway through the project. All of a sudden, they don’t have time to work on their website and everything else in their life becomes a priority. Sometimes this happens because life really does become busier, and other times it comes from a resistance to putting themselves out there in a bigger way.
One of the things that can help regain momentum is to remind them of their bigger “why” for working on their website (e.g. help more people, build a platform for their book so they can reach more people, earn money to support their family).
Think of something you want to do, but have been resisting for a long time. Take a moment to reflect on why you want to do it. Put up an inspiring quote, or image in your home, or work space to remind you of your why when you get stuck in procrastination land.
Most of us have had an experience in our lives, or in the lives of the people we love that has exemplified the fragility of life.
Find time to do the thing you really want to do.
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