How can you have more time in your day?
Using an agenda (paper or digital) to schedule your week will help you have more time for the things that matter. It really is a magic trick and an insomnia cure! It just takes a few steps, and you’ll be on your way to increased productivity and less mental stress. I’m a big fan of Google Calendar and Asana for my scheduling. (Read this blog post for details.)
- Write a list of weekly routines, fixed appointments, and regular errands
- Write a list of weekly and monthly home projects
- Write a list of habits or hobbies you wish you had time for
- Write a long-term goal or two, and break it down into small tasks
- Prioritize the events and lists
- Add them to the weekly and monthly calendar
- Regularly go over your agenda and make adjustments
- Rediscover and reclaim pockets of time
First, write out a list of your weekly routines, fixed appointments, home projects, and regular errands. Continue the list with a few habits or hobbies you wish you had time for (book reading, exercise class, coffee with a friend, photography class, etc.). Then add a long-term goal or two, broken down into small tasks to complete it (weekly guitar practice to be able to play for the annual family talent show, 30 day journal prompts to promote gratitude, etc.).
Begin with looking at a week in your agenda or calendar. Prioritize and add your fixed and weekly routines (carpool, commutes, lessons, etc.) to your calendar. Next, look at your errands and see where they best fit into this schedule to maximize efficiency. For me, I have a regular meeting across town on Tuesdays. If I want to schedule coffee with a friend, I try to do this right before or after my Tuesday meeting when I already need to be out. Rather than going out of my way to return library books, I add them to my schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I know I’ll be near the library already.
Most of us think we don’t have time for mental wellness time in a busy week, but we are actually more productive when we schedule breaks in our work week. And it gives us something to look forward to. In college, one of my daughters scheduled rooftop “watercolor painting time” so she would not spend all her weekend doing homework. And we all benefited that year from the watercolor gifts she made us.
Once you prioritize the fixed items, mental wellness time, and errands into your weekly calendar, you can then begin to add in a few tasks to complete your long-term goals or slide in a class at the gym or a home project.
Begin to make a habit of spending a few minutes on the weekend to plan out your upcoming week. Look at the past week. What did not get done? What routines need a bit of adjustment? Do you have a balance of work, personal time, and mental wellness? What projects need to be broken down into smaller scheduled tasks?
An organized agenda helps you anticipate the work ahead and saves you mental stress. You can slide in unexpected things as they pop up because you will have a clear idea of your week. You can say “yes” or “no” with confidence when you have an idea of your week or month as a whole. If you cannot think a month or week in advance, even 5 minutes in the morning planning out your day will set you up for finding some hidden pockets of time to listen to your favorite podcast or tackle one of those home chores like dusting the ceiling fans. Soon you will find that you have more time in your schedule. You will smile more and sigh less.
Table Talk: What day of the week is your busiest? What errands could you schedule more efficiently?