Women at Work: Things To Stop Wasting Your Time On
Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time in each day to get everything done that you want? I’ve felt that way, too, but why?
I consider myself a fairly busy, active person—I have a full-time job, a blog on the side, and I tend to go out to dinner or see friends or run errands quite a bit. But I’m not Beyonce, I don’t have kids, and I’m only 25: it’s not like I’m over here running an empire.
If you feel like you never have enough hours in the day to accomplish your goals, it’s time to take a step back, look at where your time is currently going, and adjust as necessary. I recently did this, and it’s making a world of difference in my productivity!
ONE // MONITOR YOUR TIME
This is, in my opinion, the hardest part of this entire exercise. In order to know where you’re wasting time and what hours you can get back each day, you need to know where your time is actually being spent.
To do this exercise, you need a notebook + pen, or just the Notes app on your phone. In a day or a few days, write down everything you do that day. Yes, everything. During this stage I would also suggest getting an app, like Moment, that tracks all of your activity on your phone—so you can also see how many hours per day you might be on your phone, and exactly what apps you’re using most.
Here’s what your list could or might look like:
7 AM - 8 AM | wake up, make bed, shower, Get ready for work, answer emails
8 AM - 8:30 AM | Make + eat breakfast, scroll through instagram
8:30 - 9 AM | Walk to work, listen to podcast
9 AM - 5 PM | Work
5 PM - 6 PM | Work out, or yoga class
6 PM - 7 PM | Prep + eat dinner
7 PM - 9 PM | Watch tv or a movie, answer emails, clear notifications on my phone
9 PM - 10 PM | Get ready for bed, clean up dinner, scroll through Instagram
10 PM | Sleep
TWO // REFLECT
Once you have your list jotted down, take a good, hard look at it. Do you like what you see? Are there chunks of time that you feel good about (working out, making time to meditate, or eating a healthy breakfast) but others you feel were maybe wasted (sitting in front of your TV for two hours a day, or all of that time spent scrolling through Instagram)?
THREE // CROSS OUT WHAT IS UNNECESSARY
Once you have your daily log for 1-3 days, cross out all of the things you no longer want to spend time on. I find in this stage getting a giant red pen or marker for dramatic effect really helps me feel like I’m getting rid of the thing for good, and usually it's pretty obvious which things on my list I want to get rid of.
When I did this exercise, things like “watched TV” and “scrolled through Instagram” were the first to go. There were hours of my day that I was subconsciously spending plopped on my couch, in front of my TV or aimlessly on my phone—and most of the time I couldn’t even tell you what I was watching or working on!
FOUR // MAKE A LIST OF THINGS YOU’D RATHER FOCUS ON
This step is the most fun, in my opinion. Now that you’ve seen where your time is being wasted, where would you rather be spending that time? Think big!
For me, some things I’d like to do more of are go to yoga classes, meditate, read more, and cut down on my screen time. So, as I crossed off a lot of things that involved technology, I added in things like an hour-long yoga class, or an hour of reading here or there.
FIVE // IMPLEMENT
Now, it’s great you know what you’d like to be doing, but how do you actually achieve change in your life? It’s so easy to fall into the same old patterns, time and time again.
Something that helps me implement change is scheduling my time wisely. I am someone who sticks to deadlines and proposed timelines, so if I put time on my calendar for something it’s going to get done. What I’ve been doing lately is scheduling chunks of time on my calendar, just like I would for a meeting or appointment, for things like reading, yoga, or meditation. Having these little reminders really help me stick to a schedule and have a plan.