Have you ever looked up at the clock and noticed you only had 15 minutes? You missed your workout today and you rationalize to yourself that 15 minutes isn’t enough to workout and you skip it entirely.
Instead you spend the next 15 minutes scrolling through social media and then quickly realize that 15 minutes went by in a snap. This furthers your belief that 15 minutes isn’t enough time to get in a workout.
The truth is, you know deep down how much time a day you waste.
Take a look at your phones screen time. I checked mine a while ago and it said my average is 4.5 hours.
4.5 hours! That’s insane. Granted, about 1/2 that time is listening to youtube videos in the background while I workout or commute to work but even 2.5 hours on my phone is a lot.
We rationalize that the time we spent on our phone is productive but in truth, it’s not.
If you don’t go into something with intention, it’s almost guaranteed to be unproductive.
There are techniques that I have found through deep dives I’ve made to make the most out of every day. For the last 3 months, I’ve managed to write for 1 hour, workout for 2 hours and work a 8am-5pm everyday without feeling burnt out. These are some of the things that I have found that have helped me the most.
Reduce Decision Fatigue
You don’t need to wear a black shirt and jeans every day to reduce decision fatigue. There are plenty of other tactics that you can do to make your days go as smooth as possible. Below are the recommended ways that I have found that have reduced my decision fatigue.
Meal prepping is one of those things that many people rave about. I will admit, I have had difficulties meal prepping myself. Four out of five weekends, I don’t even know what to meal prep. I look in my fridge and see this odd assortment of food and think, “I guess I camake eggs and carrots?”
All this did was lead me to eat out more. If you don’t love the food that you’re making, you’re just going to default back to whatever you were doing before.
The way I started my routine with meal prepping was that I went old school. I didn’t use any fancy meal prepping app or a service like that. I grabbed a legal pad and a pen and on the left hand side, I wrote out the next 7 days of meals for the week. On the right hand side, I made a list of the groceries that I needed to pick up to complete that list.
This not only make me more excited about meal prepping but I also know with 100% certainty that I will have as minimal food waste as possible and be eating on my terms.
Meal prepping has saved me 20–30 minutes in the morning from needing to make breakfast. It saves me another 20 minutes later in the day when I don’t have to prep lunch. Saving an extra 45 minutes to an hour a day is huge and not to mention allows you to feel like you’re not in a crunch all day.
Lay Out All Your Outfits For The Week
Grab about 15 hangers. If you want to take this a step further, write the day of the week on each hanger and lay out all your clothes on them. It may seem ridiculous to pre plan everything you’re going to wear the entire week but I will tell you, it makes a difference when you’re not looking around for that one top or that pair of pants that you know will match your outfit.
I said to grab 15 hangers to account for workout clothes as well. I workout every day so 7 workout outfits is essential.
I also wouldn’t go crazy trying to think about the weather forecast for the entire week. This is a spot where you can be flexible. I live in Chicago and weather swings here can be crazy from day to day. Lay out your clothes with how you think the week is going to go and pivot when you get there.
Realistically Plan Out Your Entire Week
This seems obvious, almost every article when it comes to time management will say that you should plan out your week. This part has been a huge shortcoming of mine and it takes a lot of discipline to follow through with what you said you’re going to do.
I emphasized the word realistic here because when most of us plan out our week, we aren’t realistic about how well we are going to use our time.
Do you really think you’re going to be able to workout, do your passion project, do you laundry and clean your apartment all in 2 hours?
When it comes to time management, start with the goals you have in mind.
- How much time a day do I need to workout?
- How much time do I need on “X” project?
- How much time do I need to spend on my relationship?
- How much time do I need to relax so I don’t feel burnt out in the long run?
- How much time do I need to walk my dog or feed them?
- How much time will I need to do the chores like doing the dishes or laundry?
- What is the worst case scenario for commuting time so I’m staying realistic?
- How much time will I spend on cooking?
All this comes down to is allocating your time budget to the places you want it to be. Work within your budget and make sure that you don’t go over.
Review Your Week Every Week
Sit down for 30 minutes a week and see if you actually accomplished what you wanted to. If you did, that’s fantastic! If you didn’t, ask yourself these questions:
- Was this a realistic schedule?
- Where did I go wrong?
Try to see if you can do even better next week. If you are at the point where you realized you’re only wasting minutes a day instead of hours, you are way ahead of the game!
Organizing is something that is so obvious but often not understood by many people. I don’t believe there is an inherent ability to staying organized. It’s not something you are born with, it’s something that anyone can learn. Organization is just maintaining a productivity system that works for you that requires discipline to upkeep.
If you are spending hours a day “organizing” just to keep your desktop looking pretty, you’re not organized, you’re procrastinating.
The purpose of organization is for you to know where everything is at all times. If you keep “reorganizing” you will never remember where put things and thus you will not be organized anymore.
There is no universal organization system despite what all the bullet journal people will tell you.
Find an organization system that works for you and your workflow. My current organization system involves using Notion and my calendar app.
If you feel like time always slips away from you, take a hard look at it. Try to gain some mental awareness about how you spend your time. I know when I started looking at my how I was managing my time, I was shocked with how many hours a day I wasted. Even wasting a single hour a day over a year is 365 hours that could have been put to better use. Imagine if you had 365 more hours of fitness added to your life over a year, how much better shape would you be in?
Allocate appropriately to your time budget, if you don’t, your time will diminish whether you like it or not.
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