We’ve all had the thought “I wish there was more time in the day”, then quickly realized if there was more time, we’d surely fill it. As an entrepreneur, mother, businesswoman and creative I am always striving to find balance and routine in my life. I’ve come to realize I will never have a “balanced” life. I may never achieve a balanced life.
I believe that having a balanced life is continually a challenge, changing from day to day based on what we are facing. What worked yesterday might not work today.
Life is ever changing; with motherhood everything is a stage, and each new day is a new experience. Work is consistently throwing me new curve balls. My creative mood hits at random times.
So, I control what I can and roll with the rest.
Here are a few tips on how I create more time and intention in my day to get the most out of it.
1. Wake up earlier
Okay, this is coming from a former night owl who hasn’t always had a good relationship with mornings. BUT when I say waking up earlier makes a big impact on my day, I mean it! Getting up 15-30 minutes before you normally would and allowing yourself time to start the day off right is the perfect way to dive into the day. I find, like most, that I start the day off behind if I sleep until the last possible minute. Not allowing myself time to take care of myself or start the day on the right foot.
Waking up a few minutes earlier will allow you to get on the right page, take time to breathe deeply and mentally prepare for your day. Maybe you sneak in a workout, meditation, or some reading. Whatever it is for you, make time for it!
Additionally, going to bed at a decent hour will help with your morning routine. With a toddler, fulltime job and owning a business, I am often tired by sunset and ready to call it a night shortly after my daughter goes down to bed. This has hugely impacted my ability to get up just a little earlier since I am going to bed by 9 or 9:30pm nightly.
2. Set limits
o Do you find yourself aimlessly browsing social media? Spending 10 minutes (that turns into an hour) watching reels? Set limits. We can get lost on our phones to distractions and that isn’t a valuable way to spend our time. Cellphones now have screen limits and can be set up so it reminds you to log off, not allowing you back on until a certain time has passed. Personally, I have my phone set up that I don’t get any social notifications before 9:00am, and even then it’s still limited for the remainder of the day.
3. Be Prepared
Getting ready for your day can set you up for success. The night before we set out my daughter’s clothes, pack her bag and prepare her meals, this way when the morning arrives, we have a few less things to do. It also allows me to spend a few minutes holding and cuddling her, not worrying about packing her lunch or preparing her bag. Similarly, preparing for your day ahead will help you ease into it. Setting out your outfit, planning your agenda and reviewing your to-do list ahead of time allows you to mentally prepare. If you’re like me, your mind wanders and knowing you have a list and plan to hit the ground running allows you to shut off your brain a bit for sleep.
4. Use a time Block Schedule for Tasks
I am a huge fan of time blocks. When I have an especially busy day, I print out a time block schedule and write out what I will work on each hour. I give myself grace when other things come up, but this is the outline for my day and how I plan to approach it. I find peace knowing that I have a plan and it helps limit distractions and other things that might come up.
5. Deep Work
Cal Newport wrote a book called Deep Work and I am a believer. There are so many distractions in our day-to-day life. Deep work can be hard to come by, so we need to be intentional with it. Before I read this book, I didn’t call it deep work but I did follow the idea. Using the above-mentioned time blocks allows me to focus more deeply on the work in front of me, knowing I will move on to another task later in the day.
Putting down distractions, such as our phone, television, social media, house work, and focusing on specific items allows us to get more done in a shorter time frame, then opening up more time for other activities.
This one may be more challenging if you don’t have a team, but delegation is crucial if you want to grow and scale your business. It also allows more time in your day to focus on items you are stronger at. If you don’t have a team to delegate to, consider hiring a house cleaner or ordering prepared meals. This way you can use that time on other tasks.
Automation is my best friend. You can pre-schedule items, use automatic responses (I do this on my email so no matter when you send me an email you will get a response right away letting you know when to expect my response). Writing your blogs when you feel most creative and have the time, then scheduling for when your audience is most likely to see them.
Having systems in place, such as SOPs (Standard operating procedures) will help you be efficient with your time while also being consistent from day to day. Using online bill pay for things like your website, and any recurring payments will save you the time and logging in each month to make the payment.
9. Declutter and Organize
Having a clean and organized work environment will also lend to a more productive day. Decluttering your home and life is beneficial. You can see where you waste the most time by doing an audit on your week – then cut out the things that don’t make sense.
10. Avoid Procrastination
We often put off the ‘harder’ tasks or thing we don’t want to do, knock these out first so they aren’t lingering over your head the whole day. Do the hard stuff first so you can use that sense of accomplishment to do all the small, easier tasks following.