Let’s talk about time management tips and how to set priorities. How I set up my day, how I get so much stuff done, how I stay on track and focused, and how I decide which things to fit in and which things to cut.
Lately so many of you have been asking for advice on time management.
I’m certainly not an expert, but I thrive on routine and manage to get a lot of things done in a day, so I wanted to share some of my best tips for managing your time so you can get a lot of things done without burning yourself out.
My number one piece of advice is to find a routine that works for you and stick with it.
This is truly the only way I get so many things done and don’t lose my mind.
You can see our full daily routine HERE.
You might think it’s boring to do the same thing every single day — wake up at the same time, do everything in the same order, workout at the same time, etc. But here’s the reason I do it: because daily repetition makes it a habit, and once it’s a habit it makes it mindless.
I don’t have to decide what to eat, or when to workout, or when to do the dishes, and then feel frustrated when I don’t get to it. I just automatically do it.
If I had to make decisions about my routine every single day, I’d use so much brain and willpower, instead of saving that brain power for work or my kids or my husband.
Making your daily routine mindless gives you so much freedom to get more stuff done. Seriously.
Make a list of your top few priorities and schedule those first.
Back in 2017, I sat down and wrote out my priorities:
- Exercise everyday
- Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night
- scripture study/prayer every day
- One on one time with each child every day
Once I had these priorities, I built my day around them.
When was I going to fit in exercise? I knew I had to be ready for the day by 7:20 in order to get my oldest off to school on time, so I worked backward from there and landed at at wake up time of 5:40, get in my workout clothes, study my scriptures/pray for 15 minutes, then workout for 30 minutes. This gave me time to shower and quickly get ready by 7:20.
If I had to get up at 5:40, and still get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, I had to be in bed by 10:00 and asleep by 10:30.
After I had built in my priorities, I built in my work schedule. And then the rest of my responsibilities for the day.
Building my daily routine in this way allowed me to make sure I fit in the things I really wanted. IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
Learn tactics to keep yourself focused, and watch for your triggers.
I am the queen of getting distracted. And in the age of social media, I think we all have learned to have the attention span of a goldfish sometimes.
The biggest help for staying focused is turning on a sound machine. You can find white noise apps on your phone, or just type “white noise” into youtube and find hours of it.
Here are some of my triggers that I have to watch for:
- Facebook. It’s my go-to when there’s something I want to put off for a little while. I don’t even care about Facebook, but for some reason it’s my trigger for when I’m avoiding a task.
- Snacking. I eat lunch during my work hours, but I also get up and go get a snack when I’m feeling bored or unenthusiastic about work.
- Alerts. Our brains love alerts because they’re a momentary pull to something new, but they are so bad for your focus! So I turn on my “Do Not Disturb” on my phone, watch, and computer so I have no buzzing, pinging, or slide in notifications at all during my work hours.
- Email. I try not to keep my email open during my work day because watching the little number of emails change throughout the day is super distracting for me. Instead, I just check it every hour or two to make sure there’s nothing urgent.
My mantra for time management.
Every time I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I repeat in my mind, “I have time for everything I need to get done!“
I spend plenty of time during my day scrolling through my phone, or wasting time in some other way, so if I take out those time sucks I definitely have time for everything I need to get done.
I just have to remind myself of that sometimes — there are enough hours in the day, just don’t waste them away!
Make a list and check it twice.
I’m a total list person. Not everyone is a list person, but I definitely am.
At the beginning of each work day, I sit down and make a list of things I need to accomplish that day, or that week, and then I slowly make my way through them.
Crossing things off a list brings me so much satisfaction, and it keeps me moving through my day.
Prep as much as you can.
- Make grocery lists so your time at the grocery store is short and efficient.
- Make a menu for the week so you don’t have to spend time deciding what to make for dinner.
- Prep your kid’s school lunches the night before.
- Set out your clothes the night before so you don’t have to decide what do wear in the morning
- Start the dishwasher at night after dinner so you don’t have to do the dirty dishes in the morning before you can make breakfast and clean up.
- Make your lunch in the morning at breakfast time so it’s ready to go at noon.
These are just a few of the things I do that make my day run more smoothly and save me tons of time in the long run. Figure out what things you could prep in your home that would save you time and energy. It makes such a difference!
I hope these tips are helpful — they make a big difference for me in how much I’m able to accomplish in a day, a week, and a month!
And of course, if you have any other questions, leave me a comment!
photos by Priscilla Frey