5 to THRIVE: Be the Master of Time with these 5 Tips
For many of us, the struggle to manage our time is very real
- Change your sleeping pattern, just a little
- Pinpoint how and why you procrastinate
- Prep meals in advance, and in bulk
- Plan your day by the hour (on your 1THRIVE center)
- Set deadlines, and time yourself completing them
Time is a funny thing. Now that most of us are working from home, you’d think we’d have a lot more of it. There aren’t as many outings, no soccer practice or summer activities to take kids to, and no big birthday parties to attend. We’re spending way more time indoors, yet time still seems to be a fleeting commodity. Typical!
This is especially true since the kids are home from school, still. Having to balance working from home and taking care of our kids who really don’t want to do their virtual homework can be tough. And we can find ourselves running out of time (and patience!) before we know it.
So what do we do? How can you get that time back? Well, you can’t (d’oh!). However, there are ways to refresh your time management skills and restructure how you use it.
So, drum roll please, here’s how you can get started.
1. Alter your sleeping pattern slightly
We state slightly because you really don’t want to mess with your sleeping cycle. We know it’s a precious commodity, and nobody wants to lose sleep.
Hear us out for just a minute. Try going to bed a half-hour earlier than usual, then set your alarm to a half-hour earlier the next morning to wake up. This will give you an extra 30 minutes in the morning to be more productive without really losing any sleep. See what we did there. It’s a win-win scenario.
You can change this gradually, and as time goes by, maybe try a whole hour. Once you’re used to the new schedule, you may find that you don’t really need to go to bed earlier after all.
The world is a much quieter place in the morning, so having a little extra time to get started on work or kids’ breakfasts can save you a bunch of time and stress later in the day.
2. Identify any distractions
Procrastination is not our friend. If you find your main distraction is social media, then install an app blocker on your phone. This is a great alternative to uninstalling the app entirely. We didn’t even want to pitch that as an option.
Or if you don’t need your device for your chosen task at all, you can move your phone to the other side of the room and turn off nonessential notifications.
If simply you can’t work in silence, but find yourself singing along to your favorite songs, try listening to white noise or nature sounds.
It’s also important to work out why you’re procrastinating; is it because you’re bored? Try and find a way to make your tasks more enjoyable.
Are you tired? Do some quick desk exercises to get the blood pumping.
Are you too excited about an activity you’ve got planned for yourself that evening? Make a deal with yourself. If you complete your to-do list, that will be your reward. If you don’t, move it to tomorrow as an incentive.
3. Prep meals in bulk
Think about it. If you cook dinner for an hour every day, that’s seven hours of cooking demolished in one fell swoop.
That’s a whole evening worth of time added to your weekly schedule. If you’re already a fan of prepping meals in advance, you could gain even more time by tweaking it a little.
Instead of boxing up four extra portions of a certain meal, try six, that’s two extra days worth of food just by adding a few extra tomatoes and potatoes.
Just make sure anything you’re making is batch-cooking friendly and freezes well. Meatloaf and Currys are okay to reheat, but eggs tend to explode in the microwave, and stir-fry can really dry out over time.
4. Schedule your to-do’s by the hour
Having everything mapped out as a guide will help you decide what to do, when to do it, how long to do it for, and how to fit it in alongside other tasks.
That’s not to say you have to stick to it 100%. After all, you’ll always get a random phone call that takes longer than expected. Or your kid might need an emergency cuddle session halfway through a very important email.
Planning everything out so specifically will help you realize which tasks are being rushed, and which you’re spending too long on.
Research shows that our brains can only really focus for around two hours before a break is needed. So if you’re spending four hours in a row coding a computer program, you may want to split that into two-hour chunks instead.
Plan your hourly schedule onto your 1THRIVE Center, so you can visibly see it throughout your day. Visibility of your to-do list is key in making sure you actually follow it, after all. It’s also incredibly satisfying crossing things off that list, giving a sense of real accomplishment.
5. Set deadlines and time yourself when doing tasks
There’s no point in rushing, of course. On top of setting a day to complete your task, you can also select a time window. Say you have a report to write or a form to fill out, you’ll procrastinate a lot less if you give yourself a set time to do it in.
This ties into the idea of scheduling your day by the hour, because if you have three hours to do three things, you’re going to want to do one per hour rather than spending three hours on one thing.
This is so much easier on your mental health, and you’ll be way more productive as a result. And who knows, maybe by the end of the day you’ll have collected a few extra hours for something fun! When it’s all said and done, be sure to reward yourself: you deserve it!
Our 1THRIVE Centers are fantastic for planning your family’s schedule. The Brooke has loads of room for hourly timetables, calendars, to-do lists, and so much more.
1THRIVE creates beautiful, customizable command centers with interchangeable components that support your efforts to live a more organized life. Find your ideal 1THRIVE Center here and follow us on Facebook for more advice on living your best life.