Sadly I am not a time-travelling Doctor with a Tardis and glamorous assistant, able to morph time and space, and travel through it at will.
But as if by magic (not really) I can help you to create some more that most precious of resources – time.
You see, we all want more time.
And I’m going to go out on a limb here and risk having virtual rotten tomatoes thrown at me, but we all waste time.
No matter how we dress it up, we often make ourselves so busy, doing stuff that doesn’t actually get us anywhere, that doesn’t really move our businesses forwards.
Things like getting sucked into the social media rabbit hole, endlessly checking e-mails, ding-batting around from one thing to the next without making progress on any of them.
I heard someone refer to this recently as being a ‘busy fool’ and it struck a chord with me – I very often feel like a busy fool (should I admit to that..?!).
I have to squeeze my work into the hours in between the school runs, and usually end up doing bits in the evenings too. Time is precious. Yet I spend so much of my available time being unproductive – checking into Facebook and Twitter, pretending to myself that I’m ‘networking’, or flicking over to my e-mails every 5 minutes to see if anyone loves me and wants to play. I start on one thing, whether it’s a blog post, or recording a podcast, or creating new resources, and then get distracted by something else that suddenly needs to be done and has to take priority, only to get distracted by yet another thing 10 minutes later.
Does any of this sound familiar..?!
Maybe the title of this post was a little bit misleading – I’m not going to show you how to create time. It turns out I don’t have super-human powers after all. But I am going to share some strategies for how to get more productive with the time you have, so that you can ‘create’ an extra 30 minutes of time each day.
Even if you just do that for the weekdays, that’s an extra 2.5 hours a week, or 10 hours a month, or FIFTEEN extra days in a year.
It doesn’t even have to be a half hour block of time, it could be three lots of ten minutes, or two 15 minute slots. It might be different on different days, depending on your schedule and your other commitments – work out a couple of alternative strategies so that if you can’t do a whole 30 minutes one day then you’ve got a back up plan.
The key is blocking out that time and making it focussed, productive time. Free from any distractions.
So first up, where are you currently wasting time?
You need to establish where you are currently actually spending your time, vs where you like to tell yourself you are spending your time. It’s a bit like when the Doctor asks you how many units you drink a week, or how many doughnuts you eat – the temptation is to tell a slightly watered down version of the truth!
I’ve got a podcast episode all about how to keep a time log, and how it can help to identify your time sucks – you can find it here, and there’s a downloadable time log if you want one to print out just here – Time Log.
I’ve talked already about the constant pull of the distractions of social media and e-mails. I hardly dare do this but I’m sure if I added all of the ‘5 minutes’ here, and ‘2 minutes’ there over the course of day, it would very definitely add up to more than half an hour.
Where are you currently spending more time than you know you should be? Be honest – there’s no judgement here!
Where can you create ‘new time’?
Can you get up half an hour earlier in the mornings? Or just 2 or 3 mornings a week?
Can you go to bed half an hour later?
Can you use half an hour of your lunch hour (if you get a lunch hour..!)?
Can you get up 15 minutes early and go to bed 15 minutes later?
Do you have any trapped time in between meetings or phone calls, that could be used more productively?
Could you watch just the one episode of Orange is the New Black/Suits/House of Cards/insert other addictive box-set title here instead of two..?!
Where can you save time?
Are there any things you currently do that you could outsource?
Even if it’s not work-related stuff, could you ‘outsource’ bath times to hubby/wife-y/life partner a couple of evenings a week? Or could you batch cook some meals so you can just grab something out of the freezer once or twice a week? Could you use your commuting time more effectively?
How can you make the time you do have more productive?
What boundaries can you put around social media, or e-mails, or whatever it is that keeps you unproductively busy?
The Pomodoro technique is a good one – you can download an app for your phone that you set for 25 or 40 minutes, and then use that time for just ONE thing, whether that’s writing a blog post, tackling your finances, or contacting prospective new clients. You can also use this technique for your distractions too – set a timer for 10 minutes and when it goes off it’s time to turn off social media and get back to work!
Hopefully this will have given you some ideas, or at the very least got the old grey matter thinking about where you might be able to ‘find’ an extra half an hour of time each day (failing all of these, look down the back of the sofa-you never know what you might find…). You will no doubt have your own ideas, your own solutions and strategies that work for you, so do share what they are.
And keep in mind when things get tough, or you’re tempted to stay in bed for that extra 30 minutes snoozing, that this all adds up to an extra FIFTEEN work days in a year – if that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!
PS. If you love the idea of creating just an extra half an hour a day to get some big hairy goals ticked off, then do and join me for Making Good in 30, which starts on the 1st September .
I’ll help you create that all important 30 minutes, for the 30 days of September, pick one goals to focus on that will really help you move your business forwards, and be by your side to cheer you on/kick you up the bum, keep you on track and accountable!
There’s tons more info here 🙂