Some people talk about how busy they are, almost as if it were a badge of honour. I often hear the phrase “if only I had more time.”
While there is officially one extra-long day per year Summer Solstice – wishing there were more hours in each day isn’t as productive as using the hours you have more efficiently.
What things could you schedule?
Schedule time for relationships
Whether it is with friends, family or your spouse, scheduling in time says that ‘you are important to me, you are a priority.’ Coffee with a friend, date night once a month, or regular family dinners; whatever it is, it might sound too small or silly to schedule, but these are often the thigs that can get pushed aside when you start to feel overwhelmed. Interestingly these occasions can be the most important; reducing stress and offering a sounding board to bounce ideas off when you are feeling stressed out at work, or want to brainstorm ideas for a new side hustle.
Schedule your workouts
Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to exercise, if it isn’t scheduled it won’t happen. I have team sports – netball and football for me – are scheduled in first as they are the biggest commitment in terms of time and money and have the largest impact if I miss them. I used to schedule in time for practice hikes leading up to a big event and now lean more towards making time for yoga in the evenings to relax and unwind before bed.
Making time for physical activity is important for your overall health and wellbeing and can give you more energy to fit in everything else you have scheduled in.
Schedule your work day
Have you noticed how some people get up and leave at 5pm without a care I the world? Are you jealous of those people or think that they aren’t working as hard as you because they don’t stay back late every night?
I’m happy to say I’m one of those people that leave on time most days, and I get as much done as the next person, if not more (you don’t get ‘excellent’ performance appraisals every year if you aren’t adding value to the company!). The reason I can do this is that I schedule my workday.
Since I know I’m going to be in the office for at least 8-9 hours, 5 days a week this is an easy chunk of time to mark out, but I could easily waste lot of time in there if I didn’t break it down further than just ‘work’. I spend 5-10 minutes each morning working out a plan for the day, readjusting based on new priorities and then can jump right in and focus on getting things done. I’ve also found that if I had blocks of time marked out in my shared diary, people won’t book useless and time wasting meetings in my most productive work hours and these can be pushed out to the afternoon when I can happily take a mental break and be confident I’ve done a large chunk of valuable work. Staying focussed and knowing where my projects are up to means I can leave on time every day, guilt free.
Schedule your meal times
Some people may think this is taking scheduling a step too far, I used to think so too, but trust me – it works! I find the times I splurge and binge eat sugar or buy takeout on my way home are the times when I haven’t stuck to my eating schedule and my insulin levels crash. Scheduling and planning meals in advance means I can have healthy food on hand, nourishing by body and keeping more money in my pocket.
Other hidden benefits of scheduling
Besides the immediate impacts listed above, scheduling my time has also resulted in some other positive side effects I didn’t expect at first.
I don’t waste as much time
By scheduling my time I know exactly what I’m doing and can make sure I have time to do all the fun (or important) things first. I don’t schedule time to ‘watch TV’ or ‘scroll Facebook’ so I don’t often fall into the trap of starting one of those activities and then hours later wonder ‘where did all my time go?’
I make more money
By scheduling my workday and staying focussed on producing results it was much easier for me to negotiate above average pay rises year on year (read 14% and 28% consecutively). That’s just in my day job. Since I don’t waste time on meaningless activities, I am able to schedule in more time for my side hustles. This means I am easily able to manage 3-4 clients or projects at once, adding in extra income streams without the extra stress.
I feel more in control
There is a feeling of productivity and power in managing your time effectively and achieving everything you’ve set as a task. I think of the blocks in my day a ‘to do’ list and with each passing chunk of time I tick off I get a small but addictive high that makes me want to keep doing it.
People admire my approach
I’ve had a few clients (and even some friends and family) say they love how organised I am and that they like working with me because they know what they will get and when. I am always as flexible as possible without compromising on my personal time and they respect and admire my approach. Those who really want to secure my time get their schedules in well in advance. If you respect your time, others will too.
It is easier to fit in last minute emergencies
You might think this is counterintuitive to an organised schedule; however it has actually been easier. I can easily see what is work related and what is personal and I know exactly what things can be flexible if really needed. The only way this works is ensuring it is a real emergency, and doesn’t happen too often. I can often fit something in last minute and know that I’ll sacrifice some me time every now and then, or if needed ask clients to rearrange a meeting or push back a deadline. If I did this every week because I had overbooked myself then it would become tiresome, however because I am usually very organised, people are much more understanding.
You too can schedule your time to become happier and earn more money
Combine that small win feeling with all of the extra work you got done, money you’ve earned side hustling and stronger relationships you’ve built and you’ll notice your happiness levels increase too. If you aren’t ready to jump in and start scheduling your whole life all at once, start off with just one of these suggestions and go from there. A word of warning, it can get quite addictive.
Do you schedule your time? Have you noticed any results? What’s the smallest thing you’ve ever scheduled?