How often do you get to the end of the day, week or month and feel disappointed in how much you got done? Whether it’s your productivity at work, a project at home, spending time with your family and friends, fitting in exercise, or starting a new hobby, you feel like you never have enough time. Maybe you’re even rushing to read this post right now? I know the feeling well too. But I’ve figured out there is one big unsuspecting reason for this sometimes. And I’ve also learnt a bunch of other little techniques that can help you do more with your time. So let’s cover those techniques first and then I’ll share my one big reason you can feel like you never have enough time.
My 7 favourite time-saving techniques
1. Put it on paper
It’s great to have an idea of how you want to spend your time, but you really need to be writing it down. Whether it’s a ten year, 12 month, 4 week or 1 day plan – write it down. Firstly writing it down gets all that swirly whirly mess out of your head and turns it in the a neat little tangible list. Secondly research has found that writing to-do’s, goals and dreams down makes you 42% more likely to achieve them. The reasoning behind this is that when you think about something you use the imaginative right side of the brain. But when you also write it down you use the logical left side of your brain. By using the left side of your brain you lock your goal into your subconscious awareness.
2. Adjust your expectations
How many times have you got to the end of the day, week, month or year feeling unaccomplished because you still have unticked boxes on your to-do list? Something we are all really good at is setting ourselves up for failure by putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Instead of making a list of all the things you want to get done in a day, week or month, make a list of the things you think you can realistically get done in that time. Be honest with yourself about how long you think something will actually take not how long you would like it to take. We all have different commitments, schedules, energy levels, health situations and skill levels. So acknowledge what yours are and take them into account when you put expectations on yourself. It is absolutely ok to go slower (or faster) than others.
3. Slow down your pace
We live in a world that is constantly adapting, growing, changing and getting faster and faster at it all. A place where instant gratification is no longer good enough. Where more people than ever before are working more, sleeping less, not using their full leave entitlements and avoiding sick leave in favour of keeping up with their work. As we all rush through life, only skimming the surface, we are missing out on the people, things and experiences that bring us joy. Which for me raises the question – what is the point? It’s time we all started adjusting our priorities and thinking about quality over quantity. A the moment I am reading In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed and so far am loving it!
4. Prioritise your priorities
Fail safe your to-do list by prioritizing. It’s common sense I know but by making sure your most time critical items are the top of your list you’ll focus on them first rather than procrastinating or getting distracted by other smaller things. This will help keep your stress levels in check and when you don’t get through your whole list at least the things at the bottom can wait.
5. Multi-task smarter
It seems to be a common misconception that our brains are able to focus on two or more things at once. When actually it’s scientifically impossible. So when we try to do two or more things that require our attention at the same time we actually get them both done slower than we would if we just did one at a time. As well as this it takes more energy for our brain to switch back and forth between tasks. However all of this doesn’t mean you can’t multi task in a way that does make you more productive. You just have to get smarter about it. I find pairing an attention heavy task with a little or no attention task works perfectly to save time. For example I will call my mum and do my hair and makeup at the same time, listen to a podcast and eat breakfast at the same time or (as I am doing right now on a flight from Poland to Zurich), write or read while I’m in transit.
6. Take away the distractions
You may have heard of a on trend time management technique called the Pomodoro Technique? If not it’s where you set yourself an intention and an allotted amount of time and then you give all your attention to it for that time. Once the time is up you give yourself a predetermined amount of time for a break. Then on to the next task and so on. No checking your phone, no aimless browsing the web and no sneaky little coffee breaks. It’s amazing how much faster you can get things done when you take away those distractions that don’t actually achieve anything! So get yourself a Pomodoro app (I like Be Focused), put your phone on ‘do not disturb mode’ (or even better put it out of reach or in a different room), close your web browser (unless you need it for the task at hand) and set yourself up with anything you might need (like a glass of water) while your focusing on the task at hand.
7. Slow down the changes
A mistake I’ve made quite recently is trying to add too many changes or new things to my routine at once. I wanted to start getting up earlier and doing yoga, journaling and meditating before getting ready and having breakfast. But still be at my desk by 9am. So I overwhelmed myself by trying to make too many changes at once. Which meant it all felt too hard and I didn’t do any of it. But when I took a step back and tried adding in one new change at a time, I found it much easier to stick to. I’m now at a point where I do all those things everyday (well mostly everyday) and don’t even think twice about it, but only because I gave myself the time to adjust.
One big reason you feel like you never have enough time
As much as all of the little things I’ve listed above will help you start to build a healthier relationship with time this one can be the biggest for some of us. It should also be your first priority when it comes to how you decide to spend your time. And that is you need to tune in to your intuition and go with what flows and feels good. I strongly believe we all have a calling, and we are all capable of following that calling.
But if you try to force yourself to stick to a certain routine or do something you just aren’t feeling, then you’re not going to get far with it. It’ll feel exhausting and you’ll procrastinate, and that will lead you to feeling like you never get enough done and you never have enough time. But the worst thing of all is that you’ll be so focused on forcing something that you’ll potentially miss out on noticing ideas or opportunities that come to you – the ones that will get you on your way to your right path.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should never have to work hard or put in effort. I can also appreciate that we all have bad days. But when it becomes more than just the off day here and there then that should raise a flag. For a majority of the time the hard work and effort should feel like something you’re excited to do. It should bring you joy and a feeling of accomplishment.
I understand most of us just can’t just go and quit our job because we don’t love it. However, we can choose how we spend our personal time. So maybe you’ll use it to study something your passionate about or put together applications for new jobs. It’s not about quitting, it’s about being open to opportunities and following the ones that feel right when they come up.
What are your thoughts on going with the flow? And have you got any other techniques for feeling more productive?
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These items are from my ’17 Autumn Capsule Wardrobe. You can shop them and support Jayde Archives at the same time by using some of the affiliate links below:
- Witchery grey long sleeve top
- Witchery Grey sweater (old, similar here or similar ethical option)
- Forever New blue jeans
- Blush scarf
- Wittner black lace up boots (old, similar here)
- Daniel Wellington watch
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