It’s 9PM. An entire day has gone by and it feels as though I have been running all day long. I’m exhausted! The kids are finally in bed and I’m ready to pour into bed myself. SHIT! The sink is full of dirty dishes. Ugh and I forgot to send those e-mails my boss wanted sent out. And…I don’t have food for lunches tomorrow. How is it that I got up at 6:30a, worked my ass off all day and still feel like I got nothing done???– Camille, age 43, In Demand Woman from WI
Time is your biggest asset…and sometimes it feels like managing your time is your biggest enemy!
Why are we constantly rushing to get it ALL DONE? Why is there never enough time? Why are we always in a panic, set to urgent mode and feeling like our stress & adrenaline are through the roof?
The first thing you need to know is…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
The second thing you need to know is…THIS FRENETIC PACE CAN BE STOPPED!
The third thing you need to know is…WE ARE HERE TO HELP!
Mindset and Reframing
Mindset and reframing are critical to your success when it comes to managing your time. Let’s start by talking about mindset and mindset growth. What words do you use to describe your sense of time flow? If the first words that come to mind are “frenetic”, “lacking”, “need more”, then you might want to consider how you can adjust your perspective.
If you want to change your mindset about how much time you have in a day, then you have to start by understanding how you spend your time. A time audit provides a deep-dive about where your time is spent.
Warning! Doing a time audit can be scary. You must be honest and not cheat yourself. Take one week and write down EVERYTHING you do during the day. That’s right…EVERYTHING! From brushing your teeth, to eating lunch, to (gulp!) scrolling Instagram.
Once you have completed your time audit, look at it to see where you might be wasting time. Can you be more intentional and therefore efficient with your managing your time? If you spend more time at the office completing projects and less time procrastinating, will you feel less frenetic?
The answer: Yes!
A time audit allows you to really understand how you are currently spending time and then gives you a tool to reset intentions and adjust as necessary to increase progress.
One other mindset hack is reframing thoughts. While the daily goal is to minimize activities you don’t want to do, when you encounter one of these “time monsters”, adjusting your internal language from “I HAVE to do ____” to “I GET to do _____” is a subtle shift that can make a huge impact.
“Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then disputing irrational or maladaptive thoughts. Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives.”
When you reframe thoughts, you change your brain waves and how your mind perceives what you are doing. Often times, we need to use this reframing strategy to accomplish tasks that need to get done, but don’t necessarily excite us. Make your time energy fun and sassy and reframe thoughts from negative to positive.
Prioritize Your Time
Do you plan ahead or do you hope that your day will flow the way you want it to? As we have said before “hope is not a strategy” and if you keep on hoping… well, let’s just say you are not going to feel in control!
One way to prioritize your time is to reverse engineer your day. By reverse engineering, you can see where time needs to be spent and how you can best structure those precious minutes and hours. For example, if you know that you have between 6:30 AM -9 PM to get done all your daily demands, work backwards to create a realistic schedule.
9 PM Bedtime/wind down
8 PM-9 PM Spend time with kids
6 PM-7 PM Dinner time
1 PM-5 PM Work
12 PM-1 PM Lunch time
9 AM-12 PM Work
8 AM-8:30 AM Drop off kids
6:30 AM-7:30 AM Wake up/Get ready for the day
When you work backwards you put a deadline on your time, meaning that you have a finite amount of time to complete what you need to. In this example, you can see that 9 PM means time to wind down and get ready for bed. Therefore, you know that you will need to do all your work tasks in your allotted 8 hours of work (9 AM-5 PM).
Another strategy is the traffic light strategy. Start each day with a list of things that need to get done. Categorize each item as either:
Red: Must get done today
Yellow: Should get done today
Green: Can get done today, not essential
Start with the reds, move through the yellows and then tackle the greens. Each day green items that don’t get completed become either yellow or red, but this will help you know where you need to start putting your effort each day.
Prioritizing will help you manage your time and lead to increased productivity and less procrastination. Focus on “I get to do my prioritized tasks” and you will feel accomplished and inspired as you move through your day.
Breathing is a great technique to create a sense of calm and also create more space in your day. Make sure you read our full article on why breathwork is important. As a reminder, slowing down and taking calm, meditative breaths is extremely beneficial to your mental health.
Start small and do this consistently and you will FEEL the difference. Anytime you feel the time pressure caving in set your timer for 2 minutes, close your eyes (unless you are driving, then pull over first!), and slowly inhale and exhale. When the timer rings, re-assess your priorities and continue. Repeat this throughout your day.
Another breathing strategy is counting your breaths. Sit up straight and close your eyes. As you inhale count “1”, on the exhale count “2”. Do this 10 times. By the end of 10 breaths you will feel calm and you will be able to focus on what your next task should be.
Block your time
Time blocking is one of the best ways to manage your time. You can create blocks of time in either a digital or paper planner to schedule what needs to get done. Take this a step forward by color coding your blocks so you have a clear visual each day.
Block scheduling is especially important for recurring daily or weekly events. The non-recurring tasks should be inserted around those that are recurring.
When you block time on your calendar, you need to stick to the plan! Use our traffic light strategy to decide what to block each day. Prioritize your tasks/events/to-dos so that the most important ones get done first and don’t go by the wayside.
What is holding you back from doing that one “yellow” or “red“? It’s amazing how our mind will play tricks on us to distract us and take our focus! And it’s not just our minds! We are all constantly faced with distractions…other people, phone calls, text messages, social media, etc.
However, are you going to let those distractions take control of you? No way! You are a HERO (not a victim!) and you are in control of your time.
When you hesitate or procrastinate, your calendar keeps filling up, your mind feels cluttered and the overwhelm kicks in. So if you find that you are avoiding certain tasks, ask yourself why. Spend some time figuring out what is really holding you back. Is it fear? Is it lack of information? Is it boredom?
Are you going to let those distractions take control of you? No way! You are a HERO (not a victim!) and you are in control of your time.
Once you get to the root of the issue, face it head on and work through it. Remember the 5 second rule? Just get moving and don’t overthink what needs to get done. You will feel so much better on the other side!
Get up earlier & take time for you
One of our favorite life hacks is get up an hour earlier…just for YOU!!! As an In Demand Woman, your day is demanding and full of priorities. If you can start your day with intention and self-care, you will work more efficiently throughout your day.
Set your alarm 30-60 minutes earlier than you have been, get up and take that time to journal, read, focus on your gratitude and meditate. You will be more focused and efficient than if you had just hit the snooze button.
The caveat to this recommendation is that you have to be realistic. If you have a baby or young child that wakes you up all night…this might not work for your life right now! If you work 3 jobs and only get 4-5 hours of sleep…this might not work for your life right now!
However, if you can create even a 30-minute time period first thing each morning to make space just for you, then you will feel more confident in how you manage your time.
Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help! It takes a village to live life. Humans are social creatures and we can’t go at it alone.
Decide what things can be offloaded from your plate and ask for help from your partner, your kids, your co-workers. Hire people to help you with mundane tasks that are not a good use of your time.
Sometimes it seems scary asking for help. Especially as an In Demand Woman, you are used to doing it all. You are used to being everything to everyone. We know you are superwoman and YOU CAN do it all. However, if it is beneficial to offload certain demands on your time, do it. Asking for help shows strength and courage.
No one expects you to do it all. When you feel like your world is caving in because your time is stretched too thin, you are not taking care of yourself. We want to encourage you to practice sustainable self-care. When you can get help, take it.
You are used to being everything to everyone. We know you are superwoman and YOU CAN do it all. Asking for help shows strength and courage.
Don’t forget the white space
Have you ever looked at your calendar for the day or week and seen every moment filled? And then the panic and dread start to kick in?
Imagine if you were to schedule time for you. Imagine if you were to block off “unscheduled time”. Imagine seeing the white space on your calendar where no one NEEDS you to do anything.
Sometimes it feels as though we CAN’T create white space, but we want to encourage you to change your mindset from a scarcity mindset around time and reframe thoughts to an abundance mindset to best manage your time.
That is the space we need to live in. We need to create intentional time for NOTHING. If you schedule every minute of every day, you will never feel peace or calm. Further, you won’t be able to account for the curve-balls that life is likely to throw at you.
A great strategy to manage your time is to leave white space on your calendar daily so you have flexibility in your schedule to deal with…life! And if nothing comes up, use it to do something that fills your cup!
Put on your oxygen mask first!
It’s funny how we are always so busy…rather, In Demand…that we FORGET ourselves. Why is that? We know we should practice self-care and prioritize ourselves. However, it’s easy for us to forget this basic life need!
When you neglect your own needs, you will feel resentful, stressed, anxious. You will shut down and reach burn out. Burnout can be defined as:
- “A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations.” – Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson.
- “A state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward.” – Herbert J. Freudenberger.
Therefore, if you are in a burnout state, you will not show up in your life the way you want to.
So, how do you put on your oxygen mask first? Some examples of sustainable self-care practices are:
- Say No
- Surround yourself with people who lift you up
- Respect your boundaries and listen to your heart
- Get enough sleep, eat well and exercise daily
- Practice gratitude
- Have fun!
- Hug your loved ones
Put on your oxygen mask and start using these strategies to manage your time. You will begin to feel in control and confident daily! We have one life to live, and if we are constantly struggling to figure out how to cram it all in… well, that’s not much LIVING. That is existing.
You are an In Demand woman and you are worthy of LIVING your best life!
Put on your oxygen mask and implement these time management strategies to feel in control and confident daily. Otherwise, that’s not much LIVING….that is existing.
Managing your time is critical to your In Demand lifestyle. Therefore, we have to feel confident that we can prioritize ourselves. This means making your healthy lifestyle a non-negotiable. At Sassy Healthy Fit we are here to provide you tools to do so. But it starts with YOU making the choice to create sustainable, healthy lifestyle habits that will allow you to be the most efficient, kick ass, powerful woman you can be!
We would love to know how you can start managing your time better and how these tips positively influence your healthy lifestyle. Comment below and let us know what method you are implementing today. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and on social media (and tag us @sassyhealthyfit).