Are you increasing the value of your time, or devaluing it? We may not all have the same amount of money, but we all have the same amount of time. When I heard that, all I could say is ”Wow!” I’m sure I’ve heard something similar to that over the years an it sat with me for a moment, but it didn’t stick. As I move further into this season of transformation, I realize the importance of using my time wisely. Don’t get me wrong, I love my weekly Netflix binge session, but it is planned out. We all need a day of rest, or maybe even two to recharge our batteries. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup. And if there is one thing that I have learned over the years is wellness is extremely important. That’s a blog for another day.
So how does one increase the value of their time and be more productive? There are several ways – here are ten to get you started:
- Plan your day – or it will be planned for you. Distractions are enemies to your plans. I love to-do list. Why? Because they keep me focused on what needs to get done. Instead of making your list in the morning when you start your day, make it at night. This way you go to sleep faster and don’t spend time mentally reviewing what you have to do the next day when you should be dreaming about your next big idea. *Bonus – Time block your schedule and work in 20 or 30 minute increments. You’ll be surprised by how much you can get done in a short amount of time.
- Prioritize your day – Let’s face it, to-do list don’t always get done in the same day. I’ve heard from several people including Tim Ferris in his book “The 4-Hour Work Week” -that you should never have more than two or three must do things on your list each day. The others are nice-to do’s, not must-do’s. I know I’m not the only one that feels guilty when I don’t get everything on my list done, so why not just put the most important items at the top and focus there and stop stressing? When you get them done, celebrate your accomplishments. I personally like a 30 second dance party which I borrowed from Grey’s Anatomy years ago. Guilt free and you burn a few calories. For the really big one’s celebrate accordingly.
- Identity your passion(s). What sparks joy in your life? When you think about it you smile and get a sudden burst of energy even after you’ve worked yourself so hard that all you can think about is face planting into your bed and sleeping for days. – I’m sure all of the parents out there and recovering workaholics can relate. – My point is, do what makes you happy and stick to it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do those things that don’t energize you but you must do, some do have a purpose. Get a job or start a business in a field that you enjoy. Maybe pick up a hobby. Life is too short to be miserable. And for those who still believe in waiting until your “golden” years to live, just STOP IT. You are living your best years now, enjoy them.
- Determine your peak hours. What are the most productive times for you during the day. Are you a morning person who gets a bolt of energy from 8:00 – 10:00 am? do you work best when everyone else is sleeping? Who said 9:00 – 5:00 was one size fits all? Identify patterns when you feel most energized and schedule your most strategic work then.
- Set goals and take action. It’s the first week of the new year and everyone is riding the “New Year, New Me” wave. Have you really wrote out what you want to accomplish this year, or are you just letting life happen to you? Complacency is a disease that has taken over and killed a lot of dreams. It’s not too late to start living. If you are old school, pull out a sheet of paper and write out your goals for the year. For the tech folks, do it in your phone or on your laptop. And if you are really creative, turn your goals into artwork – I like using Canva for my visuals. You can start by working in categories such as family, career, health, faith, fun, finance. However you choose to get them out, just do it. Then break those goals down into actions/milestone to help you achieve them. Lastly, write down how you will celebrate accomplishing that goal.
- Learn something new. Learning is not meant to be done in just a classroom. Incorporate learning into your flow of life. My go to’s are podcast and Audible. Listen while you work out, get ready for your day, drive to work. I can get through a book in a week instead of taking a month to read it. If it’s really good, I buy the physical book and make notes in the pages. You can increase your value by learning a new skill. The excuse of, “I can’t do that because I don’t know how,” is no longer valid. There is a book, a video, or a course on anything you want to do. What can you learn now to help you achieve one of your goals?
- Forget the past and design your future. You are more than your past. Somethings that happened to you were out of your control, it’s time to take control back. Who do you want to be? Will you let your past define who you are? Believe it or not, everything that happened to you, happened for you. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true. I am a testimony for that. When I stopped living in my past, my present changed. I am not the person I was five years ago or even last year. Again, that’s story for another day but the bottom line is, you can design your future. What do you want? Who do you want to be?
- Assess your relationships. Are the people you are hanging out with worthy of your time? Are they helping you get closer to your goals? We have all heard the saying, some people are in your life for a season, a reason, or a life time? Not everyone can go where you are going. Personal development when you really do the work is an intimate and emotional process. It will reveal a lot to you. Be strong enough to let things and people go, they may be what’s holding you back from walking in your purpose.
- Evaluate how you are investing your time. Are you doing things that are productive or just doing busy work? I’m guilty of this too. We can find all the things to distract us from getting things done like watching tv, gossiping with friends, scrolling through social media, or what about changing our brand colors for the 20th time. Busy work. It doesn’t get you anywhere and that to-do list just continues to get longer and go unchecked. Can you feel the guilt rising? So, refer back to all of the previous tips and do an evaluation. If it’s not getting you closer to your goal, as many songs will tell you, “you gotta let it go.”
- Believe you are worthy. This one can take time. The personal development journey is never ending. You have to work on it daily. Sometime it starts by someone else telling you they believe in you and helps you push through when you don’t feel like it. Sometimes, it’s you getting to your breaking point and telling yourself you have had Enough. This is where transformation begins. I don’t recommend you take this journey alone. Through the help of coaches, I rediscovered my worth. Now, I help others do the same. I’ve been there and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Stop letting others waste your time. You are worthy of living an extraordinary life. Believe it. Design it. Take action.
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