Whether you’re an entrepreneur or have a full-time, it’s crucial to get things done to organize your life. Check these 3 tips to become more productive and avoid wasting time.
Recently, I was chatting with two friends about life stuff, and they asked me the magic question: “How do you find time to do everything?“.
If you want to get more done without added stress, plan it! #coaching #planning Click To Tweet
The answer is quite simple: with planning.
What did they mean by “everything”?
Well, back then, I had a full-time job.
My hours were flexible, and if you are a workaholic too, you know it means long days.
It’s true that since I got really close to exhaustion in 2012, I started to keep overtime to a minimum. Still, I wasn’t the kind of person who could easily ‘turn off’ together with the work laptop.
Outside office hours, I dedicated as much time possible to my passion: working out.
Exercising is a very important aspect of my life and it embraces much more than the time spent in the gym.
Back then, I did cardio in the morning, prepared food in the weekend, planned workouts, etc.
I also loved (and still do):
- social media
- Dollfies (beautiful Japanese dolls)
- (some) household
- to have long calls with my mom
- my cat Soubi
- to spend time with my other half
It is true that I don’t have kids; however, I am not the kind of person who can sit still for a long time either.
What surprised my friends was the fact that my life was organized despite all my activities.
Even though I wasn’t doing 40 hours overtime a month anymore, I still had a lot of responsibilities at work. Yet, I didn’t neglect my health because of it.
Through planning, I got things done without stressing out.
So how do I do it?
First of all, I have my priorities.
Focusing on one thing at a time allows me to get more done with quality than I would by just jumping back and forth.
It is true that things come up here and there, but you have to keep their importance in mind.
Evaluate the situation.
OK, it might be urgent, but:
- Do you really have to drop the email you are writing?
- Or can you even do it later today?
Sometimes, asking yourself simple questions can make a huge difference in planning.
Secondly, I free my head by noting absolutely everything I must know or do.
I may use colors or symbols as visual aids, but I do keep a record of the smallest appointments and set reminders whenever necessary.
Keeping everything in my head would only increase the chances of forgeting something and would also tire myself in the process.
If you want to organize your life, you have to start writing things down.
For the most part, I still keep an electronic calendar, but I also have a small notebook in case of emergency (battery of smartphones generally goes down when we most need them).
Recently, I also got into paper planners and I love them!
Making notes is not something you do only during meetings.
You can also use them for your:
- grocery shopping list
- bills to pay
- creative ideas
Finally, I’m realistic about my day.
I would love to:
- Restart running.
- Go back to Japanese classes.
- Train BJJ again.
- Just to mention a few things.
Unfortunately, a day only has 24 hours and I must sleep for at least 7 if I want to function properly the day after.
While the first point was related to prioritizing your to-dos and activities, this last one is about your life in general.
So many times we allow our calendars to be double booked even though we know we cannot be in two places at the same time.
Don’t do it to yourself.
Take the time to reflect about your schedule and evaluate how you can implement these steps on a daily basis.
After that, it’s time to choose a system to keep track of your schedule:
- Do you prefer a paper agenda or do you choose to keep things electronically?
- Do you want to separate your private from your professional appointments?
- Would you like to share it with someone else, like your partner?
Visualize the ideal system for you.
Don’t focus on how others do, but find a system that fits you best.
Keep in mind
Remember to save yourself some free time.
We aren’t machines. We need down times to recover.
The more rested you are, the more productive you will be.
Besides, expect the unexpected.
There are only a handful things we can totally control in life. The rest happens.
- You leave home on time to go through your emails before a meeting, but you get caught up in traffic.
- You don’t take your gym bag with you thinking that you’ll be able to stop home first, but then a call takes longer than planned.
- The weather is nice outside, but you have to hit home earlier because you just brought one meal with you.
These are obvious obstacles, but there’s also getting sick (or having someone sick in the family), a last-minute appointment, or anything else that might force you to change your plans.The more rested you are, the more #productive you will be. #coaching Click To Tweet
There’s no reason feel stressed about your planning:
- Accept that you are not in charge of every single atom of the Universe.
- Get organized with the things you can control and be flexible with the rest.
- Enjoy the time that will free that you will find by managing your schedule better.
You can also start to organize your life today.
To me, planning has always been second nature, but I know that not everyone is like me.
If you’re overwhelmed but don’t know how to start, I created the workshop and workbook Planning For Productivity for you.
In more than one-hour videos, I get you step-by-step towards getting more done and organizing your life.
Planning For Productivity is ideal for those who don’t know where to start or what tools to use to get their planning done.
NOTE: I originally published the first version of this post several years ago. It was kind of lost in my archives. Since the topic is as relevant now as when I wrote it, I thought it was an excellent idea to update it and share it with you.