In this blog piece, Platform's CrossFit Coach talks about organising your time efficiently while sharing his personal insights and top tips to rollin' throughout the day with ease...
Majority of the people I meet in Dubai are always on a mission to find more time. If you are one of them then this may help you. What if I told you, you’ll never find time? When it comes to time it’s about what you make of it. There may be many ways to make time.
Here are my top tips:
Everyone has the same 24hours in a day - this limits how many things we can pay close attention too. You cannot have 10 priorities and if you do then you probably don't understand the concept of priority. I limit myself to three in the following order:
- Health - Sleep, Eat, Train
- Career - Personal and Professional development -Coaching
It is very unlikely that you will have two days the same. Family commitments, delays at work, unexpected traffic can all play havoc with your schedule. However, just like your financials, you will have fixed time and variable time and can use this to forecast how you will budget your time.
Fixed time is the non-negotiables or regular commitments. These include my 7 hours sleep, set coaching hours, and commute. Anything in between this is variable, meaning I am able to make the most out of it.
Variable time is flexible because it varies week to week or month to month (think Christmas, children’s birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, busy times or events at work etc.) This for me includes family time, just because it’s a priority doesn’t mean it’s a fixed time. For example: it could be beach in the mornings one month or movie/games night another.
However, to create the time for it, I mark it in my diary and it then becomes a fixed event. And so, I’ve just made that time to spend on that errand, project or with my family.
As you become more aware of where you are spending your time you can begin to optimize it; align where you are spending your time with your priorities. Constantly measure and be aware of the actual value the activity brings to your life. Those that don’t add much value, should be simplified or eliminated entirely to focus on those that do. Putting time and energy into anything that does not serve your purpose is the easiest way to waste hours of your day.
"The bottom line isn’t just about doing things faster, but doing the right things more efficiently."
When attempting to optimize your time, ask yourself these simple questions:
- Am I spending too much time at work?
- Can I take another route to cut on travel time? Or could I be using my commute more effectively?
Why not listen to a worthy podcast on something that gets your gears spinning, it could be anything.
- Do I take a lunch break to re-fuel and re-fresh?
- I have a few hours between when I finish my workday and when I go to bed. Am I making the most out of these hours?
- What time of day am I most productive?
Maybe you don't have enough energy in the evenings, why not try going to bed an hour earlier and waking up an hour earlier to work on your priorities.
- What about scheduling your weekends more effectively?
Here are some pointers on how to be more efficient:
- Make a list and get out of your head: Rather than letting all the things you have to do swirl about in your head uncontrollably and continuously, make a list. The list frees your brain from overwhelm and puts all the things you need to do in front of you where you can see them, approach them and deal with them. One. By. One. So you can slowly get them all done. Put your list on paper or on your phone or wherever it will be most helpful. And when you’ve got the list in use, you’ll see that many of the things that swirl so furiously and continuously in your head aren’t really that big of a deal and might only take minutes to accomplish. So, letting them take up so much mental space is a waste.
For me, the beauty of the paper list vs. the electronic list is that you get the satisfaction of crossing things out with a very animated, intentional swipe of your pen. Once they’re crossed off you can see just how much you’ve done, turning your to-do list into a done list.
- Cross something off. I don’t mean cross it off because it’s done. I mean cross it off as in don’t do it. Surely there’s one thing on your list that doesn’t really NEED to get done. Maybe it’s an event that you really aren’t OBLIGATED to attend. Or maybe it’s an activity that you realize you don’t really need to do. Whatever it is, on almost everyone’s list, there is something that can be deleted. Or at least delayed until another time when you have more time
- Combine efforts. There are different ways you can approach this combination of efforts. Try to schedule things so that all your activities fall back to back on the same day — making for a busy day, yes, but also leaving other days of the week open for you to feel more spacious. If you’re meeting someone for coffee one morning, move immediately into the next — maybe with a 15-minute window just for yourself.
If you’re volunteering at school or elsewhere in the community, schedule it so that another errand or task is done immediately afterward. This not only blocks your time nicely, but also gives definitive end times to each activity. You can also block things by time of day, scheduling all your extra activities in a certain time frame each morning or evening leaving the rest of the day free for your own personal or work-related efforts. On the days that are for your projects only, be sure to put it on the calendar so that space and time doesn’t get absorbed by other activities.
- Schedule less. To this you might say, “easy” but really, if overwhelm is becoming a regular state of mind, perhaps you ought to think about doing less. If it’s making you stressed or anxious, then maybe it really is too much. What activities are putting you closer to your goals or your family or your own thoughts? Consider eliminating things in the short term and the long term. Maybe you’re on too many committees or in too many groups. Whatever it is, they will be there when you’re ready but know that you’re not serving anyone by completely overextending yourself.
- Eliminate guilt. Guilt really doesn’t serve anyone. If you’re doing something because you feel guilty, you’re probably not bringing your best self to the role.
- Delegate. Surely you don’t need to do everything yourself. If you’ve got the funds, hire someone to take on some of your tasks. Think of yourself as a job creator helping your local economy. Don’t have the money for that? Look to friends, coworkers or family members who might pick up some of the slack, either straight up or in exchange for other tasks that you’re doing anyway. Ask your partner to take on one of your tasks. Or ask your kids to chip in a little more with things. Try doing things co-operatively such as child care or errands or meal making or whatever is on your list. No point in all of us doing all of it. Share, trade, barter, bargain. Whatever you can do to make things feel more efficient and fun.
- Get more sleep. Sure, it seems funny to think of sleeping more as giving you more time, but seriously, when you are well-rested you’re a much more efficient machine. Go to bed earlier. Leave something undone that night. If you’re a parent, you won’t ever get it ALL done anyway, so leave some of it undone in the name of a good night’s rest. SO worth it. And truly, you’ll feel stronger, more capable, more efficient and more joyful too so you can get more done more joyfully.
- Decide to be Done. On a regular basis, you need to sometimes just call it a day. You can’t possibly do everything that needs doing. In any household there are so many tasks — endless tasks, really. At some point every day you just need to call it a day. Call it a day on the weekends in order to have more time hanging out with your family. Call it a day in the evenings in order to take a little one-on-one with your partner or your kids. Call it a day at bedtime in order to take a few minutes to yourself.
So without further ado, get yourself a pen and paper, and determine your top 3 priorities.
Blog by -Minhal Bhojani