I think it’s pretty common knowledge that we all make time for the things that are important to us… for what we value… It’s not so much that we don’t have time, it’s just that we have too many people, places, things that are important. So how do you manage that?
I personally thrive in a busy, high-pressure environment. I love to be busy, to have plans, to have a to-do list. I absolutely HATE being bored, sitting around, feeling unproductive. So the choice is clear for me; stay busy. But that sometimes comes with a price… I have a tendency to stack up my plate a little too high. Through that, however, I’ve learned valuable time management skills and perspective shifts. Because no matter where you’re at on the busy scale, everyone can use some more time, right?
HOW TO BOIL A FROG:
Have you ever been asked how to boil a frog? If you would assume by dropping it into a pot of boiling water, then you need to readjust your perspective on time management. No one or no thing should be dropped into the fire just like that... Too much too soon is bad; it spikes stress levels, confusion, the feeling of being overwhelmed, regret, etc. It causes you to think emotionally instead of rationally. Just like the frog, you should never take on too much at once. (PS – did you know that when your cortisol levels spike (stress levels) that your gut has a wayyy harder time digesting food? Almost as if it’s moving in slow motion? Yea, bad.)
The real answer is to drop the frog into a pot of cold water and then turn up the heat. The frog will hardly notice the gradual temperature increase. And then before you know it, you’re boiling a frog… Before you know it, your schedule is healthily packed without feeling overwhelemd. Start your schedule out in cold water and slowly turn up the heat. No one is productive when they are burnt out, stressed and overwhelmed from the heat.
Mental shifts are huge when it comes to time management. It’s all about perspective. I started to think of my days in four-quarter-periods and it really took away the sense of feeling like I had so much to do and so little time. Certain things are reserved for certain quarters, so I don’t have to even think about them until it’s time to. It also helps you to manage your time by not allowing yourself to spend too much time on something.
EMBRACE R&R: Rituals & Rhythm:
Consistency is key… With an ever-changing schedule, it is essential to embrace some familiarity throughout your days. Maybe that’s having a specific morning or evening routine or a ritual of always listening to podcasts while in the car instead of music. Maybe it’s always making your bed or always reading for a specific amount of time before bed. Perhaps you go to yoga a specific day each week or you always grocery shop on Thursdays… Whatever it is that you can commit to, every single day/week, do it.
Studies show that dog owners not only live longer, but have a higher quality life. Why? Because dogs scream routine and rhythm… They need let out, walked, fed, played with, etc. every single day. Still not convinced? Think of our bodies; every month women have a period (or should). Every three months the bacteria in our gut completely changes. Nature has it’s own rituals; spring, summer, fall & winter. R&R is key to mastering your time and your life.
You wouldn’t pull 2400 dollars out of your bank account, set aside 800 of it and throw the rest up in the air like it’s nothing. So why would you do the same with your time? A lot of people embrace 8 hours of their work day, give it their all, and then call it quits. Park their bums on the couch until it’s time to eat and go to bed. Whether you’re busy or not, it’s important to be mindful of every second. Every second is a gift. And for those of you that are busy, each second is valuable. Extremely valuable.
You know that feeling after you’ve been productive? You cleaned out something or you finished a project? Well, I’m here to tell you that it is absolutely possible to achieve that high every. single. day. You don’t even have to be extremely busy either… You can simply achieve the productivity high by being intentional and mindful about the way you spend your time.
LISTS ON LISTS ON LISTS:
I cannot function without lists. I don’t know what it is about crossing something off of a list that makes me feel so at peace, but it’s addicting. In fact, I literally cannot put something out of my mind and let it be finished until I can cross is off my list.
With a busy schedule, making lists are essential. Your brain can only handle so much information at a time, so how are you possibly supposed to remember every thought or idea or task? You can’t. So not only is it oh so satisfying to be a list maker, it is also a huge help in managing your time; you can more clearly see what needs done and how pressing each item is.
You can make lists on your phone, carry around a notebook, use Evernote on your laptop or phone, use sticky notes… Whatever works! I personally use the notes app on my phone. I have a note for each aspect of my life; Blog notes, Yoga Teacher Training Notes, Grocery Lists, Reminders, To Do This Week, Intentions, etc.
I’ve found this to be questionably my favorite tool for time management success.
You are your most important asset. Without you, nothing on your schedule would get accomplished, meetings/appointments would be missed, tasks not done, etc. So it is imperative that you protect your assets.
It is NOT selfish to embrace self care. You have to avoid burn out, exhaustion, sickness, boredom, depression, anxiety, stress and procrastination at all costs so that you can be your most productive & effective self… So do whatever it is that brings you back to your vibration… let me explain:
In yoga, we learn that we are all born with a vibration… Don’t believe in that? Science calls it your electromagnetic field. Your aura, your vibe, your vibration. Life’s chaos and negative energy throws us off our vibration, putting us into a funk; that feeling of not feeling like yourself. Good news; it can totally be restored.
I like to take epsom salt baths and read or get a massage or facial. Workout. Meditate. Shop. I also like to travel or go on a hike with my dogs or try a new restaurant. You know, the mindless, exciting things in life? DO THEM. OFTEN. It can only help you to be more in control of your time.