Okay, so obviously, I’m not talking about literally creating more time, because that would be impossible.
In this post, I will share my tips to carve out more time in your day to do the things that you want to do, you love to do and need to do.
In just three weeks of implementing these tips, it’s incredible how much more time has appeared in my day. That’s exactly what I want you to have too.
Additionally, don’t miss the most useful time tracking tool ever for the laptop that I’ve mentioned under ‘Identify Time Wasters’.
I’ve also linked to my daily time tracking sheet to help you understand and identify how you can make more time for the things that matter everyday.
Finally, at the end of the post, I’ve linked to useful reading resources and books that will help you take better control of your time.
This post contains Referral/Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on some of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete disclosure policy here.
Decide on your top priority for the day
The very first thing you need to do is throw out your lengthy to-do list. Go on. I’ll wait.
Okay, now take a fresh sheet of paper and write down just one, single task for the day ahead.
Ensure that it is the task that you have to do in order to inch forward in your blog or business. What does that look like for you?
As a blogger, your one task could be:
Publish a new blog post today and optimize it for Google Search
As a video blogger, your one task could be:
Shoot a new YouTube video for your channel and edit it before uploading
As a business owner, your one task could be:
Work on your new project that will get you more clients this week
The key behind this idea is to understand that even if we have only 8 hours a day devoted to work (assuming you spend 8 hours sleeping and 8 hours in other leisure and routine tasks), you must make that time count for something.
But what do most of us do? We pile up our to do lists and then get enormously frenzied about not being able to do it all.
No wonder we’re stressed!
For the next week, pick just one task for every single day and work on it with intense focus for a minimum of two hours.
Once you’re done you will discover how that sense of achievement will propel you to take up more tasks through the day.
Identify time wasters
Let’s evaluate what we mean by time wasters in a professional context.
As a blogger or a knowledge worker who spends time online, make a list of every single platform that you tend to visit during the day.
For example, here’s a possible list of platforms you could frequent:
- Email (Outlook)
- Google Analytics
- Email Service provider (Mailerlite/Convertkit/Mailchimp etc)
- Google Docs/Drive/Dropbox
On the laptop as well as the phone, install the free Rescue Time Chrome extension.
Rescue time does a wonderful job of showing you how you squander precious working minutes of your day.
I’m guessing you’ve got a glimmer of understanding where your time is disappearing through the day now.
We just think we’ll peek in for that one minute to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Before you know it, multiple valuable minutes have been lost in the rabbit hole of distractions.
Plus, note that all of these platforms are accessible both on the phone and the laptop.
If the phone is your nemesis instead of your laptop, start by decluttering your phone today.
I’ve written a detailed, step by step tutorial on how to clean up your phone and get more time in your day.
Read the post on How to Declutter your Phone in 3 Simple Steps
Use a Time Tracking Sheet
This is the best thing I recommend for everyone looking to take back control of their day and their time.
Time blocking is the only way you’d be able to analyze where you’re losing time each day.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a working mother, a full time professional or a stay at home parent: Time tracking is key.
Sometimes it could be as simple as limiting your Whatsapp or Instagram use to 10 minutes a day.
In this sample sheet, as you can see, on a particular day I spent a whopping 245 minutes or 4 hours on complete time wasters through the working day!
Can you imagine how much more I could have achieved if I had actually used most of those hours in writing a new blog post or studying a course or writing an e-book?
Click this link to view and make a copy of the time tracking sheet inside your Google Docs.
That way, you can track your own time for a whole week and determine where you tend to squirrel away your working hours.
Read how Time Blocking Saves my Time and Sanity Every Single Day as a Working Mom
Stop consuming content mindlessly
Ever wondered how to free up time in your day?
Stop going through multiple channels of information all through the day.
This information addiction is turning out to be a great stumbling block in so many different ways.The worst part is that we assume we’re doing something useful by consuming all this content all the time.
Unless you take action on just one of the articles you’ve read online, your time spent reading is just that: mindless consumption.
Outraging on the latest controversy on social media may feel beneficial.But does it actually help you? Think about this long and hard before you share an opinion on the hot news take of the day.
Step back and limit your consumption of news, social media and information overload.
Watch as you gain more time in your day.
Here are at least 5 Ways to be More Productive even on Social Media
Create content intentionally
As much as content consumption has to be monitored, you must pay attention to the way you create content as a knowledge worker.
Every piece of content you put out on your blog, your newsletter or your social media channels must have a higher intent and purpose.
There’s no value in adding to the information overwhelm if we’re not going to provide any value to our audience.
If a person sees your blog’s name in search results, they must be happy and delighted that your content will help answer any questions they may have.
That’s why one of the key things I recommend to my blogging students is to create high-quality, in-depth content all the time.
Writing every day will help build your writing habit.
Writing regularly will make content creation more intentional and targeted for your specific audience.
Read why I recommend building a daily blogging habit and 7 tips to help you do just that.
Do things offline
Why do most of us go in search of ways to reclaim our time or find more free time in our day?
It’s because we don’t actually make time for things we enjoy in our day.
Remember that one important task at the beginning of the day? Once you’re done with it, reward yourself with a hobby or an activity that is relaxing for your brain.
For me, that means reading a book. For you, it could be going for a walk, folding laundry or spending time with your kids, pets and family.
Ensure that you don’t resort to social media on your break time. Social media keeps your brain buzzing and wired all the time.
The whole purpose of a break from the workload is to get offline and do things that matter.
In this post, I’ve shared over 20 ways for adults to maximize free time
Include periods of rest
This is a bit different than leisure time.
A period of rest is when you consciously make time to do nothing.
It could be as simple as sitting in a quiet place, meditating with your eyes closed.
Or it could be a time where you sit and gaze out at a wide expanse, letting your mind wander.
We hardly make time for nothing, have you noticed? Most of our days go by in a hustle to pack as much as possible into 24 hours.
Why is rest important? Rest is integral to your work day. It’s the item that makes getting into a state of flow easier when you sit down to work on a task.
Periods of rest are the things that help your mind ruminate and decide on what the important things are in your life and in your business.
Making time for rest opens up the rest of your day to what matters the most: your work, your family and your goals.
Make more time for yourself. You’d be surprised how you then are able to make more time for the others in your life too.
Read this post on How to Manage your Energy more than your Time
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RECOMMENDED READING LIST
- The article that actually triggered the idea for this post was this one by Srinivasa Rao: The Hidden Dangers of Confusing Attention with Accomplishment
What I enjoyed about this article was a very simple distinction that I’ve overlooked in my role as a blogging coach.
Posting on social media is for attention; posting exclusively on my blog is an accomplishment.
I’m especially keen to explore his book along the same lines: An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for is own sake
2. One of the best books on improving your focus and getting deep work done is the book ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport.
From understanding how distractions abound and how to sensibly commit to a deep work ethic, this is a must-read book for serious creators.
3. Digital Minimalism also by Cal Newport is the book that every person must read. While Deep work focuses on intensive workplace ethics, digital minimalism is for you and me, the regular users of social media.
4. The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey is a fascinating insight into the reasons why we procrastinate and how we can overcome them. Includes practical, step by step tips to achieve what we dream about.
5. Here’s another article by John P.Weiss which talks about the only 3 words that you need in order to succeed in life: How to Radically Improve your Life