5 ways busy people can create more space in their lives
How often do you get caught in the trap of having too much to do with too little time to get it done? I found that this was me far more often than it wasn’t! Feeling under pressure (albeit it was pressure I was putting on myself) to accomplish every single thing on my to do list. Sounds familiar? Running errands all over town, juggling work, children and home life all at the same time and then feeling less than great when it doesn’t all get done as you’d hoped. What about time for yourself? Does that even get a place on your list of things to do?
In our busy lives the majority of us would definitely benefit from and appreciate a little extra time in our days - who wouldn’t? Our modern lives are so full to the brim that making some space in our day would allow us to be able to maximise what we chose to do and create opportunity for rest, relaxation and resetting of our tired minds and bodies as well as checking all those things off our endless to do lists!
As a busy person you are definitely not alone in believing that some extra time would make life a little easier. Not only could you achieve more but there would be time to do all those things you wish you had the time for that otherwise get repeatedly missed at the bottom of your to do list. Would you love to be still for a moment to have time to look out of the window to enjoy the birds in the garden? An opportunity to read a book with a cup of tea in hand or even just some quality time to give your family and friends your undivided attention?
With these thoughts in mind I decided to come up with some ways to create more time in my day. Here are my top 5 suggestions to create some extra space in your life.
Turn off some or all the notifications on your phone. We rely on our phones so to think we could live without them is impossible and seems extreme. Accepting that our phones are here to stay we need adapt how we use them. Every time the phone pings we anticipate the social affirmation from an interaction and the body generates a surge of dopamine. Dopamine is addictive and so we keep on responding to the stream of pings - it’s an endless loop! In 2017 David Brooks, the New York Times columnist wrote an article titled “How evil is tech?”. He wrote “Tech companies understand what causes dopamine surges in the brain and they lace their products with ‘hijacking techniques’ that lure us in and create ‘compulsion loops’.” Notifications are part of the compulsion loop. With all the texts, news updates, weather alerts, shipping status of online shopping to name a few our phones are constantly trying to get our attention and we are conditioned to repeatedly check the phone using up valuable time and brain power. Prune the number of notifications you receive so you will be distracted less often and win back some valuable time in your day.
The Touch it once rule. Maximise your productivity by only touching things once. To save time and energy try to deal with tasks as you come across them. Consider all the junk mail that ends up in the mailbox. If we only touch it once it can go straight into the recycling rather than ending up on the kitchen counter, being moved around over the course of the day only to end up in the recycling at the end of the day. When you are tidying up don’t just take items to the room they live in. To only touch something once take it to the room it lives in and then put it away all at the same time. How about responding to e mails as and when you receive them? If you respond at a later time then its most likely you need to re read the email. You’ve just read the same e mail twice! If you cannot deal with something as and when it arises then assign that task a set time to be done.
Schedule your priorities - use your calendar. Calendars are traditionally used for meetings, appointments and events. Have you thought about putting time on the calendar for some of the things that regularly get bumped down your to do list? Specific chores that need to be done, the ever increasing pile of paperwork that needs organising or even a catch up with far away friends with a phone call. If things like these are on the calendar then you’re much more likely to see them as a commitment and the time to get them done is protected.
Audio calls instead of video calls. Video calling has changed the lives of us all but especially those living far away from friends and family. Video calling does require your undivided attention and it’s hard to multi task. On occasions that you are short on time try an audio call. Because there is no need to look at the screen you are freed up to do some jobs whilst you talk. My best friend lives across the Atlantic and we regularly audio call. As we talk we are both accomplishing other easy tasks. We walk the dog, cook dinner and fold laundry whilst we talk so we can talk for a much longer time than had we video called. Most importantly we make time for a valuable catch up!
Be prepared to say no and be ok with that. Being a people pleaser can really eat into your available time. Do you say yes to everything as you don’t want to let people down, do you have a fear of missing out or is it a sense of duty? Whichever way it’s reasonable to be selfish of your time sometimes. Next time someone asks you to do something or you feel that you should offer consider these questions. Will doing this make me happy? What do I need at the moment? What will I need to let go of to get this done? Of course giving our time to others can certainly give us a sense of fulfilment but only if we know we are not short changing ourselves in the process.
By claiming back a few minutes here and there over the course of the day we can collect valuable time and space in our lives to allow us to focus on ourselves - our own self care or accomplishing a task that we know will make us feel good once it’s done and checked off the list. Unfinished tasks add up to weigh heavily on us and our mental space becomes cluttered.
So start saving up the minutes, you never know they may turn into hours! Why not spend the extra time you’ve gained doing something that will make you happy!
If you'd like to find more space in your busy life so you can feel less stressed, hectic and under pressure then drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/karentindallcoaching .