It’s easy to feel like there’s an infinite supply of time. In reality, with each day we live, there’s less of it. Whenever I’m asked if I could change anything about my life, I always say I wish I had more time with my grandmother. As a child, the thought of there being a time when I would live without her never crossed my mind. But that is now the case. She passed away when I was 16 years old. For every great and not so great moment in my life since then, I’ve wanted to call her and tell her all about it.
The lesson: Time spares no one. As the years, months, days, hours, minutes, and second, pass, we can never get them back. And in order to make the best of it, we have to make sure we learn to spend it wisely.
With 2016 upon us, I want to be more purposeful and intentional about my time. I have an ambitious year planned, and the goals I want to achieve are not going to get done on their own. I need to dedicate myself to carving out the time to bring them to fruition.
As creative, smart, and ambitious women, I can’t think of a more important asset to our creativity, careers, and businesses than our time. Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the results of the 2014 American Time Use Survey, an annual survey of around 11,000 Americans who are asked to give a detailed description of what they did on a particular day.
The biggest activity was sleeping. On average, Americans spent 2.82 hours, or 2 hours and 49 minutes, watching television, and 0.74 hours, or 44 and a half minutes, shopping for goods and services.
Here are 10 easy tips to make sure you make better use of your time in 2016:
1. Be Time Conscious
With anything you’d like to change, you must first increase your level of consciousness. Our time is no different. Be conscious of the fact that you can’t get wasted time back, and that we don’t have an infinite amount of time to play with. Taking stock of these facts can change your mindset, for the better. You won’t live forever, so commit to using the time you have now to the best of your ability.
2. Be Intentional
There is power in living with intention. By intention I mean truly knowing or having an idea of what I want to use my time for. Without intentionality, I’ll end about spending hours watching TV or browsing social media. I’m sure there will be days I’ll do that in the name of self-care, but I want most of my days to be more thoughtful.
3. Do a time audit
Take an honest look at how much time you’re spending on what. Does it add the career, life, or style of your dreams? If not, then why continue? Through my time audit, I’ve been able to discover that some hard truths about my distractions, spending too much time window-shopping online, watching documentaries, and browsing social media. I don’t plan on cutting these activities out of my life completely. Instead, I’m setting a limit.
4. Plan, Plan, and Plan
Planning is key. A plan is evidence that you want to be in control of your time, making moves instead of waiting and allowing things to maybe happen. For 2016, I have developed a daily schedule. I’m sure there will be unexpected surprises, but I, at the very least, want to be prepared. . It’s impossible to make better use of your time if you don’t have a plan for how to use the time you’ve been given.
5. Wake Up Earlier
As a child, my grandmother woke me up at 6 a.m. every day, even on the weekends. I never really understood why until I started to remember how long my days were back then. There was always time back then, but today, there never seems to be enough. . Myliek Teele, CEO of curlBox always says that if you’re sleeping in, the competition has already won. By waking up earlier every day (yes, even weekends), I’m giving myself more time to do things I enjoy, more time with my loved ones, and more time for my goals.
6. Develop a Morning Routine
I recently decided on a 2016 morning routine:
6:00: Wake Up & Devotional Reading (something that feeds my soul)
8:00: Breakfast & Get ready for work
9:00: Commute, social media, read
10:00: Arrive at work
My routine is solely based around the things I’ve said I want to do more. I want to read more, write more, eat breakfast more, therefore I must set aside the time to actually do those things.
7. Limit distractions
This may seem obvious but it needs to be clearly stated. There are so many things vying for our attention these days. There is social media, reality TV, text messages, emails, and so much more. The truth is when we give something our attention, we’re really giving away some of our time. Not everything or even every person we give our attention is worth the time we’ve invested in it. As we continue to live the career, life, and style of our dream we really can’t afford to give our time to anything that does not fit the dream.
8. Done is Better than Perfect
Productivity and time go hand in hand. As a creative, my desire to get things done perfectly before releasing them is a time manipulator. Of course our projects, products, and content should be given the time they deserve to be completed at a high quality. But for 2016, I’m committed to getting things done without striving perfection. Complete it, release it and I’ll continue to tweak it.
9. Stay Ahead of Your Time
I tend to underestimate how long it takes to get a particular task done. I think I’m superwoman, and can get things done in the blink of an eye. This isn’t true. I usually end up falling behind on things because I failed to stay ahead of my time. Overestimate how much time it will take to get something done or to get somewhere. If you complete a task early or arrive early, great. You can simply use that time for something else.
How do you plan to make better use of your time this year?