HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME?
How do you find the time? As someone who is constantly busy and cramming more into my schedule than the average person, I receive this question more than any other. The real answer is – I have an addiction to being busy. But, due to how often I receive this question, I decided to put some thoughts together on how I manage to “squeeze” so much into my 24-hour day.
First, let me paint the picture of what I find the time to do. I work full-time, I am extremely involved in my community, I work out 3-5 times a week, I hang out with my friends and family, I travel, I love audio books, I am an amateur wine enthusiast, I require a substantial amount of sleep, and, to top it all off, I decided to create Florecer Femme. I do not list these things to brag; I list these things to help you understand what I choose to make time for in my life.
I am sure many of you are thinking, “Well, she doesn’t have children.” You’re right. Not having children certainly creates additional time for other things. One day, when I have children, I’ll probably update this article, but for now, let’s focus on today.
Full disclaimer: I’m no expert on self-discipline, time management, or mental toughness. Despite that, I put together a list of methods I find helpful in managing myself.
Establish a routine.
I cannot express how important a routine is. My happiest, most productive, and healthiest moments come when I am sticking to a routine.
I wake up every morning at 5:05 am so I can work out before going to work. I do this because it makes me feel happier and healthier, and because I am in a much better mood when I get to work.
My husband and I cook dinner at home every week night because we know it will get us to bed earlier and we enjoy it.
I pick out my clothes for the next day every night because I know how much time and stress it will save me in the morning.
I pack my lunch for work the night before because I save calories, money, and time during my lunch hour.
Your routine may look very different from mine. No matter what your schedule looks like, establishing and following a routine can create useful time by eliminating wasted time. It can also free your mind to solve problems at work or home rather than thinking about what you want to do for dinner that night.
Use a planning tool.
For some, the best planning tool is an app on your phone; for others, it is a good, old-fashioned paper planner. For me, it is my iPhone calendar.
I honestly don’t know what I would do without it. I would forget appointments, miss birthdays, show up late — you get my gist. If you aren’t using a planning tool to track your activities, you are less likely to make room for more.
To make my calendar as useful as possible, I categorize activities as work, personal, or family. My family calendar is a joint calendar I share with my husband. This enables us to (almost) always be on the same page for events or activities we have planned together. Plus, he always knows whether I am going to be home or busy!
Make time for the things you want to do and don’t commit to things you don’t want to do.
This is a kind way of saying, “don’t be flaky.” If I know I don’t want to do something, I don’t commit to it. When people commit to things they don’t want to do, they don’t show up. Then, they are labeled as flakes. That is a label I never want to have.
Instead of committing to things I don’t want to do and then feeling stressed about having to do them, I choose to make time for things that make me happy. Sometimes I schedule a night off because I know how much I need it. I schedule dinner dates, bike rides, winery visits — you name it.
Bottom line — make time for what you love and eliminate what you don’t.
I work hard at prioritization and still have a lot to learn. There are a lot of different ways I look at prioritization. For example, I prioritize family, work, friends, community, and hobbies in that order. I try to put my faith before everything, but it is a work in progress. Sometimes that order changes, but I generally stick to it, which helps me plan the use of my time.
On a day-to-day task basis, I prioritize my toughest tasks by trying to tackle them earlier in the day when my mind and outlook are fresh. I like to save my simpler tasks for later in the day when I know I am going to be mentally tired.
Currently, I’m balancing my home life, my work life, Florecer Femme, my role in the community, and my other hobbies. My day job is a major priority, so I squeeze Florecer Femme in during the evenings, weekends, and sometimes on my lunch break!
This is a tough one. It is also where Tip #1—establish a routine—comes in handy. If you have a routine full of all of the things you need and want to get done, you have a plan to avoid unnecessary time-sucking activities. If you fall behind schedule on your routine, this is a sign to evaluate whether you gave your time away to time-sucking activity. I have identified what sucks a lot of time out of my day and adjusted for it. I also continue to adjust for it as life changes. For example:
I try to limit my time on social media each day. If I am not careful, I’ll get lost down the Instagram rabbit hole. I allow myself to check it periodically, have post notifications set for those that I truly care about, and don’t follow people I don’t want to see.
I turn off my email notification on my work computer so the email pop-up window doesn’t distract me from the task I am focused on.
I turn off notifications on large group messages. Sometimes, I’ll look at a group message and realize I missed 47 messages. I can usually catch up on what happened without wasting time reading a text every 30 seconds for half an hour.
I skip happy hours to work on things I am passionate about. I am extremely social and LOVE having a social life. For me, skipping happy hours with friends to work on something I care about even more is a good example of choosing the great options over the good options.
My husband and I reduced our TV watching because we realized how much time Netflix was sucking out of our lives. I’m embarrassed to say that we would often get the “Are you still watching?” notification and click yes. Limiting our Netflix time created a lot of additional time for things we love, such as evening walks on the river downtown.
I don’t dilly-dally. When I get dressed in the morning, when I do my hair and makeup, or when I walk from one place to another, I move from task to task with a sense of urgency and purpose. I am not frantic, but I have a steady and quick pace.
I hope these 5 tips help you find that aha! idea or little nugget of advice you are looking for to improve your self-management. We tend to watch what other women do and compare ourselves. I’m guilty of this too. Focus on creating the best routine and schedule for you because if you flourish, those around you will flourish as well.
meet the author
Hannah is an adventurer, businesswoman, wine enthusiast, self-improvement book fanatic, promoter of women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math), and an avid user of her iPhone calendar.
She graduated from Texas Lutheran University where she studied Chemistry and then moved on to the University of Texas at San Antonio where she earned her Master of Business Administration. Her love for science, business, and wine fuels her dream to one day start her own vineyard and winery.
Hannah is very involved in the San Antonio, Texas community where she works for one of the largest corporate businesses and leads the United Way Emerging Leaders Council. Her passion for inspiring and encouraging women motivated her to create Florecer Femme, a gathering place for the fun and sophisticated feminine culture deep in the heart of Texas.
In her spare time, you can find Hannah with her husband strolling along the Riverwalk or sipping wine downtown.