By Emily Heaton, Contributing Blogger
Ok, show of hands—who completed their daily workout today? (No judgment…) If you’re like me when it comes to being healthy, you might feel the desire or intent to do all the healthy things—eat right, carve out time for daily exercise, incorporate rest into your week, make space for family and friends, and the list goes on. And maybe you’ve celebrated streaks of doing it well, but it tends to backslide once life gets busy. It’s understandable!
We’re living in a busy time of juggling work, school schedules, sports practice, meetings, social events, and your cousin’s daughter’s baby shower! It can easily leave you throwing your hands in the air and saying, “Does running late to the gym count as exercise?!”
First thing’s first…if it did count as exercise, I’d be extra fit! But, unfortunately it doesn’t. So, let’s dig into a few ways we can optimize our days to lead toward healthy habits!
5 Time Management Hacks
1. Define what’s important to you
Defining your goals is an underrated skill that can truly boost your time management. You may have heard this phrase before: We make time for what’s most important to us. It’s true! And sometimes we think certain habits are important to us, but we haven’t actually prioritized them accordingly. We haven’t named them or acknowledged the space in our day for them.
Do this with me. Take a moment to grab a pen and notebook, or open up the Notes app on your phone. List out five things you want to be a consistent part of your weekly rhythm. Mine are: balanced meals, staying active, reading, consistent bedtime, and rest. What did you write?
This is a great start to defining the things most important for our daily habits. We’ll build on this as we move to visualizing our schedules!
2. Visualize your schedule
For most of us, scheduling our days/weeks is imperative to staying sane! If any of you can function without any form of a calendar, I look forward to reading your blog, because that is amazing!
Start by recording how you spend your week. It’s a way to gauge where you’re at and see what needs to change. It doesn’t need to be fancy. After a week, take a look at how you spent your time. How many of those hours were spent contributing to the five goals you just listed out? This is where you either pat yourself on the back or make some adjustments!
Here’s the key: You either need to make adjustments to your schedule or your goals. Make sure it’s realistic for your responsibilities and lifestyle!
Once you’ve made some notes on what needs to change, write out your ideal schedule. And by write, I actually mean write! You can type it out, but studies show that physically writing things down engages our brains in a more productive way! What do you want your day to look like? You’re more likely to get there if you write a plan for it!
3. Find community to support your goals
You are not alone! Whatever season of life you find yourself in, whatever goals you’ve set before you in managing your schedule and time, there is likely a group of people in the same boat. If you’re a mom who is adjusting to new schedules, caring for babies, and lacking sleep, find a community of moms in the same boat and ask how they create healthy schedules. If you’re a college student in the middle of endless classes and homework, find someone who is stellar at managing his or her time.
Don’t try to do this on your own. It’s not as effective, and it’s just not fun! You’ll find more resources, more ideas, and more encouragement when you work toward your goals within community.
4. If you miss a day, just don’t miss two
The difficult part comes in the execution phase. Time to put your written schedule to the test. You’ve defined what’s important, you’ve written out your ideal day, you’ve found accountability and resources to support you. Now…time to get to it!
Don’t beat yourself up if you mess up one day. None of us is perfect. But try not to miss two days in a row. The last thing we want is a downward spiral to old habits. This will take discipline and intentionality, but look at the work you’ve put in so far! It’s going to be worth it to stick to your commitment and see the results of how you spend your time.
This can be one of the most challenging concepts when it comes to time management. Our hustle culture is all about busy, full schedules 24/7. It tends to feel like you’re lazy or off your game when you are resting. I’d like to dispel that notion. When you’re in a rhythm of healthy rest, you are going to be the most productive! However, it’s important to understand what I’m talking about when I say “rest.”
Rest isn’t just sitting on a couch, eating potato chips, and binging Netflix. Rest is refueling your body with what it needs: sleep, time with family, laughter, a reprieve from work. What fills you up when you’re feeling tired? For me, it’s quality time with my friends or being out in nature. When I can do that regularly, I am more productive when I get back to my week.
Don’t underestimate the power of healthy rest incorporated into your week. It can work wonders for the quality of your work time.
You manage your time. Your time doesn’t manage you.
When we remember that we make time for what is important to us, I think we’ll start to realize the power we have over our schedules. You are empowered to create the atmosphere and the schedule that will support how you want to spend your time.
Let’s make it count!