Happy New Year to you 🎆 How are you doing?
Is it cold where you are right now?
It is freezing here in Edinburgh ❄️
But hopefully, like me, you are snuggled up all nice and warm and ready to commit to making 2021 truly EPIC, despite the ongoing restrictions caused by Covid-19.
I’m going to take a guess that 2020 didn’t work out quite as planned – for some of you it may have turned out different – but better, for others different …. and very difficult. 2020 may have taken a toll on your emotional wellbeing, your relationships or your finances.
Either way, I’d say NOW is a good time to commit to taking full responsibility for 2021. YOU are responsible for the shape of your own life. And you can control your destiny by the decisions you make and the action you take, each and every day.
When we have big dreams and are striving to create lives in which we feel alive, vibrant and fulfilled, it is critical that we are really intentional about how we spend our time.
I’d like to share with you some tips on how to make sure that you take charge of 2021 and ensure that you are in the driving seat at all times. By taking responsibility for your life and taking control of your time.
We each have the same amount of time. Beyoncé, Oprah, Bill Gates, you and me. Everyone. We all have 24 hours (86,400 seconds) per day. How we choose to allocate that time, literally determines the shape of our lives.
So how do we use our time wisely? Without procrastinating and without drifting aimlessly? Without that constant feeling of overwhelm or anxiety? What does it take to become productive and successful?
The problem a lot of people face is that they don’t understand how to manage their time in a way that is effective.
And often it’s the case that people don’t make the most of their time because they don’t have total clarity around what they are actually trying to achieve and what it is they need to do.
Let’s get clear on one thing. Time is our most precious commodity. No matter how successful you are or intend to become, money can’t buy any more of it. So the clearer you get in regard to what you want to achieve, the more likely it is that you are going to become super-productive.
Clarity is essential
If you are stuck in a place where your focus and thoughts are all over the place, open yourself up to creating clarity.
Write down what it is that you want to achieve.
How do you want your life to look by the last day of this year?
Or 3 years from now if you are more comfortable with a longer time-frame.
You don’t need to have the perfect picture in your mind, but some idea at least – a few details, and some clarity around the direction you want to be heading.
This is an exercise that I have done many times, and it is truly powerful. A lot can happen when you open yourself up to finding clarity and once you do, your life will start moving forward in the direction of your dreams, and you will be able to make so much more of your time.
Key to success is to get clear on what your priorities are. When we fail to prioritise, the days go by, we allow for interruptions constantly and then we become distracted and fail to focus on the activities that will move us closer to our dreams.
So make sure that you are identifying what you really need to focus on and prioritise accordingly.
Improving your day to day productivity with time tracking
When you are trying to figure out how to improve something, you need to look at where you are right now, and identify where you need to make changes/ improvements. The same goes for increasing your day to day productivity.
It is completely normal to fall off track and go through periods where productivity is waning. Time tracking is a really powerful exercise that can shift your mindset and make you really aware of exactly where your time is being used effectively or is being wasted.
And it’s simple but effective.
Take note of the amount of time you are spending doing everything and anything throughout the day; from preparing and eating breakfast to responding to emails and messages, time spent travelling to work (if you do this now), the time you start & finish work, the time you spend doing housework, the time you spend watching TV or scrolling the internet, the moments of time when you just do nothing or chatting with friends (in person or using technology).
Be as detailed as you can and track everything over the course of a week.
Stick with this exercise for a few days and it will be a real eye-opener, creating awareness that will help you get clear on where your time is actually being spent. More importantly, it will reveal whether the way you spend your time is moving you closer (or further away) from your ultimate goal.
Getting clear on core activities and priorities
Now that you are more clear on how you are spending your time, you can make decisions about the changes you wish to make. By getting clear on core activities and priorities, you will move forward more intentionally.
If you think about the life you wish to create, what are the categories that you regularly have to spend time doing outside of your ‘day job’. Sit down and take some time to figure out what these categories are.
Then look at what you need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Make a list of all the regular actions you can think of.
Once you have done that, look at what categories those tasks fall under, so you can start categorising individual tasks into similar groups and then use those categories to block out dedicated time.
I find time blocking very effective. I don’t work this way every day. But when I do, it always amazes me just how much I can achieve in even the smallest of blocks. I like to work in 15 minute ‘blocks’ of time, but you can decide what works best for you.
Take some time to map it all out.
Every Sunday (you can do this on any day that suits you), sit down and plan out your week. Look at what you have to do in your work and look at what you have to do in order to move closer to your life goal. Commit to leaving the office on time where possible and use the evening hours to get to work on bringing your dream to life.
Don’t plan every second of the day
Just as important as planning is, is also NOT planning.
Remember to leave some wiggle room because none of us are perfectly productive all the time. Remember that you are not a robot and it is always a good idea to leave time for spontaneity.
Creating a daily plan
It is always worth taking 15 minutes after dinner each evening to think about the next day and plan out what you need to achieve.
Get clear on what you need to do, who you need to chase up or get in contact with and the tasks you need to complete. Start working on those tasks first thing in the morning. This will support you to be super-productive every day.
If you are clear on what the big picture and vision is, you know what your priorities and recurring tasks are, it makes life so much easier and more productive.
You will wake up every morning without that sinking feeling of being completely lost or clueless about what you need to be working on because everything has been mapped out or scheduled in.
There you have it. Follow these steps and you will see a complete transformation in the use of your time and the results you are getting out of every day, week and month.
Leave me a comment below and share your favourite productivity tips to get the most out of your time.
x Until next time, sending you love x
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