Do you feel like you don't have enough time in your day for the things you have to do, never mind the things that feel good? Does the idea of having an extra hour feel like you'd need some kind of time-travel machine to make it happen?
Since time is the top obstacle busy business women tell me is stopping them from doing the things that feel good, I have a little challenge for you. If you find yourself regularly saying you're too busy, or don't have enough time, I'm inviting you to challenge yourself to find an extra hour in your day. Will you take up the challenge?
If finding an extra hour every day sounds impossible, you might have felt yourself get a bit defensive. After all, you are so busy that surely the only way to do it would be to get up earlier and/or go to bed later, right? And if you know me you'll know that I would never recommend sacrificing your sleep - it's far too important to your general health, wellbeing, focus, productivity, memory, and more!
I believe that, for most of us, there is time we could claim back that would create that extra hour. So here are three questions you can ask yourself to help you work out where that extra hour might be hiding... as long as you and answer them honestly. 🙂
What are you doing in your day that you know isn't genuinely and significantly contributing to your pleasure, profit or purpose? What are you regularly spending time on that you know in your heart of hearts isn't important or urgent?
An example for me is scrolling aimlessly through social media. It can be an easy trap to fall into because I use it for my business, but what I found was that I had a habit of compulsively picking up my phone and just scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter... then 10, 15 or even 30 minutes later I found I was still scrolling. And there was real work to be done! Eventually I removed social media apps from my phone in order to minimise temptation. It was a huge help, and saved me not only the time I was wasting on the social media itself but also the time it took to refocus on the work I was originally doing when I got distracted.
As women, we were brought up to put other people's needs before our own. Of course compassion, generosity and selflessness are admirable qualities, but if we are constantly and consistently putting ourselves at the bottom of our own list of priorities then eventually you can end up burnt out with nothing left to give.
Where could you claim back some of the time that is currently focused on others? Where can you set boundaries to ensure that you have protected time for yourself and your business? What are the things you think you "have" to do for people, that they could be doing for themselves at least some of the time?
The people you are give away your time away to might be family, friends or clients, and they generally don't mean any harm, but setting some boundaries with a gentle but firm conversation could easily help you reclaim that hour each day.
Just because you can do something, that doesn't necessarily mean you should be the one doing it. If, like me, you hate housework and are not very good at it, it's worth asking for more help from your children or partner, or even getting a cleaner. If you really could do without the distractions of answering emails and calls, or faffing about with social media scheduling, a Virtual Assistant can work wonders.
If that makes you feel a bit icky, guilty, or like an unnecessary expense, think of it like this... Imagine if you paid someone £10-30 an hour to free up a few hours of your time spent cleaning, replying to emails, or scheduling social media, and you used that time to preparing for a speaking gig that then brought in a £3,000+ client. Wouldn't that be a worthwhile swap? I think so.
Whatever your answers to the questions above, I'd be surprised if you didn't identify at least one area that could free up some time in your day, whether it's 20 minutes or a full hour.
So the next step is to make that happen, which first requires making the decision to claim back that time that is currently being wasted or given away.
Once you've made the decision, create a priority list of actions you need to take to make it happen, I've included some ideas of what you might need to do below.
Then go for it! You might not save a whole hour a day immediately, or maybe you will! It's got to be worth a try hasn't it!?
And remember, you are not just trying to free up an hour just so that you can squeeze more work in. You want to fill at least some of that time with things that make you feel good, whether it's moving your body, meditating, or spending time with loved ones, because those things will help increasing your focus, productivity, and sense of fulfilment and wellbeing when you are working. That means you'll get more done in less time, freeing up even more time for the fun stuff!
Some examples of specific actions you might need to do in order to claim back your time:
Has this given you any insights or aha's? Where are you wasting time or giving it away? Or what have you done yourself to successfully claim back some of your time. I love to read your tips, tricks and insights, so please share in the comments box below.