Lack of Direction, Not Lack of Time
Do you ever feel as though you do not have enough time in the day to do all the things you need to do? Maybe you can get more done if you had 30hrs in a day instead of 24, right? Well the reality is we only have 24hrs in a day, we all have 24hrs in a day (like Beyonce). It's not about "needing more time," it's about "how am I spending my time?" It's all about your time management.
I struggle to find time to go to school, study/do homework, work full time, commute 3-4 hours a day, eat right, workout, get at least 5 hours of sleep, practice french, socialize with friends and family, and of course pursue my personal endeavors. If your routines and responsibilities are anything like mine it can be incredibly overwhelming and frustrating. It can all be so simple if we just take the time to plot it all out.
I'll share with you the method I created to help me get on track, it takes about 30 minutes to get started.
1. Get a piece of paper and pen out! Everything that's running wild in your head just write it down. (Page 1) Work, life/career goals, things you want to buy, bills, debt, things you want to learn, places you want to go, things stressing you, things you want to change, personal goals, everything! The reason for this is simply because sometimes we overthink things and think there's a lot going on when there really isn't, this way we have a tangible layout of come of thoughts.
2. Flip the paper or grab a new sheet! (Page 2) Write down your current schedules, work, school, gym, sleep, and time you spend traveling to and from places. The reason for this is so you have a visual of how your days are spent, see where you have free time to take on certain tasks, and how much sleep you're actually getting.
3. Honesty time! On that same page write out how you spend some of that down time. How much time you spend watching TV, how long you're on social media, do you procrastinate when you have a lot of work to get done, how much time do you really spend on homework/work projects? This is to help you realize your weakness and how you may be wasting golden time.
4. Now that we got everything in your head on paper lets try to section everything on the first page by category (page 3); work, career goals, school, personal goals (getting in shape, learning something new), bucketlist, debts, saving goals, etc. This way instead of trying to tackle everything one time you can choose a day to focus on a different category. (Feel free to grab a third page).
5. Prioritize! Take a look at your page 3 list and see whats the most important to you in each category. See what can be done today or tomorrow, this week or this month, this year or next year! Simmer down to see what you can focus (realistically) on first to start checking off your list.
6. Lets get to page 4, organize that schedule you made. Now that you've acknowledged where you procrastinate and kill time lets try to replace those time slots with productivity. (It takes 21 days to make or break a habit, you got this.) Plot out a simple schedule for the first week and step it up every week after. If you're a spontaneous person try doing a week schedule, if you're more of a standard routine person try out bi weekly or monthly schedules. Find you're balance!
7. Consistency! This is where you have to take your Teal Print and apply it to everyday. If you talk about your goals and have not done anything to work towards it then these plans you've written out are just words. But if you apply it to your everyday routine these words gain life, they become habit, they get done! Wake up and do the most difficult assignment first if need be to prevent you from stressing the entire day about getting it done. Set alarms, set reminders, plug it into your calendar, share it with your friends or family members who are cheerleaders for you and encourage you to stick to your goals. Create a vision board, wake up everyday and review it, make it happen!
Focus on one task at a time. Don't be at work worrying about taking care of homework and then worrying about work while you're doing homework. Focus on the current moment, stick to the schedule/routine/vision board you have put together. If Tuesday you work 9-5 and you're going to be too exhausted after work to head to the gym and work on an essay but Wednesday you're free until 6PM do not stress the gym and the essay all day Tuesday while you're at work. Wake up early Wednesday, get the essay out the way, spend 15 minutes jogging down the block. Plot out a schedule that'll leave you less stressed and feeling more accomplished because you got what you set out to do done. "Lack of direction, not lack of time," remember this little phrase the next time you feel like you need 30 hours instead of 24.