Do you ever feel like your schedule runs your life, and it’s filled with clutter?
These are busy times, and it’s easy for our planners and calendars to fill up with things that we don’t feel we have chosen. Sound familiar? I find this comes in cycles for me, and every now and then I need to hit the reset button and put myself back in the driver’s seat of my schedule. Here are a few of the things I do to help clear the decks and make room for all the great things I know are coming.
DECLUTTER TIP #1: Know what your peak times of day are
What time of day are you the quickest thinking, fastest acting, most efficient version of yourself? For me, it’s from 8-11 am. Why does it matter? Because if I keep those 3 hours in my schedule clear I can power through my one big goal of the day and know that I’m going to make some serious progress. How do I use this to declutter my schedule? I actually block those off in my schedule so that I don’t take meetings, plan to do errands or answer my phone during those times. Make your peak productivity times your “sacred space”.
DECLUTTER TIP #2: Batch your tasks
The less time you spend transitioning between types of tasks (or clients) the more actual working time you’ll have in your day. It takes a lot of energy to switch gears, so you want to minimize that wherever possible. Are there any tasks you could batch? For example, could you save up all your errands and assign them to a specific day or half day where all you do is run around completing errands? What about cooking extra food a couple meals a week so you can skip or reduce the meal prep every second day? Or declaring Tuesday “writing and scheduling blog post day”. It takes less time when you’re in that flow state.
DECLUTTER TIP #3: Find another way
Are there things you’re doing just because that’s how you’ve always done it? Look for ways you can renegotiate the status quo on those things that take up a lot of your time, but don’t fuel your passions. Travel time is a major time eater for me. Does that meeting really have to be in person? Lots of times, the answer is no. If I ask myself before a meeting do we really need a meeting? Often the answer is no – a detailed email would do just as well. Or if you do need a meeting, does it need to be in person? Would a phone call, or video conference call work just as well and take less time? Usually, yes. And generally, I find once I suggest an adjustment, people are excited about how that will save them time and energy as well.
DECLUTTER TIP #4: Schedule in what you want more of
Start by putting into the schedule what you DO want. Actually block off the time to do things you want to do. Then when you look at your calendar and see that the day is looking fairly full already, you’re less likely to take on more than you can handle.
DECLUTTER TIP #5: Start by suggesting what works for you
This one is fantastic. Instead of saying, “Let’s go see a movie” and then going back and forth until you find a time and/or movie and make the plan – start off by asking for what you really want. For example, “I’d love to see Trolls on Tuesday night, are you free?” And while you’re waiting for a response, think about 2 backup dates/times that will work in your schedule. So when they come back with “Love to, but that day doesn’t work for me. When else are you free?” you’ll be ready with options that are most likely to work for you.