Sorry for the lull on the blog lately! I managed to break my computer last week by dropping a protein shake on it. Anywaaaaay, new comp and we’re back in biz.
Today we’re talking a few simple tips to take your productivity levels from scrolling-and-netflix-binging to next-level efficiency. Whether you want to start your own blog, find more time to study, get ripped at the gym, start a business… WE WILL FIND YOU THE TIME.
Let’s get right down to it, shall we?
First of all you’re going to want to be planning for the week before you’re in it. I know, sounds like a yawn of a tip, but it’s not. It’s gonna get real mathematical in a little bit, so just stay with me. Make sure yo get comfy and you’ve got your laptop and phone handy (cause you’ll need the calculator on it), and maaaaybe a pen and pad if you’re feeling retro.
Note: I’m not gonna lie here, this whole process took me like 2 hours.
Alrighty then, you’re sitting with your phone, computer, pen, paper and a couple hours to spare? Let’s get started.
First thing’s first, we’re going to calculate how much time you have.
There are 168 hours in a week.
But you tend to sleep, right? And you might have a job… So, to find out how much extra time you have, we will subtracting your office hours and how much you tend to sleep a night. Let’s say you sleep 8 hours a night and work 8 hours a day. That means you spend 40 hours a week working and 56 hours a week sleeping. If you’re unemployed, subtract your sleep hours only. If you’re student, subtract your class hours and your sleep hours. You get the gist.
TOTAL HOURS/WEEK – TOTAL WORK HOURS/WEEK – TOTAL SLEEP HOURS/WEEK
168 – 40 – 56
This gives you 72 hours of pure time every week.
That number is your base number and will be different for everyone.
Grab your pen and paper and right down the number of hours you have of non-office, non-sleeping time, whether it’s 72 hours or otherwise. We’ll call it your magic number.
NOW, decide how much of the magic number you need to dedicate to other routine necessities. For example, if you spend an hour prepping/eating dinner every day, add that in. If you have to drive or pick up your kids/boyfriends/husbands, add that in. Also add the amount of time you take from the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you’re washed, brushed, fed and ready to start the day (I personally give myself 30 minutes for this, helloooo hobo chic).
Personally, I only included routine things for 5 days a week. I left Saturday and Sunday open, cause I kinda just let myself do whatever on those days. For example:
- Dinner: 5 hrs (1 hour x 5 days)
- Wake up/get ready/eat breakfast: 2.5 hours (0.5 hrs x 5 days)
Once you’ve allotted time chunks to your routine things, calculate your new magic number by subtracting those time amounts.
Answer: 64.5 hours.
DUDE. You now have 64.5 hours EVERY WEEK to dedicate to WHATEVER the hell you want.
Now, before you take this as a an excuse to procrastinate, let’s move on to step 3.
THIS is where you PRIORITIZE.
Ask yourself: what do I want to work on in my life? What’s important?
Here’s what it was for me:
- Creating content and doing social media for this blog
- Working out and challenging my body to reach new levels of fitness.
- Complete the contract work I’m doing for another company
- Start my business: finish planning it and get it off the ground (which means office shopping, designing a website, etc.)
It sounds like a lot, but I don’t have office hours, so my magic number was a little bigger than 72 to start out with. You can get creative. The beauty of it, also, is that some of the priorities can be longer term and others might change every week. Some ideas:
- reading more books
- working on your fitness
- organizing your home or office
- learn a new hobby
- start a blog
- spend time with family
- helping others
- write a book
- start a business
- learn an instrument or write a song
Alright, once you’ve determine a few things you absolutely want to do, you just need to allocate chunks of time to each thing. For example, 5 hours of exercise a week. 7 hours of social media for the blog every week, etc.
Step 4 – Make it real
Now that you’ve decided what’s important and how you will spend your time, you’re going to pencil it in.
Open google calendar on your laptop (you should have it if you have a gmail account) and while you’re at it, download the app on your phone so that your calendar is accessible with you everywhere you go. Google calendar sends you notifications on your phone to remind of what you should be doing, so it’s really helpful to have the app.
Back to your laptop… Schedule in your sleep, your office hours and your get ready/breakfast time. Once that’s done, you’ll easily be able to see when you should be going to sleep. Then schedule the rest, starting with the routine tasks that tend to be consistent (like dinner, or driving someone to work). Make sure you leave time to get between places, for example, don’t pencil in the gym at 5pm if you’re in the office till 5pm.
I marked any leftover time as leisure. I actually ended up with a pretty good chunk of leisure, so voilà. You don’t even have to swear off netflix (thank god).
Have fun with it. Colour code each category of activity and make it a schmeeeexy calendar. Mine seriously looks like rainbow fish.
Finally, each week will be different, so find time to plan on the Sunday before it hits. When you’re making the calendar, you can set the routine activities so that they repeat every week at the same time. For example, every morning I drive my boyfriend to work. I’ve made this event repeat every week, between Monday and Friday. When I go to plan my calendar for the next week, I know I’ll have less to add in.
I’m telling you guys, these 4 steps will make ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Just try it for one week, and see how it goes. Even if you’re not able to follow your schedule to the letter, you’ll find that you’re much more efficient.
Implementing a calendar like this allows you to take control of your time. It won’t just fly by while you’re watching TV, commuting or doing something weird (sometimes I just stare at the wall and waste like a full half hour).
By implementing these strategies, you’ll allow yourself to make conscious decisions of how to spend your time.