4 Ways to focus on getting more done in less time

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Ever since I had kids, I’ve found myself saying one of the following way too much:

  • Hurry up
  • I don’t have time
  • I’m too busy
  • Let’s go!!!!

Sounds fun, right?

Always feeling like you’re running against a clock isn’t fun. Projecting that onto little people feels even worse. And being the personal development junkie that I am, I started reading up on time to see if I couldn’t get to the bottom of how it works, and more importantly, how to make it work for me.

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Here’s the crux of what I learned; time isn’t real but is merely a concept we use structure our lives and day.

Mind-bender!

Interestingly enough, the other thing we entrepreneurs get our knickers in a twist about — money — is also merely a construct we’re all buying into. But that’s a whole other post, so let’s get back to time not being real.

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When you think about it, it makes sense, right? It’s why a 12-hour date with an amazing guy or girl flies by in a blink of an eye, while a root-canal feels like an eternity. It’s why we lose or gain hours when we travel across time zones.

So, if time is NOT a linear, fixed thing outside of us, it’s within the realm of reason that we have the power to change our relationship with it and make it work for us instead of the other way around, right?

If you, like the majority of the population, ever feel like you just don’t have enough time to do what you want and need to do I’m here to tell you that you do. And you know I’ll never give you theory without action so here are 4 ways to get more done and still feel like you have plenty of time.

1) Stop saying “I’m so busy”, “I don’t have time”, etc.

This sounds so simple, but if you can pull this off, your levels of well-being and productivity will skyrocket, I promise. Here’s how:

  • Start by taking one day where you consciously make a mental note of any time-scarcity thoughts or utterances you make. If you’re like me, you’ll be shocked at how easily you go there.
  • Next, bring some mindfulness to what’s behind those thoughts or words. When you said you were too busy to play hide and seek with your kid, were you really or did you just not want to play hide and seek (hey, there’s no judgment here)? When you said you were too busy with client work to sign up for that course, go to that event, or read that book were you really or did the idea of up-leveling your business freak you out?

There’s ALWAYS an underlying reason for our feeling out of alignment, but when we learn how to appropriately place the emotion or behavior where it belongs (instead of pinning it all on the catch-all lack of time), we create the opportunity to take action, deal with it, and move forward.

2) Let your standards slip

I’m one of those people who likes everything clean, tidy, and in its place. Can you relate?  The thought of leaving dishes in the sink to “do in the morning” is horrifying to me, as is convenience food for dinner, or an over-flowing laundry basket.

But here’s the thing; when I had kids, I had to make a choice between a spotless and perfectly ordered house and having a thriving business and happy family. There quite simply wasn’t the energy or time for me to do it all. So, I made decision about what I could and couldn’t live with and it goes something like this:

  • My office is always spotless and orderly, which means it’s off-limits to kids now (especially the sharpie-toting, wall-drawing, two-year old!). No matter what the rest of the house looks like, my professional space is always calm, orderly, and ready for business.
  • I don’t cook dinner every night. It’s still important that we have home cooked meals, so I cook two big pots of something on Sunday and that’s what we eat all week. Yes, it makes for less than inspired dining at time, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a trade-off I can live with.
  • We divide and conquer. Of course, I think I can do everything around the house better than my husband (an illusion I’m sure he wouldn’t mind staying in place), but I’ve learned to delegate. Since I do the evenings, he does all the morning stuff including breakfast, packed lunches, and making sure the kitchen is spick-and-span before he leaves for work so I don’t lose precious morning work time loading the dishwasher.

Now it’s your turn. What compromises can you make to find more time for the things you want and need to do? How can you streamline things you already do (like my Sunday batch cooking) to create hours in your week? Write a list (yes, now!)

3) Know where you create most value

While I’m sure you’re excellent at answering emails, picking up after your kids, or spending hours trying to figure out a technical problem an expert could solve in minutes, I would question whether they’re the best use of your energy, passion, and time.

The best way to figure out where your energy is best spent is to track and record your activities along with your engagement and energy level for a week or two. It will quickly become clear when you’re in your flow and when you’re just doing “busy” work. When you identify what activities you love to do, are good at, and generate (or have the potential to) income, DO MORE OF THOSE!

4) Outsource the rest

This lesson took me a long time to learn, but once I got the hang of it I really got into it!

Go back to your log and identify the activities that you are either (a) not great at, (b) don’t like, or (c) you know full well are a waste of your time an energy. Now see what you can either let go of (yes, just let it go!), or outsource.

Here are just a few categories of stuff I no longer do:

  • Technical stuff, of pretty much any kind
  • Posting and managing my content
  • Cleaning my house

And you can be sure that as my business continues to grow, this list will grow right along with it.

I’d love to hear from you! What would you like to let go of or outsource? Where do you add most value and find most joy? What would you do with all those extra hours? Leave a comment below!

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About Justine Clay

Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Through a series of clear, actionable steps, Justine will teach you how to identify what makes you stand out from the crowd, create a marketing message that resonates with your ideal clients, and build a successful and fulfilling creative business or career. Sign up for Justine’s free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today.

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