Five Quick Time Management Tips

Louder for the folks in the back. 🗣

I will take a productive day over a busy one any damn day. In fact, I have designed my lifestyle and trained myself on how to be more intentional with my time and energy. I have always found it interesting to watch people that can’t get their work or personal tasks done in the allotted time. Some even wear it like a badge of honor when they are working nights and weekends just to keep up, but it’s not a badge of honor and it’s definitely not a status symbol to be busy. It is our responsibility to stop this before we have another generation of stressed out, anxious, tired, overwhelmed “busy” kids.

In fact, I have found that being busy is more likely to uncover 3 things going on. The first and biggest is an inefficient use of time. Next is overthinking and lacking the ability to quickly make a decision and move on to the next task at hand. Finally, it can also uncover a perfectionist who is more focused on everything being perfect than everything getting done. So much time wasted on the above.

Obviously there are cases where the amount of work expected and the time provided to complete are off balanced, but I can promise this is a rarity. If you are one of those people that’s not managing your time, not able to make a decision quickly, and trying to make everything perfect, there are options to help you grow and get better with your time. Whether in work or your personal life, here are my 5 secrets to maximizing your energy while minimizing your output.

  1. Create a focused list first thing in the morning of 2-3 items that will serve as your goals or focus that day. If you are spending more than a few minutes on something not on your list, then just stop. It’s that simple.
  2. Time block either 30 mins or 1 hour and spend that time only doing what aligns with those 2-3 items. Don’t check your phone or emails during this time and it is best to start first on your biggest and scariest task. This not only gets it off your plate, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment and energy to complete the next task. Then take a 5-10 minute break to get up, walk around, grab a snack or whatever before you start the next time block. This may be one of the best kept secrets! It really helps focus on one thing vs multi-tasking, which has been proven to not be effective.
  3. If other items do come up, and they will, just block them out until your time block is up. You do have to plan for these unexpected tasks in your day though. Make sure you are keeping an hour or so a day set aside to handle new tasks that need completed quickly. Follow the time blocking tip to handle, along with OHIO mentioned below. Lastly, it is perfectly OK to say no. Try it once and see how good it feels and how easy it is may surprise you! No explanation needed. Also, I think a lot of people feel like they are doing the right thing by saying “yes” to everything, when in fact you are likely hurting yourself, your other priorities, and whatever you decide to take on if it’s not within your areas of focus or you don’t have capacity for it.
  4. OHIO-Only handle it once is another one of my favorites. If it’s something that you know could possibly come back onto your plate at some point, try and anticipate what could cause that to come back and go ahead and address it. This is especially effective if you have an email that has several questions. Sometimes it is easier to just call the person and answer all questions, along with asking them if they have other questions. This cuts down on the back & forth emails that require you to think about it and focus on it for several rounds of back and forths. Put yourself in the other persons shoes and think what questions you may have and just answer all of them.
  5. Delegate!!! My best example of this is house cleaning. I know my weakness is cleaning and it takes up a large portion of my weekend. I started delegating this to a professional about two years ago, and have never looked back. I am now able to focus my time and energy on my family, my health and growing my business. All of these items make it worth every penny spent and it gives me the opportunity to bring in more money through growing my business that easily covers this expense. Delegating work to the right person gives you more time and energy to focus on the items you are good at.

Since time is a non renewable resource, time management skills are something that more people should be focused on improving instead of continuing to work “harder”. I also honestly have zero patience for those that believe they have to “hustle and grind” from sun up to sun down and are spreading that nasty rumor to the rest of us. Those that fall for the hustle and grind are setting themselves up for a lifetime of inefficiency IMO. Y’all go ahead..I’m going to focus my energy on the two or three tasks that are most aligned with my goals and then I’m going to take a nap. 🤷‍♀️

Anyone else on the work smarter not harder team?!

Friendship is free

Long sappy post ahead..so here’s the cliff notes if you don’t have the time or energy to read the full post: Don’t be a dick..instead be a good friend

Full sappy version below and feel free to grab some tissues if you’re feeling your emotions today and ready for some self reflection:

I have regrets that I haven’t made spending time with all of my friends a priority like they deserve. I’m so lucky to have so many close friends that I have met over the years and have no excuses for being too busy to reach out, even just a simple text or just something..anything. It’s so easy to say we are busy and we will hang out next week, which turns into next month, which turns into next year. And then, just like that, last week, last month, and last year are gone..the time is gone. So here I am reflecting on those choices.

I have several friends going through some difficult times in their lives right now. Their struggles are all so different, and I just wish so hard I could do more for each and every one of them. I wish I could take the pain away and just tell some of my hilarious jokes, make a fool out of myself with some sweet Mindy dance moves, and just like that, it’s all wiped away and replaced with a big smile and we are laughing so hard we are crying. But sometimes those tears have to fall and they can’t always be from laughing too hard.

We have all gone through something challenging, something we didn’t know we could get through at the time, or maybe we are currently, or we will in the future at some point. There is absolutely no way we can avoid the crazy shit life is going to throw our way and a lot of times we have no choice but to lean into it.

That’s where our true friends come in. To be there as a light in the dark, to be that shoulder to cry on, to be that person to help pick us up when we’ve fallen and don’t think we can get up on our own.

Value those true friends if you are fortunate enough to be going through good times in your lives right now. Meet up for dinner, call them to say hello, send them flowers on a random Tuesday afternoon. Just show them. Don’t wait until the difficult times to be there for them. Do it today and everyday and show them the love and gratitude you have for them.

Small actions in the good times can help us all gear up to handle the tough times when they come our way. Those that are by our side for the good times also let us know who we can look to and count on when the bad times roll in. Don’t ever forget that power you hold to make a difference for someone you care about. You could be their one person to make them feel strong when they are at their weakest. Remember that.

Teach Them Instead

I always hear people and have even said myself that “I want to give my kids everything I didn’t have” or “they deserve the world” and obviously that doesn’t mean buying a bunch of crap and “spoiling” them. But let’s be honest..it kind of starts to look like that no matter how much you try not to spoil them.

We make sure they have all of the latest and greatest name brand clothes, hot toys or electronics “because their friends have them” or “because we just couldn’t resist the clothes sale and went a little overboard”. We make sure they are attending all of the activities and getting them top of the line sports gear and paying a little extra for that personal pitching coach (or whatever your sport is). We’ve all been there, and even though they are persuasive, I don’t think they really care about any of those “things” they get.

I decided to change the game this year while I still have the chance. Instead of spending money on them, I’m more interested in spending time with them. My kids both still want to hang out with me, and the older one could change her mind tomorrow (she’s turning ten soon and really into herself and her friends these days, so my window is getting narrower by the day).

So why wouldn’t I use this opportunity to spend as much time with them as I can and start teaching them the things I wished I would have known instead of buying them what I didn’t have? We had both kids help with painting and cleaning up at our rental house, and we explained all the details and why we bought it. I also recently read The Latte Factor with my oldest and we talked about it as we went along, and how the little things add up financially. We’ve also been doing a lot of walks and pool time and there’s so many options that don’t cost money.

So why not save that money you were going to spend on junk, invest it in some real estate or other retirement account and instead invest your time with your kids. I have a feeling the kids will hold on to the memories with you for a lifetime and forget all about that new outfit or toy before they even outgrow it.

Organizing my life

I don’t know if the eleven years of me bitching finally wore my husband down or what, but I’m so happy for what he finally did to organize our lives. You may have seen my post last week on Instagram about the garage door incident..if not, shameless plug to go follow my_semi_basic_life on IG and FB. You’re seriously missing out on everything, because a lot of times I post short stories and pics there. 😉

But back to my point. Trying and failing at times to live a more minimalist lifestyle leaves us with a million places to be at once sometimes. I don’t want to glorify the “busy” life, but I think we all fall victim to overcommitting our time once in a while, and it can get hard to keep up with a husband, two kids and three dogs (yes the dogs have activities). 🤣

To give you a glimpse into our world in the month of April, here are a few examples:

I have to travel for work about once a week, my husband is gone for a week for work, daughter has softball two nights a week, Girl Scouts every two weeks, along with a family camp out, son has t-ball two nights a week, there’s 735 bday parties including my sons bday, aerial yoga classes, ladies night, book club, dr appt, dentist appt, dog obedience training classes, dog walker helping a few days, school presentation, Easter activities, take your kid to work day, contractor and property management bids and sweat equity to get our rental renter ready, and likely several things I’m forgetting. Keep in mind that doesn’t count normal stuff like groceries and food prep or the urgent care visit I’m waiting for as we speak for a sick kid…phew. Are you exhausted just reading that?! Try living it! Once again..not trying to make being busy seem glamorous, as it just escalated really quickly, and by the time I noticed, I was already in too deep. 😬

But my awesome husband set up a Family Sharing calendar and it’s a GAME CHANGER. We can at least now add events as we learn about them, so the other person knows what’s up. For my next trick, we just have to figure out how to be in two places at one time. 🤣 If you are a single head of house family, this would be great to coordinate with the other parental unit or even for grandparents or people that help with care.

We have iPhones and I’ve conveniently placed directions below (full disclosure that I didn’t set it up and have no clue if these are legit directions, but Google rarely lies).

If you use Android, first of all, stop that. 🛑 But if you must, directions below for you.

Now you can coordinate your busy schedules also..your welcome. 😉

Also, please feel free to share other apps or ways you calm the chaos in your life..would love to hear other ideas. 💡

24/7

Time to get busy on this blog post for you lovely folks (please reread this sentence at the end of this post and take a second to laugh at how clever my writing really is..really)

What time is it where you are? What are you doing right now? What have you already done? Who were you with? Geez Mindy, why the interrogation? Well, I’m relying on you to answer the age old question..where DID the time go?

I will be your guide on this quest. My name is Mindy, and I’m recovering from the “I’m too busy” lifestyle, and I am also definitely a huge work in progress in that arena. So please don’t get the impression I have this all figured out, because I am as far from perfection as it gets.

What I do have going for me is the realization of a few very important things. 1) Time is literally one of the most valuable things you will ever have. 2) You are the one in control of your time and how you choose to spend it. 3) None of us know how much time we really have, and the way you spend your time today can positively or negatively affect your future. 4) Most of us forget the three things I just mentioned, or at minimum, we take them for granted.

When we are running around “busy” all the time, we are likely missing out on other things happening right under our nose.

Society seems to embrace the busy lifestyle and makes it seem like this is the norm. If you haven’t figured this out about me yet, I am all about challenging these norms and taking a different path. I’m also all about being intentional with my time and finding ways to spend it that align with my values. For example, I value my mental and physical wellbeing, so ya damn right that Yoga is going to bring me value and therefore is a great use of my time.

Let’s stop making it seem like it is success to constantly be busy and running from one activity to the next without a chance to even breathe. A lot of us have kids watching and learning from our example, and a lot of these same kids are the reason we think we have to rush around every day.

I challenge you to examine how you view your time and answer the question..where did your time go? Start by grabbing your paper and pen and just keeping track. Much like the figuring out your budget and money, it starts by writing it down. Take 2 or 3 days and write down what you did with EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. Do you like what you see? If so, great..keep budgeting your time just as you are.

If not, where can you take back your time? What is that one thing you would do “if you just had the time?” Remember, YOU are the one in control of your time and how you choose to spend it. So thank you for choosing to spend a few of your 1,440 minutes today reading my post. 😉