Each day, we all get 1,440 minutes to play with. Subtract sleep time and you’re left with somewhere around 1,000 minutes to do all the things. Sounds a lot, doesn’t it? But the reality is very different. You’re probably feeling more time poor than time abundant (it’s why you’re reading this!) And in terms of being on top of it all, life is more chaotic than calm!
We hear you!
Life these days is super busy. We’re always juggling and as a result, the overwhelm is real.
Here’s some good news…
There’s a good chance you’ll discover more time in your day – simply by avoiding these five common mistakes.
Keep reading to discover what they are and how you can turn your back on them for good.
No clear vision
In what direction are you driving your life? What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to be? What do you want to spend your time doing?
Create a clear vision and you’ll have a compass you can use to guide your decisions and help you prioritize. You’ll know for sure where you need to spend your time for maximum rewards.
For example, if your goal is to save enough money for your dream home, you’ll know to prioritize the tasks and opportunities that can help you earn more, spend less, and nudge up your bank balance.
If you want to get back into shape so you have the energy and stamina to keep up with your kids you won’t let your workouts to take a back seat – even when the work piles on.
Without a clear vision you’ll drift.
You’ll disappear down tangents that lead to nowhere, waste time on activities that don’t bring you joy, and ultimately find yourself frustrated and feeling trapped.
What’s your vision for your life?
If you haven’t already, take some time this week to really think about how you want to spend your time each day. It’s how you can transform time into more of the things you love.
Trying to multitask
I hear you! When your to-do list is buckling with the weight, it’s tempting to tackle multiple things at once.
You try and write an email while watching a webinar or finish up a proposal when you’re listening to updates during a team call.
The problem is that multitasking doesn’t work.
You won’t be more productive doing multiple things at once because your brain doesn’t work that way. In fact, your brain can’t handle more than one thing. What’s actually happening when you multitask is you’re constantly switching your attention from one task to another.
It’s a waste of bandwidth.
Your brain needs time to adjust and get up to speed each time you switch. As a result, tasks take longer.
Far better to focus.
Pick one task, give it all your attention, and sit tight until it’s done. When you focus in this way you allow your brain to get into its deep work zone. This is the place where you find your flow, where ideas are effortless, and where time almost stands still.
So quit the multitasking and instead go all in on concentration. You’ll get things done quicker, feel more fulfilled, and more than likely do a better job.
You’re always going to have a reason not to do the work – especially when a task is lengthy, boring, challenging, or outside your zone of genius.
Willpower is finite and often unpredictable. You can be on fire one minute and totally disinterested and disillusioned the next! It’s why procrastination is so damaging.
Give it an opening and procrastination will sabotage your work schedule, steal your time, and leave you faffing. It will give you all the excuses you could ever want to persuade yourself to ease off.
So be mindful when you hear that little voice whispering, “I’ll do x, after I’ve done y!”
Procrastination is extremely convincing. You know that it’s never ‘just’ a quick look on social, or just one more video on YouTube, or just 5 more minutes break.
But you do it anyway!
It’s up to you to outsmart procrastination. Train yourself to notice when it creeps up. Become aware of your triggers and take steps to kick it out the door. Here are some things that work for me:
- Popping on my headphones and listening to BrainFM – the music does something to my thinking that makes me focus.
- Setting the timer for 25 minutes (that’s one Pomodoro) and doing something – anything! More often than not, it’s starting that’s the hardest part. Once you’re off, momentum builds to keep you going.
- Listing out my to-dos so I can check them off when done. I love the little boost I get when scratching through something that’s complete.
- Eating the frog first thing. Tackle the hardest, most daunting task first thing and you’ll feel lighter for the rest of the day.
- Remembering my goals and the reason I’m doing this in the first place. This is a powerful perspective shifter than can get you back on track and up to speed.
Giving into perfectionism
You’ve probably been told that “good is good enough”.
I’m not sure I entirely agree with that. Instead, I believe you should always do your best when tackling a task, BUT be aware when you hit the ‘80’ mark.
It’s not a bad thing to be a perfectionist. It’s good to have high expectations and demands.
It’s not good to be a perfectionist if you use it as an excuse to never get anything finished in a reasonable amount of time.
You can always do more.
As a result, you need to find the balance between doing your best and knowing when those extra time-consuming tweaks won’t make a significant difference to the final outcome.
This isn’t about dumbing down your standards.
Instead, this is about cultivating a mindset and a work ethic that allows you to get things done and feel proud of yourself in the process.
Not planning your day
When you have a finite amount of money to spend, you aren’t frivolous. Instead, you budget carefully. You work out your priorities and you allocate how much money you can spend on things such as food, rent/mortgage, utilities, going out etc.
So why aren’t you more careful with your time?
It might not always feel like it, but you can always create more money. Overtime, side hustles, product launches, sales – creativity can put more cash in your bank account (even when you’ve spent it).
Time isn’t the same.
Once it’s gone it’s gone – for good.
You can’t turn back the clock.
You can’t relive lost minutes.
You only get one chance to make the most of the hours you’ve got.
So stop squandering your day by being careless with your time. Instead, budget your minutes in the same way you would limited cash.
Decide how much time each task on your to-do list deserves and then schedule that amount of time in your day to check it off.
Add in deadlines to force you to be accountable to yourself and those valuable minutes.
Check in with yourself to see if you’re on track – if not, make the changes that will turn things around for you.
As Jim Rohn said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” So make sure you’ve got a planner that can help you win.
Your time is your most valuable resource.
Use it well and you’ll be able to do more, achieve more, and create a life that you love. Which of these BIG productivity mistakes are you making? Let us know in the comments below.