GUEST CONTRIBUTION FROM MEMBER, LETITIA
The modern woman is busy; however busyness is not an excuse for laziness. Busyness is not an island you can stand on so that you can surround yourself with fearful excuses either.
Busyness requires that you find short and small ways to work in your passions, loves, and daydreams to a day that already requires you to kick some serious ass.
Here are top tips for fitting virtually anything into your packed schedule.
1. FIND YOUR ESSENTIALS
Your essentials are your “loves.” Make a list. I find that keeping it simple keeps it complete, and will leave you feeling less stressed out.
Think of this list as your new set of guidelines.
2. IDENTIFY YOUR TIME WASTERS
Next to your list of essentials, spend some time identifying your time wasters. This list might be a little more exhaustive.
An example of a time waster would be social networking. Social networking is a pit; let’s just be honest. I want to believe that cable is educational, but inevitably I wake up in the middle of the night, on my couch, with popcorn stuck to my hair.
I could probably be nominated Queen Scatterbrain. There are plenty of tasks that I do throughout the week that I could consolidate to save time. For example- errands.
Why not spend an afternoon getting everything done instead of running around like a mad woman at the end of the work day looking for something to eat?
E-mail is another huge time waster. Smartphones make it easy to check your e-mail instantly, but it is probably more helpful to process your e-mails during a scheduled period of the day.
4. THE ART OF SAYING ‘NO’
Saying “no” is another important and healthy habit to acquire. For one thing, everyone has limits. You have priorities and a limited schedule.
Ask yourself- is this something I really have time for and does it fit in with my current goals? If the answer is no, it might be time to ditch the commitment.
5. DON’T DRAG IN THE MORNING
Pick out the most dreaded of all the tasks and knock it off right away. This prevents you from putting it off and filling your day with other less pressing matters, while the big task still hangs over your head like a rain cloud.
Don’t allow yourself to do anything until this task is done. The rest of the day will thank you for your diligence.
6. DELEGATE (OR OUTSOURCE)
Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. Delegating tasks to others will help you focus on core tasks and projects. If delegation is not an option, you might be able to explore outsourcing.
With the Internet, you can connect to literally thousands of freelancers who are looking for experience and work. If there are small tasks, such as design or editing that can be done by a freelancer, it will give you the opportunities to work on the things that you love and save you a bunch of time.
7. FIND ‘SWEET SPOTS’
I find that there are three really great times to get items from your essential list done.
If you are a morning person, consider getting up early to take a run, read, play with your dog, etc. Mornings are great because you are alert (hopefully) and haven’t been slammed with all your obligations.
The few hours right after work are great for errands or distressing activities. I find exercise to be a great way to break up the day.
Evenings can seem like a good time to get odds and ends done, but with your simplified to-do list the evenings should feel more casual or relaxed. If you have small children, this time can feel like a God-send. Use it for some “me” time!
My last tip seems simple, but for women like me who depend on technology for work and daily life, unplugging can be a real chore.
Technology can be great. It can help you streamline, outsource, and stay organized, but it can also be a major distraction. Who hasn’t spent a couple hours stalking people from high school?
While the initial decision to limit Internet or phone usage can feel like detaching a limb, the discipline will pay off in physical and mental free space.
Any other tips from our fabulously busy but driven readers? I would love to hear from you!
Letitia is a hedonistic lover of all things local and founder of Coterie, a mobile app for helping the working gal discover products at stores nearby. She lives for anything pink, chocolate, and sparkly though she’s known to be a ball buster and tells it to your like it is. Wanderlust is her middle name and connecting with vivacious creative entrepreneurs is her game, so hit her up on Twitter and Facebook if you’re looking for your next virtual BFF!