A friend of mine called this week, frustrated because she had a major exam to study for, but no time to study. She knew that if she didn’t figure out how to make the time to study, and fast, that a great opportunity would pass her by: an opportunity to work part-time, close to home with a flexible schedule that would allow her to be home as much as possible with her husband and two young kiddos. You may not have young kids at home but you may be working full time, caring for an aging parent, or working to launch a new business while still working your day job. Whatever your season or reason for feeling pressed for time, I want to share the same tips with you that I shared with my friend that will help you get big things done when you have little time.
My grandfather used to always say, “Just do the best you can with what you’ve got.” I love that and appreciate the wisdom in it more and more every day. Your schedule may be really tough right now but you can learn to embrace this season, whatever it is. We have to deal with what is our reality…not what we wish was true. Use these tips to escape overwhelm, kick excuses to the curb, and reach goals that have been waiting for the day when you have more time.
Here are my tips for getting big things done when you have little time:
- Pray first: Before your feet hit the ground, ask God to shield you from distractions and make the most of your time. Also, pray for discernment to know the difference between distractions and what you are called to do each day. God can give you time-saving ideas, send friends & family to help, or show you other ways to save time that you haven’t thought of before.
- Create an ideal schedule: Write it out on paper. Then color code it so you can SEE where your time is going and make the necessary changes or at least be aware of your current commitments. It will make it easier to say no, recognize pockets of time for you to work on big projects, and help you be fully present during those times when you are with those you love most. Here’s a quick video on How To Create Your Ideal Schedule.
- Use a timer: It will help you stay on track, be more aware of your time, and help you know when to STOP working and just BE. Your timer is your friend my friend.
- Don’t underestimate what can be done in 15 minutes: Before kids, I wouldn’t start a bigger project until I had a big chunk of time to just knock it out and get it done. Now that will not work for me! At first, I felt like my ability to do anything other than clean my kitchen counter had been zapped. But THEN I discovered the power of 15 minutes. Grab your timer and START! Don’t dump the whole closet in the floor (old method) but instead tackle one shelf or one drawer at a time. Then, if all is well after your timer goes off, set it again and tackle another drawer. Before you know it, it really will get done.
- Sometimes the mess just has to sit there for a bit: Today, I just dropped off my two youngest daughters at Mom’s Day Out. This is my writing day. As soon as I came home and walked through my kitchen, it screamed, “you need to clean me!” Yes, eventually I will but for the next 4 hours, it will have to wait. Cleaning the kitchen time will come after I pick up the girls this afternoon while we’re having a snack. Sometimes you have to put blinders on for a period of time so you can tackle the other stuff. The dirty kitchen, laundry, etc will still be there after you do the big projects that need your attention. If I waited until my house was spotless & the laundry was caught up to start other projects, then I would never start.
- Have coded activities: I’ve learned to code things into categories: #1) Things that don’t require concentration and I can do with loud children running around, #2) Things that require full concentration so I do them either before anyone else is awake or on days when kids are at school or Mom’s Day Out, #3) Things that need to happen daily, and #4) Things that I can do with my kiddos that they enjoy too. It helps to write out all of the tasks you need to do, want to do, and must do each day and then categorize them in a way that makes sense to you.
- Post your goals on index cards: Post your goals all over your house, in your car, as your screensaver on your phone, etc. It helps to be reminded of what you really want and it will encourage you to keep moving forward.
- Use the iBloom Life & Business Planner: It really is an amazing tool that helps you break big projects into bite-sized tasks, identify your priorities and live into them, and map out what success in business and in life REALLY means to you so you’ll have the right target and know when you hit it! You can test out a month of the printable planner for FREE!
I’m convinced that the enemy wants us all discouraged and thinking, “We don’t have enough time to do what we need to do… so why even bother?!?!” That is a lie! We have EXACTLY enough time to do what God has created us to do in every season of our lives. We may need to be more intentional, creative, and organized to accomplish it, but IT IS POSSIBLE. You can do this!
What is something that you have been putting off that you are going to get out there and tackle? Share in a comment below!