When working on getting your time back or “fixing something” we add by default, start to subtract to get your time back instead.
When you still want to be high performing and successful, it can be easier to pack on your schedule with information and to-do’s. We think more is better, attempting to overachieve and squeeze it all in to try to get it done. Instead, what happens is getting overloaded and working in a heightened state of overperforming stress! Nothing wrong with high performance- but if it’s at a cost of your wellbeing, that’s a different story. True high performance comes when we can become efficient in eliminating what is unnecessary and staying on top of how we spend our time.
What to do? Start by subtracting. Research from the University of Virginia found in their 2021 study that we are more inclined to add versus subtract if we don’t have cues to.
So I have a little brain power challenge today if you’re up to trying it! Let’s try subtracting one thing to see how you can gain some of your time back.
1. Stop Distractions.
That phone, the scrolling on social network, water cooler conversations, set them aside. Turn off your email, text messages, and social media notifications while you are completing tasks. If your focus is all over the place, your response level is always in a heightened alert, with your stress level up the roof (your body may be so used to it you don’t notice it).
2. Jot down how you spend you time.
Take out that pen and paper. Writing it out helps you focus and calm any heightened state you may still be feeling.
3. Look at the following three areas where you can start subtracting to get your time back and pick one only.
Don’t try to tackle them all. What is the most important thing to focus on at this present moment? It may take you a few minutes longer to really think about it.
You want to put your full attention what is overwhelming and taking up too much time.
Subtract possessions. I’m not talking about your closets or drawers, although they’re an option. I’m talking about your space that you work and live in daily. Look at what is in your eyesight and can be put away, donated, sold.
What can be removed? Can your desk benefit from a little decluttering? Clearing up your work area helps remove distractions and creating anxiousness when working. Is your desk cluttered? What is one thing that you can eliminate today.
Is there a room you spend most of your time in? What is one thing that you can take out from there to give you more space?
Look at your work processes. Is there a step that is redundant that can be eliminated and improved by it? Having defined systems and processes can help you be more efficient.
What is one thing you can delegate that you don’t have to do? Or is there an application or software you can use to help with one (or two!) tasks you do weekly? Eliminate it from your task list.
Review how much time you spend on social media/TV/emails. Can you reduce the time you spend scrolling, reading emails and watching TV. How much can you cut back on TV, social media scrolling?
Are you overcommitting to social gatherings, meetings during the week? Are there several meetings or events that you are attending weekly or monthly that take up time and drain you of energy to do anything afterward? It is easy to overcommit to several things when we can limit or cut back on one or two.
4. Keep track of your progress
Keep track of the time you have saved and make any adjustments as needed. For example, if you eliminated a step in one of your processes at work, how much time did you spend and are the results the same or better? Keeping track of your progress will help keep you motivated to stay consistent and not fall back to the old habit of adding steps.
5. Use the extra time intentionally.
What will you do with the extra time? Once you subtract and get your time back , it makes it easier to focus and start getting it back to work on what truly matters.
The benefits once you are more intentional with your time:
- You become aware of what are the better options/decisions to choose. If its not important, there is no time for it.
- Saying No becomes easier as you choose how to spend your extra time differently
- It opens the door to new opportunities, relationships and interests. The time you lacked before is now available for you to decide how you want to use it. At that point it is okay to add what is missing- and use that time for the important stuff!
Do you need more time for self-care or family? Is there a passion project you had always wanted to start but hadn’t had the time to?
Making time for what matters by subtracting what doesn’t help create the work/life balance and harmony we seek.
What will you subtract if you’re taking the challenge?
Need more support in time management and achieving a better work/life balance? Contact me today and schedule a call so we can see if you are a good candidate for the Private 1:1 Coaching program.
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