In this episode we’re reviewing some of the basics for making time for what matters most to you, while still taking care of our daily responsibilities.
Making time for what matters most to you is essential for a meaningfully productive life
A few days from now will be the 9th anniversary of the launch of The Productive Woman podcast. In the 9 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve talked to a lot of women about productivity–listeners, guests, and women I know or meet in real life. I only remember two women I’ve spoken to–both guests on the podcast–who told me they don’t consider themselves to be busy women. Most of the others have talked about being, not only busy, but too busy at times.
It’s easy to be busy and yet feel like we’re not accomplishing one or more of the things that matter most to us. But making time for what matters most to you is essential for living a fulfilling and meaningful life. This week I thought I’d do a refresher on the basic strategies you can use to help you prioritize and allocate time for the things that are most important to you:
1. Reflect on your priorities.
Take some time to reflect on what truly matters to you in life. Identify your core values and the activities or relationships that align with those values. This will help you determine what deserves your time and attention.
This is about awareness and intention. Instead of being reactive–going through the day dealing with what comes up (often other people’s priorities for your time, energy, and attention)–thinking intentionally about what really matters to you is a starting point for setting your own agenda.
When you identify those core values and the most important activities or relationships, ask yourself: Do my calendar, my to-do list, and my spending habits reflect those values and priorities?
I love the way one article puts it: “If you find yourself saying, “I have to …” with a sigh for a lot of your calendar items, that’s sure sign that you are spending time in a way that doesn’t bring you joy. Sure, we all have plenty of things we have to do, but many of us have a lot more control over our time than we want to admit.”
2. Set specific goals.
Once you’ve identified your priorities, set specific goals related to those areas. Break down your goals into actionable steps that you can take consistently. Having clear goals will help you stay focused and motivated. Again, this is about intentionality–becoming proactive about how we use the finite amounts of time, energy, and attention we each have.
- If you identify expanding your relationship with a specific client as a priority for you, exactly what will you do–and when–to address this priority?
- If cultivating friendships with other women is important to you, what steps will you take–and when–to do this?
- If your spiritual well-being is important, how will you care for that? What is your goal there, and what steps will you take?
Favor process goals over outcome goals:
- I will identify 2 key clients that I’d like to do more business with, and will develop a plan for 3 actions I’ll take. I’ll calendar time this week to brainstorm ideas. I’ll call my contact at each of those clients and schedule lunch in the next 3 weeks.
- I will call friend A to check in on her and schedule a tennis game with friend B.
- I will spend 15 minutes reading a sacred text each morning while I drink my morning coffee.
One blogger recommends following the “rule of 3”, saying: “Productivity expert and author of The Productivity Project Chris Bailey says that our brains are conditioned to remember things in threes. At the start of each week (or every day if you’re ambitious), write down your top priorities for the week. Make sure they line up with your values, and then keep coming back to them all week long.”
3. Plan and organize.
Develop a system for planning and organizing your time effectively. Use a calendar, planner, or digital tools to schedule your activities, appointments, and commitments. Allocate dedicated time slots for the things that matter most to you, and treat those time blocks as non-negotiable.
As part of this, re-evaluate what’s already on your calendar and determine if any less important activities can be canceled to make room in your life for the things that matter more. Just like with our space, it’s easier to organize a decluttered schedule. Consider doing a time audit–get a realistic picture of where your time is going now.
4. Practice good time management.
Learn to manage your time efficiently by eliminating or minimizing time-wasting activities. Avoid multitasking and prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency. Delegate or outsource tasks that don’t align with your priorities, freeing up more time for the things you value. Surrender perfectionism–at least on those things where good enough is good enough.
5. Learn to say no.
It’s crucial to set boundaries and learn to say no to activities or commitments that don’t align with your priorities. Understand that saying no to certain things allows you to say yes to what matters most. Be assertive and communicate your priorities respectfully. Check out episode 442 on Boundaries and episode 8 on Saying No Gracefully
6. Eliminate distractions.
Identify and minimize the distractions that prevent you from focusing on what matters most. This may involve turning off notifications on your phone or computer, creating a designated workspace, or finding quiet and uninterrupted environments when needed.
7. Practice self-care.
Taking care of yourself is vital for maintaining the energy and focus needed to pursue what matters most to you. Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, adequate sleep, healthy eating, and relaxation. By maintaining your well-being, you’ll be better equipped to make the most of your time. Check out these episodes for more on this: 444 (Balancing Work, Family, and Self-Care); 184 (Discernment and Self-Care, with Jodi Womack); 160 (Self-Care Matters);
8. Evaluate and adjust.
Regularly evaluate how you’re spending your time and assess whether it aligns with your priorities. Make adjustments as necessary to ensure you’re consistently dedicating time to what matters most. Be flexible and willing to adapt your schedule when new opportunities or challenges arise.
Remember, making time for what matters most requires conscious effort and commitment. By prioritizing and allocating your time wisely, you can lead a more fulfilling and purposeful life.
What do you think?
Resources and Links
- TPW008 – Saying No Gracefully
- TPW064 – Defeat Distraction Through Clarity & Discernment, with Ling Wong
- TPW160 – Self Care Matters
- TPW184 – Discernment and Self-Care, with Jodi Womack
- TPW243 – Dealing with Distraction
- TPW444 – Balancing Work, Family, and Self-Care
- TPW448 – Managing Distractions in a Digital Age
- TPW450 – Productivity in Chaotic Times
- 5 Steps To Creating Time For What Matters Most – Path Forward
- 7 methods how to have more time for the important things in life
- How to Make Time for What Matters Most
- How Do You Make Time For What Matters Most to You? – Simply Placed
- 5 Steps To Creating Time For What Matters Most
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Royse City, Texas