Are you feeling overscheduled and looking to add more free time to your day? Is your calendar filled with commitments and obligations that don’t leave any time for yourself? It’s not uncommon to feel this way – especially if you’re a parent or work full-time.
The good news is that there are many things we can do to add more free time to our days. This post will offer some helpful ideas so that you can clear your schedule, add more free time to your day – and regain control of your life.
Many of us overestimate our abilities. We think it will take us a couple of minutes to perform a task when in reality, it will take us longer than that.
If you want to successfully manage your time, you need to become self-aware and know your limits and what situations take more time and create more stress.
Figure out your peak times of creativity, energy, and mental focus – and when those resources lag. Pay attention to your natural ebb and flow of energies and schedule your commitments accordingly.
For example, if you’re most alert and productive in the morning, that’s when you should schedule your most demanding tasks. Less critical or less challenging activities should be planned for afternoons when you have a dip in energy.
Assign a Time for Everything
While you can’t plan for every event in life, having a precise calendar and a to-do list of commitments can help you be less frazzled and freer.
Organize your time into clear tasks, with work hours and personal hours- Get to an itemized level and avoid grouping. For example, if you are running errands, avoid assigning a block of time to cover all the errands together- it’s easy to underestimate the amount of time needed; instead, break it down and give each errand a time block. If you have recurring tasks, schedule these items for roughly the same time every day, so you don’t have to put too much thought into doing them. Much of your schedule will repeat daily and can be done more or less on autopilot.
Knowing what to expect and having time for everything will reduce much of the chaos in your day-to-day, even if you happen to have a jam-packed schedule.
“Calendars and clocks exist to measure time, but that signifies little because we all know that an hour can seem as eternity or pass in a flash, according to how we spend it.”
Establish Clear Boundaries
You only have so much time – be pragmatic with how you use it.
Set boundaries and stick to them. You don’t need to feel obligated to accept a meeting invite that starts outside of regular work hours.
You are allowed to have offline hours – and you don’t have to say yes to everything (we will discuss in greater detail below!).
As you plan your calendar, remember to build in buffers. Why? Life rarely goes according to plan.
You should add 15 to 30 minutes buffers before the next task; instead of scheduling them back to back. That’s essential in limiting stress and dealing with unexpected emergencies! This technique will not only avoid overscheduling but will give you breaks too.
Take Breaks Wisley
Scheduling well-planned breaks in advance will add intentional space for taking care of your mind and body during your workday.
Breaks help your brain reboot, improve focus and allow you to make better decisions. Know your energy ebb and flow throughout the day and schedule breaks when you are prone to distractions or when your body and mind signal fatigue.
So many of us erroneously believe that multitasking will allow us to get more work done in a shorter period.
However, trying to do things simultaneously will not only not help, but it can also make you less productive. Don’t split your brain in a million different directions. Instead, focus all-in on one task and finish it before moving on to the next.
Live in the Moment
The pandemic was disastrous for many people in many ways. However, one area that doesn’t deserve enough attention is how it caused our work and personal lives to blend together. With so many people working from home, it became seemingly impossible to differentiate work time from family time.
You should schedule separate times for work and family – and for self-care, too. Try not to let all of these things bleed into each other.
Answering emails while trying to interact with your children doesn’t give either task the attention it deserves. Live in the moment and focus on the task at hand.
One of the easiest ways to regain an element of control over your own life is to know when you just have to back away and say no.
Don’t sacrifice your well-being to please others. It’s okay to say no to the things that don’t bring you joy or serve a clear purpose in your life. You don’t need to offer an excuse. You can just say “no.”
The Clock Always Ticks
Many people are feeling overbooked and overwhelmed by their commitments, and we hope these tips get you started on the journey to reclaim your freedom and kick overscheduling to the curb.
We can either choose to live our lives on someone else’s terms – or we can create a life where we take control of our time and thrive. It might take some work at first, but all those hard choices will transform your life.