Most of us know the reality of a packed schedule. From sun-up to sundown, the day is filled with to-dos.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get a few moments of rest in the evening, which by that time, you’ll be ready to simply relax and perhaps prepare for the next day.
While this description sounds like managing your day-to-day should be a breeze, most of us also know it can actually be pretty difficult AND stressful.
But a schedule is a schedule, right? How do you get around having a packed life – especially if it’s a necessity?
It turns out there are several tricks used by the pros to help manage a super busy schedule and dial down the stress. They aren’t talked about too often (call it insider “hustler” secrets) but they can truly change your life.
Pencil this piece in: I promise it’ll give you more time later.
Pro Tips to Help You Manage a Busy Schedule
“Batching” refers to the idea of compiling similar tasks into one time frame, and often getting them done ahead of time.
So, say every week you need to either post two blogs on your business site, or complete several reports every week for your boss.
“Batching” these would be sitting down one day and doing ALL of the blogs – you would designate half of the day to simply getting those done for the week and scheduling them to be published later. For the reports, you would do the same thing: do them ahead of time, if possible, and turn them in when needed.
This prevents you from having to stop and do these things at random intervals every other day, plus it’s also good for mindset: once you start on a certain activity, it’s typically easier to stay doing the same activity than pivot completely to something new and get into a different mindset.
With batching, you do all similar activities at once, getting them handled and out of the way. This goes for things like phone calls (set aside a time where you speak to everyone you need to, getting the calls out of the way), sending out emails (sit down and do them all at once) … basically anything, but especially administrative stuff.
2. Set Tight Deadlines
Parkinson’s Law argues: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
What does this mean? Simply put, the more time you have available to work on a certain task … the more time that task will inevitably take up.
For instance: let’s say you’re working on finishing a higher-level project, and you have the entire day to get it done. You work a little, maybe grab some food, work a little more, removing some of the work you had done because it doesn’t seem good enough, take a break to catch a call or work on something else, then finally get back to it, and, out of necessity because the day is coming to a close, finish it in two hours.
Now, compare that to if you had given yourself a TIGHT deadline of two hours to wrap that thing up. During those two hours, you can do nothing but finish the project, then once it’s done, it’s fully done, and you move on to other things.
Big difference, right?
Set your deadlines, and stick to them. Be sure to add a sense of urgency by scheduling those two hours close to another necessary to-do for the day, to make double-sure you stick to it.
Now, keep in mind: outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire someone to do something for you. It could be something as simple as using an app to help you out.
Consider this: let’s say you regularly post on Instagram for your business. To save time, you could batch a bunch of posts ahead of time, then use a scheduling/sending app to post on certain days and times. You could do this ahead of time for the entire week, then not have to worry about “posting” every single day, because you outsourced that task to the app.
If you can hire a virtual assistant or someone to cover routine tasks, you could also massively free up your time. This may cost a little more in terms of money, but it’s definitely still an option.
You can even “outsource” your meals a few days a week by signing up for a meal plan service, which can actually free up a remarkable amount of time.
I personally use FlexPro Meals as my “outsourced” meal source! If you want to give them a try, use code MV20 to save!
4. Prioritize + The Golden Hour
Time Ferris, author of Tools of Titans, mentions that we are usually at our sharpest in the morning, and that the most successful people in the world tend to focus their energy on the most important tasks of the day FIRST THING in the morning.
To do this successfully, you’ll need to be jotting down the most important tasks you need to accomplish on any given day, and focusing solely on those in the morning, before you do anything else.
Try and make this an ongoing habit you do every day and see how you begin to actually make forward progress and momentum and free up more time.
5. Selective Ignorance
This ties in a little bit with the above idea of focusing only on priority items, but goes a step further.
Often, we’re bombarded with “reactive” tasks – these would be things like Instagram messages, emails, voicemails, etc … that try to compel us to react and respond.
Unless these tasks are emergencies or related to a priority, it is suggested to “selectively” ignore them until certain times of the day. This also relates to batching: you choose a time of day where you sit and respond to these inquires and tasks, then focus on priorities at other times.
6. Schedule in Rest
Don’t forget to make rest a priority in your schedule, especially when your time opens up a bit. A fresh mind and body helps you to complete tasks quicker and more efficiently, which can significantly free up your time.
Grab a massage on the weekend, schedule in a few hours to yourself in the evening – whatever you like.
As you can see, simple tweaks in how you manage time can actually insert more time into your schedule, making it less busy to begin with. Prioritize, batch, be selective, and you’ll be on your way to less stress and more free time.