Time, how often are we in desperate need for more time? How many times do we say ‘I wish I had more hours in a day’ and how many times do we try and jam-pack too many things in our diaries?
Finding the right balance between the daily things we have to do and the time we have on our hands can be an art. But mastering this art doesn’t have to be difficult and we can achieve it by simplifying our lives and changing life-long habits.
Go Cold Turkey, not for me!
I was never a ‘go cold turkey’ person, when I needed to make a change in my life it had to be gradual. Whenever I tried going cold turkey, from diets, to clearing debts, to changing life long habits…well…it was always success, for 2 days! Then I was reverting back to my old habits. As a result disappointment and failure would sit comfortably in my head. So in order to make a change I realised I need to work on gradually changing those habits. In order to gain time, I had to allow time…
First thing was to accept the bad habits, this is the most difficult part sometimes, (i.e. “I don’t understand why I’m putting on weight, I’m not really eating that much” she says whilst grazing all day, “I don’t know where the day gone today” while ‘Screen Time’ on the phone says I was on it for 4 hours & 17 minutes) next to decide what actions I need to make that are realistic with my lifestyle and gradually start overwriting the old habits with the new.
The fact is we ARE all wasting too much time with habits that we don’t even realise we have. Checking your phone the minute you wake up (20mins gone), trying to decide what to wear (15 mins gone), trying to decide what to have for dinner, then realise you have to go to the grocery shop (40 mins gone), ‘quickly’ checking social media (2 hours – total daily screen time – gone), checking emails obsessively (30 mins gone), watching mindless TV (2 hours gone). You see where I’m going with this?
Monitor your time
If you are like me and going ‘cold turkey’ on changing your habits doesn’t really work for you, start by simply monitoring the time you spend on things. Take a notebook and log your daily spending time. I understand this action is adding an extra job for you but only by doing this, you will have a clear picture of how much time you spend on things, just do this for 7 days and you will be surprised where time goes.
Once you have done this exercise you can then decide on a strategy, what can you cut down, simplify, change? Remember you don’t have to go ‘cold turkey’, just decide what are the habits that you can let go or change. The ones that make you spend your valuable time but don’t give you anything in return.
Things that worked for me:
Simplifying my wardrobe
This was a big one for me, I had a mass clear out a few years back, using the capsule wardrobe method and now the time I’m spending on deciding what to wear every day is next to nothing. I own a very small wardrobe which only has clothes that I really love to wear and make me feel good about myself and I would never go back to having a wardrobe full of things that don’t serve any purpose or make me feel bad about myself.
Clearing all my debts
This was a life changing experience, you can read how I did it here and took me quite a long time to do it, but the time, stress and effort I was putting into trying to make it work with my finance is all in the past and I couldn’t be happier. There are so many ways to do it but first you need to accept that this is a problem and stop spending more than you earn.
Minimise digital usage
I won’t lie, this has been a yo-yo journey, but I have finally found my balance on minimising my digital usage. My work doesn’t help as it is digitally based so I can’t really escape from that, but what I have changed is putting limits on my after-work-hours. I have stopped snapping everything on my camera that looks ‘Instagrammable’. I’m not using social media on weekends, I NEVER pick up my phone first thing in the morning, usually I check my social media around lunch time and this has become now a 5-10 mins scroll, no more than that. I don’t feel the need to be on there all the time. I have even decluttered my apps and only kept very few. I try my best not to pick up my phone when I’m bored or waiting for something.
Food planning has been a huge revelation of time and money savings for us. We embraced food planning initially while I was trying to clear my debts, and we thought (as it felt quite regimented and strict at the time) that this will be a temporary change and we will go back to our ‘freestyle’ cooking once it’s all done. Well, 6 years later this was the best change we ever implemented, we now don’t even thing about it. All you need is a calendar and a small notebook. Every Saturday morning we make the week menu, then we make the shopping list, we also put down all our lunches, snacks, dog food and any extras we need for that week and we go shopping. Simple as that. Every evening after our long day at work, we don’t have to spend time thinking, we look at our diary, we take things out of the fridge and we cook. Simple. Time efficient. Cost efficient! What’s not to love?
Simplify your food habits
I know, strange thing to say right? But think about it, if you are struggling with time and you like to cook complex things, it’s not going to work right? Keep it healthy, simple and repetitive. I don’t mean eat the same thing every day, but stick to a food schedule and change it every couple of weeks or as often or rare as you like. Some protein, some veg, some carbs. Done!
Declutter all your stuff!
Look around your home/office/car right now, and tell me honestly, how many things that are around you right now, you could live without? Be honest with yourself, do you need all this stuff, papers, things, gadgets, sports gear you never use. Does your kid need ALL these toys and clothes. Only by accepting and being honest with yourself you can then let all this stuff go. Stuff takes up your space and most importantly they do take up a lot of your time. Trying to finding things amongst clutter, or trying to clean around clutter can be so time consuming. For me, cluttered home = cluttered mind, and I don’t like that.
Declutter your relationships
Wrong relationships can be such a huge waste of time. From friends to family to husbands or boyfriends. holding on to a wrong relationship can be soul destroying and a huge waste of your time. Gradually remove yourself from those wrong relationships. It’s not good for anyone.
Adding value for me this week:
I’m currently reading ‘Everything Is Figureoutable’ by Marie Forleo. Funny, inspiring and a bit rude at times (exactly how I like it)! Marie, says it as it is. All the stumbling blocks we create in our lives to avoid doing the things we need to be doing, and she believes that you can figure out how to do pretty much anything you need to do in your life as long as you truly want it. Lot’s of tips, advice and inspiration by a hugely successful life coach and motivational speaker.
Much love to you,
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