Where did the time go? These days so many of us struggle with “finding” time. We know there are always 24 hours in a day, but somehow, we don’t have time for hobbies or meeting friends. We don’t have time to take on a new project. We don’t have time to exercise. We don’t have time to read or learn something new. I’ve read my share of productivity books and taken lots of time management courses so thought I’d share the top 5 Time Management Tips I’ve learned to Achieve Your Dream Life.
But really is it that we don’t have the time? Or is it that we don’t find it a priority enough to make the time? Or is it that we feel guilty about doing these things because we feel we SHOULD be doing something else? Is your to-do list help empty or half full?
Whatever our work situation is, we all covet work-life balance. We don’t want to feel like time just slipped through our fingers with nothing to show for it. We want to feel good about how we spent our time, that we used it productively, that we used it to work towards our dreams of the life we want.
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Before we get into the details, I have to tell you that the most valuable tool I used to figure this out was the Daily Productivity Guide for Bloggers from Elite Blog Academy*. The Daily Productivity Guide was only available in the 63 resource Genius Blogger’s Toolkit bundle* last year. I really hope it’s included in this year’s toolkit too because it was a game-changer for me and my productivity. Get notified when the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit will be ready for sale here*.
Now the 5 Time Management Tips to Achieve Your Dream Life.
1. You Have to Spend Time to Make Time
Successful entrepreneurs tell us “you have to spend money to make money”. You have to invest money in your blog or business, if you want to have the tools you need to produce the highest quality service or product you can for your customer.
Similarly, you need to spend time in figuring out your goals and priorities in order to make time to reach them. Spend some quiet time reflecting on what you really want. What are your immediate goals for yourself, your family, your blog/business? What are your goals for a year from now? Five years from now? What are the goals you have that you dare to dream? Unlock them from your head and write them down. Investing the time to figure out what your dream life looks like is the only way you can possibly get there.
2. You Have to Simplify Your Roles
Life pulls us in so many directions, sometimes it’s hard to see straight. Each of these directions represents a different role we play in our lives. Mom. Wife. Chronic Illness Patient. Blogger. Business Owner. Volunteer. Decorator. Chauffeur. Laundry Climber. Housekeeper. Gourmet Chef. Organic Gardener. We have a lot of roles to juggle and it can be overwhelming. It is important to simplify your roles and focus on the ones that will help you make steps towards achieving your dream life here and now.
For me right now, that means saying no to being a PTA and room mom for my kids. Every time I’d go to school, I’d come home with a virus because of the medicine I take to suppress my immune system from attacking my joints. So not only would I spend my time preparing for kids classroom parties and in the classrooms, it also cost me more time recovering every time I got sick. As sad as it made me, I had to say no to being a PTA and room mom this year. It’s ok to cut yourself some slack, say no and relieve yourself of one less distraction from achieving the goals that are most important to you.
While I cannot give up cooking for my family, I can simplify the meals I cook. Planning simpler meals means less time shopping in the grocery store. Less time in the kitchen preparing and cleaning up. Less time on my painful feet. And more energy for the things that matter to me.
What directions are you being pulled in? Which of these directions will help you towards achieving your dream life? Which roles can you let go of to make room for your dream life? How can you simplify your current roles to make more time for your most important goals? Eliminating and simplifying the roles and demands you place on yourself will move you closer to achieving your dream life.
3. You Have to Craft Your Ideal Day
Now that you have your goals and roles defined, it’s time to think about what your ideal day looks like. We don’t have a choice that we have to work. We have to earn money and we have to take care of our families. But most of us crave a better balance between work, life and fun. We want to work hard and play harder. We want to say “That was the best day ever!”
For me, my ideal day includes a balance of taking care of my family, our home and yes, myself. I love having a happy, well-fed family. I love having a tidy and peaceful space to live in. I love spending a little time each day reading, writing or blogging. In my ideal day, I want to be able to do all those things everyday.
Because I have autoimmune Rheumatoid Arthritis, my pain and energy depends on things I can control (diet and stress) and things I can’t control (hormones and weather). So I crafted for myself two different ideal day scenarios. One for when my pain level is less than a 4 (tolerable) and when my pain level is more than a 4 (take it slow). I’ve got notes too for when my pain is more than a 7, it’s when the to do list goes out the window and I rest, read and recharge. I know I cannot push my body past it’s limits or the RA pain will only get worse.
Here’s what my ideal weekdays look like:
Figure out how much time you need to spend in each of your roles to have your ideal day. Do you do best working the same routine each day? Or do you need a variety in your days? What hinders you from having your ideal day everyday? How can you accept the things you can’t change and make the best of your days anyway?
4. You Have to Plan in Order to Execute
Now it’s time to turn that ideal day into a reality. Grab the planner that works for you and execute your most important priorities. Finding out the best planning system takes time so give yourself the grace to adjust your system to suit your needs and season in life.
In a nutshell, I put all the family’s appointments into Google Calendar so that me, my husband and my oldest son can access it and add events as necessary. For my home and family routines and projects, I use an A5 binder and the bullet journaling method to record collections and notes. For my blog goals and notes, I use a blogging bullet journal. For my daily to do’s, health tracking, meal planning and gratitude notes, I use a Day Designer.
Here’s a summary of my planning system, see below for the free printable I used:
My system may seem complex to you but it works for me but it’s evolved out of my needs for juggling all the roles I have and keeping my dream life in sight at all times. The Daily Productivity Guide from Elite Blog Academy* included in the Genius Blogger’s toolkit* also helped me develop my mission and goals that I set as the wallpaper on my laptop so every time I open my computer, my priorities are front and center.
I also copied my goals and missions into my Day Designer goalsetting pages.
What kind of planners do you use? How do you keep your goals and priorities front and center in your mind? You have to be flexible with your planning system and find what suits your needs so you can plan and execute your to dos to achieve your goals and get closer to living your dream life.
5. You Have to Celebrate Small Victories and Express Gratitude
Rome wasn’t created in a day and your dreams won’t become a reality overnight. Achieving your dream life will require hard work, lots of it. Change your mindset and make yourself notice the little things you accomplished along the way. Celebrate the small victories every moment in every day. Mark them with gold stars, check them off your checklist, highlight the done items. Whatever it is that draws your attention to the done items on your to-do list and away from the undone items.
For me, I color in the boxes for to-dos that are completed and half color the boxes for to-dos in process. I like writing down keeping my tasks small and manageable so that I can really got a good picture of what I accomplished in the day. For example, instead of just writing down “laundry”, I put checkboxes for each of the loads I do. Laundry is a daily mountain to climb so it’s almost always in process! At the end of the day, I write in my Daily Gratitude or happy memories I want to remember.
In my blog & business bullet journal, I keep my goals, mission and small victories at the front of the journal so they are the first thing I see when I open the book. It’s fun to see why I started on this blogging journey and the small victories along the way to becoming a blog and business I can be proud of.
What do you see when you look at your to-do list? Do you see all the incomplete items or do you see the completed items? Is your to-do list half-empty or half-full? Change the way you perceive your to-do list and celebrate the small victories and daily gratitude to put a positive end to your productive days.
- Daily Productivity Guide for Bloggers from Elite Blog Academy* (don’t forget to grab the bundle and get your FREE EBA Prep Guide Kit here)
- Day Designer*
- Goal setting pages in Day Designer 2017 planners
- FREE Printables (click on Printables in menu, subject to change)
- Values, Passions & Strengths Worksheet
- Heart Goals Worksheet
- Planning System Worksheet
- How To Bullet Journal In A Planner
- Free Weekly Planner Printable Based on 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
If you want to achieve your dream life there are 5 things you must do. You must spend the time figuring out your goals in order to make time to reach them. You have to simplify your roles wherever and whenever you can so you have more time to focus on your priorities. You have to craft your ideal day to help you visualize what you need to do to turn your dreams into reality. You have to develop a planning system to be able to execute your plan. You have to celebrate your small victories and express gratitude, it will help you keep a positive attitude and motivation to continue taking steps to achieve your dream life.
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How do you manage your time and set your goals? What does your dream life look like? How do you evaluate your week and celebrate your small victories? Let’s share and encourage each other to achieve our goals!