The lazy days of summer are behind us. September brings a slew of challenges to our calendars, including back to school, sports (hello, college football), getting ready for the holidays, etc. For me, quarter 4 is always the busiest work-wise, so I have to dial down on my systems, even more, to find more time in my day-to-day schedule.
Time is a non-renewable resource, so I think it’s even more important this time of year to not waste our precious minutes. Here are my top five ways to find more time in your schedule and keep your sanity as the year speeds toward its end.
1. Plan your week and your day ahead of time.
Each weekend (usually on Sunday mornings), I sit down and lay my schedule out for the week on paper. This allows me to visually see which days will be extremely busy and when I have more flex time; I use this as a guide to write out the next day’s to-do list as I wrap up my work day. Getting a handle on my weekly schedule has been key for me in finding more time in my week.
2. Meal plan and meal prep.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not having to figure meals out each day has freed up so much time on my calendar and eliminated a lot of stress from my life. I’m a big fan of the Prep Dish meal planning service. If you don’t want to do a comprehensive plan on your own, check out Meal Plan Rockstar to learn how to create your own seasonal meal plan and revolving pantry/shopping list.
3. Do a load of laundry each day
Running a small load of laundry each day allows me to stay caught up, rather than having a huge mountain to deal with at the end of each week. Also, I wash sheets and all the towels every weekend. Who wants to spend all their time on a day off chained to the laundry room? Not me.
4. Create a solid evening/bedtime routine
Getting in the habit of laying out your clothes and packing lunches each evening makes the mornings so much more peaceful. Because I have tomorrow’s to-do list laid out already, I know exactly what needs to go in my office bag so I’m not hunting for it on the way out. A solid nighttime routine has helped me find more time in the mornings, and I believe that a more peaceful morning leads to a more productive day.
5. Create a checklist for recurring tasks
I know it sounds structured but it works. Write down the tasks you find yourself doing on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis and put a reminder in your calendar until these things become a habit. Do not put the stress on yourself of trying to remember everything.
What are your tips to find more time in your schedule? Let me know in the comments what you do to find…or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can have a conversation.