Being intentional with your time can lead to increased productivity and more time doing activities that you enjoy. Keep reading to see some key tips to a more fulfilling life.
In today’s world, it is so easy to come home from work, make some supper, and get distracted in the world of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. I know because I’ve been there. But in my own experience, I found myself feeling empty inside and without a sense of accomplishment. We end up just getting caught up in the flow of life. Instead, we can take charge of our life and spend more time doing things we love. So to do this, I decided to make some changes and set some guidelines in my life to be more intentional with my time. They aren’t really all that hard, but they do require consistency. With a little work, these guidelines can lead to life being more fulfilling.
It’s important to remember that being intentional with your time is completely relative to your life. What your friend chooses to spend their time on isn’t necessarily going to serve you. In the world of social media, it’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. To get caught up in the busy and then one day you start wondering where your life has gone. But to truly live in each moment of your life, what you need to be spending time on is activities that will serve you in some way. In doing so, you will be more at peace because you will be improving your life in little ways. Not necessarily less busy, but at peace and fulfilled.
Treating Your Time as a Resource
“Time is money” is a quote that everyone seems to know all too well. The difference between those who understand how valuable and true it is and those who don’t is how they spend their time. How much money do you earn at your day job? Let’s say it’s $20/hour for the sake of simplicity. Now, think about all the time you spend doing things that don’t serve you. How many hours a day does that make up? Let’s say its 3-4 hours a day. Multiply how many hours that is by how much you make an hour. 4 x $20 = $80. If you had to pay someone $80 for you to be able to do what you did during those hours, would you? My guess is probably not.
Your time holds value. Once it’s spent, you can never get it back. So how are you spending your time? How do you want to change how you’re spending your time.
To be intentional with your time and spend it wisely, you have to have something you’re working towards. An idea of what is valuable to you that you would rather be spending your time on. A great way to align your life to be more intentional is by setting some goals. Just remember that they have to be realistic and attainable. What do you actually want your life to look like?
I think it’s important to start with some kind of long term plan. A five year plan is awesome, a ten year plan even better. But sometimes it’s easier to start with where you might want to be in a year. How to do you want to be spending your time? By knowing how you want to be living in one year or five years, you can align your monthly goals or weekly goals so that you can achieve your yearly goals.
Maybe you want to spend more time reading books to develop personally. Set a realistic goal that you want to read a certain number of books by the end of the year. How many books do you have to read per month to make that happen? Then align your daily goals so that you can achieve that. Or maybe you want to spend less time on your phone each day. Set yourself a designated time to go on social media and stick to it.
I think a good number of goals is around three to five. You want to be able to make the changes and also follow through and stay consistent with them. If you overwhelm your life with too many changes, you likely aren’t going to be able to stick with them long term.
Developing To-Do Lists
The to-do list can sometimes be dis-advantageous. It’s so easy to create a long list of things that need to get done in a week or month and say that you’re going to chip away at them. Instead, the to-do list can end up controlling your life so that you remain busy instead of living in each moment. Or it can just straight up be overwhelming and you get nothing done.
But to-do lists can be super beneficial as well. Instead of listing out the big ticket items that need to get done each day just to keep life afloat, make daily to-do lists that include items that are beneficial to your life. Be realistic in what you can accomplish and successfully achieve. Focus on all the areas of your life such as personal development and recreation, not just your work. I personally have struggled with just how much I can fit in during the day – I always seem to over schedule. That’s ok, just move what didn’t get done to the number one spot on your list for the next day!
Developing habits can come start with what you have set for your goals. If you want to spend less time on your phone before bed to get better sleep, you can develop a habit to leave your phone in a different location. Maybe you just to be better at self care. You can develop healthy habits by spending designated time each day to practice healthy self care and make this also one of your more minor goals.
It takes about 21 days to create a habit and 66 days to have the habit be fully formed. That might seem daunting, but the only way to develop a habit to make yourself do it. You are the only one who can truly hold yourself accountable. Once you have that habit developed though, it will almost be second nature. So, how badly do you want to change your life?
Having a “Power Hour”
How many of you take forever to clean your house? I hate cleaning, so it tends to take me forever… unless I have a time limit where the task has to be done at the end of it. For those tasks that seem to drag on, you can get them done quicker by setting a time limit for yourself. You will cut the amount of time you are designating towards the tasks you hate and give yourself more time to do the things you love that align with your life goals.
So, since I hate housework, I use a power hour to get it done. Dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc. I make myself do a “power hour” at least once a day. I set a timer, and in that hour I work diligently to complete as much housework as possible. Then I reward myself with doing something else, working towards some of my stretch goals or simply doing a different task that I enjoy. If I need another “power hour”, I can always repeat the process.
Find Something You Enjoy Doing
Creating habits to better yourself are awesome and wonderful. Getting to-do lists down so that you get all of your must haves done is great. But don’t forget to set some goals involving something you enjoy doing. Life is crazy. And we can’t spend our life just doing all the necessaries. You have to find time to do the things you enjoy. Maybe it’s baking, maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s something crafty. For me it’s gardening and food preservation. The thing is, if you don’t have something you enjoy and if you don’t devote time to it, then what will you spend your life doing? Just the necessaries.
So when you make your goals, make sure you leave at least one devoted to something you enjoy.
Tools to be Intentional with Your Time
The tools that I’ve found to be helpful towards being intentional with my time have been a planner and a notebook for goal setting. If you struggle to look back at your goals like I do when these are separate, then having these be a two in one with a goal setting planner might be best.
For those who have never really set goals before, a goal setting planner can also be a helpful tool to guide how you set your goals. There are lots of different options available, but I think there are some valuable aspects that they should include.
The first is that they should include a goal setting page for your long term goals. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Then they should also include a section for what you want to accomplish within the upcoming year for the different aspects in your life. Then they should break it down into monthly and weekly goals in some way.
It’s important to remember that not every section of your planner has to be completely filled out. Remember to utilize the parts that will serve you.
How are you going to be more intentional with your time?
So going forward, how do you plan to be more intentional with your time? What are your goals?
Whatever they are, I hope you find your life more fulfilling!