Some days feel like I’m in frantic go-go-go mode all day long, from mom-ing with my girls to pow-wowing with my team to knocking out new podcast episodes and checking off business to-dos. I jump from one thing to the next without much space to breathe, let alone check in and make sure my mind/body/soul feels cared for. Can you relate?
I’ll be honest, past me used to thrive on days like this. I loved the chase, the adrenaline rush of getting a million things done in a day, but now? Well, we teach Coco not to use the “hate” word, but whatever’s next closest to THAT word is how I feel about crazy-busy, borderline-suffocative days. I don’t want to feel rushed or pulled between 100 responsibilities. I enjoy being present in whatever task or role I’m in, and I also enjoy my time offline, resting and spending time with my family, not always ~doing~ more.
But like you, I have a lot on my plate between work and home life. There’s pretty much ALWAYS more to get done, and not enough time to do it all… which can quickly lead to stress, overwhelm, and burnout if we’re not careful, right? So what’s a gal to do?
Luckily, I have had some awesome mentors in my life (like Marie Forleo) teach me brilliant time-saving hacks that legit save me on busy days. Here are a few of the best ones, in case you need a bit more margin in your life, and stat.
01. Make your to-do lists ahead of time.
This is a biggie for me and it changed my world once I started implementing it. Before the end of a day, before closing your laptop and shutting down for the night, take 5 minutes to write the next day’s priority/to-do list. Honestly, it’ll probably take you less than 5 minutes, because everything you know you need to do will be so fresh in your mind.
Not only will this help you relax and unplug in the evenings more by knowing you have a plan mapped out for the next day, but it will also save you time in the morning since your list is ready to jump into.
Pro tip: do this on Fridays (or the end of your workweek), too! Make your next week’s to-do list, at least a rough draft, so you have your game plan drawn up ahead of time.
02. Get the *big* thing done first.
Now, there are some different schools of thought on this. Some people say to start your day with small tasks to build momentum, and that’s fine if that works for you! But personally, I like to jump in with the one big task I know I’d avoid otherwise, especially if I put it off til the end of my workday. Confidence grows as you conquer so hit something big to get that energy to keep pushing!
To me, kicking the day off with a big to-do item gives me a boost of energy and clarity and confidence to keep going. I mean, think about how GOOD it would feel to cross off that large, looming task before the day’s even halfway over. Dreamy!
03. Honor your energy.
When are you in your absolute *best*, most productive workflow? Is it at 10pm? Is it at 6am? Are you one of the rare breeds who gets an energy burst in the middle of the afternoon? Really consider this and ask yourself what your best working hours are, and then save your “deep” work for this time: the dreaming, planning, writing, scheming, business growing tasks you need to do.
In our society, we expect ourselves to perform highly between the hours of 9 to 5, when that just isn’t feasible for most people. Pay attention to your own energy flow, and map your day out around it if possible. It will change the way you get things done, and you might be surprised how quickly you can move through tasks!
04. Work in time chunks (& take real breaks).
We’ve all heard the “set a timer” advice before—and not to be redundant, but it truly does WORK. There’s something called Parkinson’s Law that says the amount of work you need to do will expand to fill the amount of time you have. In other words, if you have three hours to write a blog post, it will take you three hours. If you have 45 minutes, I betchya you’d knock it out in 45 minutes.
But many of us have a bunch of things to do in a full day; how do you break that up? Give yourself one task, set a timer for 20/30/45/60 minutes, and go. And then (and don’t forget this part!) give yourself a REAL break afterward. Not just scrolling on your phone for 20 minutes mindlessly. I mean set another timer for 5-10 minutes and get some water, stand up, take a short walk, stretch, or do a short meditation/breathing exercise. You’ll be amazed how this little intentional reset will reenergize you to take on the next task on your list.
05. Just start.
Sometimes starting is the hardest part. Our brains try to tell us every reason we should delay our beginning and so we just wait and the more we procrastinate, the harder it is to get the motivation to begin. Ever heard of Mel Robbins’ 5-second rule? It honestly saves me when I can feel myself procrastinating something. You simply count down from 5 and then GO. Do the thing you’re avoiding. 5-4-3-2-1, start. (It’s really effective on the mornings when you’re avoiding getting out of bed, FYI… lol.)
But for real, the biggest antidote to procrastination is realizing you’re doing it and then taking action. Count to 5 and jump in. You can do it and you’ll save yourself SO much time!
06. Say no to the right things.
One of the biggest time sucks in our modern world is committing to things we don’t really want to commit to. And I mean commitments big AND small. This could be an invitation to a happy hour you really don’t have the bandwidth for mentally or physically this week, or even simply scrolling on TikTok mindlessly for an hour.
When we commit our time to something, no matter what it is, we’re saying “no” to something else. Make sure your no’s are going to the right things, and your energy is being preserved for the things that truly matter: your health, your happiness, your family, your growth. If you’re going to say “yes” to something, let it be a soul-filled yes. One that you know will be adding to your life rather than taking away or stretching you even thinner.
My girl Marie Forleo has made it some of her life’s work to save people more time (so they can spend it where it really matters). She approaches “time management” in a way that feels realistic, no matter how much is on your plate, and she’s teaching a free class all about her top 3 productivity mindset tips over the next week! If I could encourage you to say “yes” to something this week that will create even more expansiveness in your life, this would be it. Save your spot now… I promise, it’s worth your time!