Being intentional with your time lays the foundation for you to take control of your life and start living an intentional lifestyle. By knowing exactly what needs to be done, you’ll cut the BS and speed up the time it takes you to get things accomplished.
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When my daughter was 6 weeks old, I quickly learned that working from home with a newborn would be WAY harder than I thought.
I decided to chit chat with other busy moms on Facebook to find out their secret of how they juggle family life with building a business.
When one of the moms suggested waking up before everyone in my family, I thought she was insane. Like completely insane.
When you have a baby that’s waking up every 2 hours MAXIMUM the last thing you want to do is miss out on any sleep.
But I realized a trend with the responses I was receiving. All of the moms were either waking up before everyone else or staying up after everyone went to sleep.
So in typical fashion, since more than one person was suggesting this idea, I figured it might not be as crazy as I thought. So I gave it a whirl.
I didn’t set an alarm clock because who needs one of those when you have a tiny human around to consistently wake you up?
When she cried around 5 am I peeled myself out of bed once I got her back to sleep.
I’m up. Now what?
This is where so many of us waste time on small tasks that feel important but in reality don’t help us accomplish anything.
If your goal is to organize your pantry and you wake up at 5 am to clean the living room, you feel accomplished that you now have a clean living room, but you’re nowhere closer to having an organized pantry.
This is how we get tricked into doing small insignificant tasks that take away precious time we could be putting towards our bigger goals.
This is why it matters to be intentional with your time.
What does being intentional with your time mean?
When you’re being intentional with how you spend your time it means being proactive with your time management instead of being reactive.
For instance, I know my daughter takes a nap every day at around 11 am. Each day I have a plan of what I want to get done during this time.
This way I don’t waste any time on small frivolous tasks that are not going to get me closer to my goals.
4 amazing benefits of being intentional with your time
As a busy mom, your wheels never stop turning. Even in your sleep, you wake up at 3 am because you just remembered you never put the clothes in the dryer.
Here’s how being intentional with your time will benefit you.
1. More control
Feeling like you’re a passenger to your own life story isn’t a great feeling. By being intentional with your time you’re able to take control of your life and decide how and when things will be done. You’ll enter each week with a well-outlined plan of executing your goals.
2. Less busy
By knowing what needs to be done you’ll waste less time on irrelevant tasks. Every time you begin to do something you’ll know exactly why you’re doing it and how it’s going to benefit you.
3. Less stress
Once you have your day planned out and your tasks organized by importance, it’ll be easier to enjoy your downtime without thinking of all the things that need to be done. You’ll have the freedom to be more present with your family.
4. Master saying No
Being intentional with your time will help you master the art of saying no. When you say yes to your friend wanting you to pick up their dog from the groomer you’re saying no to yourself accomplishing your goal. Saying no and making yourself a priority leads to less stress which will make you a better mom and wife.
How to be more intentional with your time
These are the exact steps I take to prioritize my week. Every day I know exactly what needs to be done so I can cut out the busy work and focus on what matters.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking busy means getting more done. If you know what needs to be done each week and have a clear plan, your to-do list can be finished before breakfast giving you plenty of time to be present with your family.
Having goals is important at every stage of life. It’s easy to get stagnant doing the same thing every day, which can eventually lead to depression.
Even as a mom, you should be doing something that you’re passionate about and brings you joy. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day hustle and chaos, but you’ve gotta prioritize your happiness.
Having a strong reasoning for why you need to get up 2 hours before your kids makes it easier to roll out of bed in the morning. Setting goals will keep you on target to get more done with less work.
But don’t just set any goals. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is:
The clearer your goal is the easier it is to achieve it.
Set a maximum of 3 S.M.A.R.T. goals every 90 days. This is the secret sauce to getting more accomplished in 90 days than most people do in an entire year.
This is essential for silencing your brain and being present in the moment.
Have you ever been watching a movie and your brain is thinking “Ashley has a dentist appointment on Tuesday, Ben has a doctors appointment on Thursday, I need to wash the dishes, blah, blah blah,” and you can’t shut it off?
Imagine living in a house with so many walls it’s like you’re in a maze. Every time you turn a corner there’s another dead end. And when you feel like you’re finally almost to your bedroom another wall is blocking you.
A brain dump is like moving those walls. You’ll be able to see where you’re going and you’ll know exactly how to get there. You’ll get all of those thoughts out of your head so you can focus on other tasks.
I brain dump every Friday so I know what to expect next week and I can enjoy my weekend.
To do a brain dump, set a timer for 10 minutes or listen to a short playlist of your favorite songs.
During this time write down every to-do that pops in your brain. Mine usually looks something like this.
When the timer (or music) stops, you stop. Now it’s time to move on to the next step.
Categorize your tasks
You’ve got all of your ideas out of your head and onto paper. Now it’s time to decide what’s important.
Break your tasks into these categories:
- A tasks= the most important tasks that will get you closer to achieving your goals
- B tasks = things you should get done but the world won’t fall apart if you don’t get to it
- C tasks = these are tasks you want to get to if you’ve finished all of your A tasks and B tasks
- D tasks = stuff that can be given to your kids or husband to do like wash the dishes or vacuum the floor
When you’re prioritizing your tasks, keep your overall goal in mind. You should start noticing that some things you thought were necessary to do, really aren’t as important to get done right now.
Start with your A tasks. Pick no more than 4 items that meet the A task definition.
Next, move to your B tasks. Choose a maximum of 3 tasks for this category. Repeat this process for C tasks and D tasks choosing no more than 3 to-dos for each category.
Anything else on the list can be scratched off. It’s not a priority right now.
Weekly and Daily Bullseye
Each week you should set ONE task that will get you closer to your S.M.A.R.T. goal. For instance, if you want to organize every room in your house, your Weekly Bullseye could be to declutter each room.
There’s no need to organize a bunch of stuff you don’t need, right?
If that’s your Weekly Bullseye then your Daily Bullseye for Monday could be to grab storage containers on your way home from the dentist.
Your Daily Bullseye is your ONE main task for the day that will help you accomplish your Weekly Bullseye.
This is a high priority and should be completed before you move onto any of your other A tasks.
Weekly and Daily Life Improvements
In all of your laser-focused intensity of achieving your goals, it’s easy to neglect other important areas of your life.
Some often neglected areas include:
- Personal growth
- Family and friends
- Health and fitness
Every day try to do something from each category.
Why you should be using time blocking
I’m a huge fan of time blocking because I like to know what my day will look like. Having a schedule lets you be proactive because you know what your day has in store for you even if you deviate from that plan.
Your free time blocking template in the Productivity Power Pack
When I started time blocking I would try to plan my tasks for an hour at a time. Doing anything for an hour with a toddler around is next to impossible if it’s not nap time.
Now I use the Pomodoro technique and task batching to maximize my time blocking method.
This is so much simpler because I can normally keep my daughter entertained for 25 minutes at a time while I’m focused on doing similar tasks instead of a lot of different tasks.
In a nonchaotic day, I get about 8 time blocks done of laser-focused tasks.
Review your week
You can’t make improvements if you have no idea what’s working and what isn’t working.
Reflect on what went great and what wasn’t so great.
These are super important so you can maximize your productivity and not be as busy while still getting a lot done.
Being intentional with your time gives you the freedom to do so much more with your life. Imagine getting more done in 90 days than most people do in an entire year!
The notion that busy equals productive is completely false. Spend more time doing important things like being a present mom.
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