6 months ago, we stood at the edge of the end of the year, leaning forward with big eyes and big dreams, wondering about all the things the new year would bring.
Flash-forward to today. It’s June. How much have you done? What is still left to do from the list of resolutions you might have made at the beginning of the year? How much did you think you would have accomplished by now that fell by the wayside because other things got in the way? If you’re anything like me, I know the answers to these questions probably aren’t pretty.
From where I stand, the past 6 months just FLEW by. Literally. Gone. And maybe this is how quickly time always passes, but wow. The first half of 2018 seemed to have happened in a matter of blinks. Don’t you hate that feeling? Whenever I think about time slipping away, out of my hands, it honestly gives me a weird sinking feeling, like I’ve lost control.
Time is kind of a scary thing, especially when it feels like it’s moving faster than you can catch your breath. But, with the halfway point of 2018 looming closer, there are two key takeaways that are becoming blatantly clear –
Time will NEVER slow down. And for whatever reason, the more you wish for it to, the faster it goes
You’ll never be able to control time, but you can control (to a certain degree) how you manage it
Think about it. Ever have one of those days at work where the entire day is just one giant blur, and the next thing you know, it’s 6 pm and you haven’t touched your own to-do list even once? That feeling? That’s being reactive to time – the sinking feeling of letting immediate things get in the way of your goals, and not paying attention to how many days, weeks, or months pass until suddenly, crap. A year is gone in the blink of an eye. When you come to this realization, it’s like being a deer in headlights. You were running around in the dark, just trying to get by, until a blinding light exposes you for all the things you didn’t do.
While there are no quick fixes for slowing down time, or making more of it, there are some easy things I’ve started doing to take more control, so I can be more “finished all my to-do lists and feeling like a badass” and less “crap. Where did the time go?”
1. Make Daily To-Do Lists
I use Google Keep religiously, for both my personal life and my work tasks. It’s a serious life-saver and there’s something so satisfying about being able to still physically ‘check’ a box when something on your list gets finished. To take it one step further, I even color-code and label my Keep notes so I know which lists are for work, personal stuff, my blog, or anything that doesn’t fit into those 3 buckets.
2. Organize Things in Order of Priority
This sounds like a given, but it’s one of the hardest things EVER to put into practice. It’s always easier to do the things that are more fun, or easier, or more appealing. Those are the things we gravitate towards, which is fine. But if that’s ALL we get done on a daily basis, you can imagine how quickly time will pass until next thing you know, a month’s gone by and you didn’t finish that one project you’ve been meaning to get around to, or schedule that appointment you’ve been pushing off for another day.
I like to organize my daily to-do lists by priority. Important, need-to-do-now items at the top, less important items at the bottom. Sometimes, when my days are especially slammed, I even assign timeframes to each task to know when I need to stop and move on to the next. That’s kind of overkill, but you’ll never know what works for you unless you try it.
3. Separate Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
In addition to daily to-do lists, I try to keep track of longer-term goals on a separate list so I can see what I’m working towards. And, depending on the goal, I’ll try to come up with a rough “due date” that I need to get it done by (make it as realistic as possible, otherwise you’ll just stress yourself out). Whether you do this on another Keep note, a piece of paper, or a vision board, it doesn’t matter. But have some finish-line goals in view to remind yourself what you’re hustling for.
4. Add it to the Calendar
For anything longer-term, assigning due dates and then adding those dates to your calendar can be a huge help in terms of visualizing the time you have allotted for working towards it. My calendar is packed with deadlines, due dates, and reminders. And, I even share some of the ‘events’ with my boyfriend or my friends (if they’re relevant) as a way to hold myself accountable. It’s much more ‘real’ when you have to push a due date back if other people can see the notification. I’m not advocating for public humiliation as a productivity tool, but I’m also not not saying that…
5. Check In Regularly
Every week, month, or quarter, try to touch base with yourself and run through where you stand in terms of all of your life goals – big or small. Level-setting with yourself on a regular basis makes it harder for things to fall through the cracks and be forgotten. I do this both personally and with my boyfriend to make sure we’re holding each other accountable and actively working towards the things we’ve said matter.
So, where does that leave us?
Well, 6 months ago, you stood at the edge of the end of the year, leaning forward with dreams and ambitions for the new year. Yesterday, you realized it was June. And you freaked out about how quickly time was passing by. What will you do tomorrow to change that? What kinds of ways will you (or do you) manage your own time?