I used to be one of those people who would constantly complain about being “SO busy”. I had dozens of excuses about why there wasn’t enough time to: work out, spend more time with my husband or girlfriends, take time off, make healthy meals for myself, etc. All the activities that I really wanted to be doing, but convinced myself that there wasn’t the “time to make it happen”.
I know many of you can relate.
And, truth be told, I was completely guilty of prioritizing “busy work”. I would fill up my days and weeks with low-value activities, instead of the things that actually create more freedom in my business or joy in my personal life.
For me, I could easily waste a good 2 - 3 hours of my day (both work & at home) by:
Sound familiar? 🤦
As it turns out, this busy work has a name. It’s called “productive procrastination”. It’s our brains' sneaky way of convincing ourselves that we are accomplishing something. In reality, we are focused on tasks that are sucking up our time and not moving the needle.
It’s SO easy to fall into this trap because we get a BIG dopamine hit when we are working on a lot of different tasks, which in turn stimulates the behavior. (That’s why women are known as “multi-taskers”).
The good news is that it is easy to change your relationship with time. I’m excited to share three of my favorite tips for getting clear on your priorities, focusing on the work that moves the needle, and setting boundaries that will help you create all the time you need. These are all easy ways to eliminate time anxiety or feelings of “there is never enough time”.
Step One: Prioritize the time that you have.
Start by blocking out your weekly priorities. Each week contains 168 hours (720 hours per month!). Once we take away the “essentials”, (sleeping, eating & meal prep, showering, commuting, schelping kiddos), we have 90 - 100 hrs. Add in your workweek, and the remaining time leaves about 60 - 70 hrs to fill.
There is a fun, insightful exercise I use with clients to help them get clear on their priorities and map their time. We break down the information and put it into a spreadsheet and experiment to find the right balance between business, wellness, joy, and connection.
My weekly schedule looks something like this:
In order to be my “best self doing my best work”, I need to be intentional and block my time. Otherwise, things get busy, and let’s face it, the things I WANT to be doing don’t seem to materialize.
In my business, I utilize the Lean Out Method for strategic planning. This helps me get crystal clear on WHAT I need to work on and WHEN. I create my vision, establish my goals, and then map out the corresponding action steps, projects, and campaigns.
If you want to cut down on low-value activities, try this:
➡️ Each quarter, set “goals” & identify your campaigns/projects
➡️ Each month, build out a tactical plan to help you achieve those goals
➡️ Each week, commit to the tasks to help you achieve that tactical plan
➡️ Each day, identify & complete the (1) thing that supports your weekly plan
By getting in the habit of strategic planning, you are intentionally “moving the needle” because the tiny actions are directly related to the big goals. You spend a lot less time spinning your wheels with “busy work” and more time focused on high-value activities. Say goodbye to productive procrastination!
Did you know that the average person spends 2.5 hrs per day on social media? That adds up to 15 hours a week! I don’t know about you, but I find it so easy to fall into the trap of mindless scrolling. I’ll pop on “quick” and then look up and it’s an hour later...yikes!
Ask yourself, do you want to prioritize 15 hrs of your week on FB, TikTok, or on the ‘gram?
Can you be more “intentional” about social media usage? For example, if you use social media to stay socially connected, then build out the time and say “I’m choosing to spend this hour connecting on social media”. This helps free you from guilt AND helps get you out of the habit of being “auto-pilot” and being more intentional.
Social media is just one area where we can end up losing our time to productive procrastination. When we look at what is actually “getting in the way” of achieving goals & doing “our most meaningful work”, we see that business owners are:
Sticky note these two phrases, and post them by your desk, in your bathroom, etc…
Many of us have a tendency to overestimate our capacity. I am certainly guilty of trying to squeeze in “all.the.things”. Usually, that stems from FOMO (fear of missing out). However, if you scatter your energy and try to take it all on, you end up stressing yourself out, finishing very little, or compromising your work.
Instead, try prioritizing one or two high-value projects. Or, you can group several “like things” together and batch work. Either way, you’ll get better results quicker because you’ve focused your energy and attention on a small area. This usually leads to more revenue and time savings.
Once you’ve focused your workload, then focus on the finish line. In order to work more efficiently and effectively, I had to “unlearn” multi-tasking at work. If I started a project, I made it a “rule” to not start another until I finished. Easier said than done! I was so in the habit of poking at this, touching that, and although it definitely felt like I was “working”, I wasn’t moving the needle and seeing timely results in my work.
Mostly, this was just a habitual way of working. However, I would start another project when I was faced with something “difficult” or if I was feeling a bit “bored”. To stop starting and start finishing, I need to help myself focus and move through the current work and focus on the excitement and reward of completing a project and achieving a goal.
As one of my favorite mentors says, “You don't get benefits from something by working on it. You get benefits from something by finishing it and completing it.”
To shift your relationship to time (and the negative belief that there is “never enough”), focus on:
✔️ Prioritizing the time that you have.
✔️ Choose “high value” activities & cut down on the “busy work”.
✔️ Practice saying NO to activities that don’t support your vision & goals.
I would love to hear your thoughts on your relationship with time in the comments!
And, if you are feeling overwhelmed and would like support: Get clear. Get focused. Get your time back, sign up for an Eliminate The Overwhelm Session!
Hi there! I’m Jordan Eades, Holistic Business Coach and founder of Your Best Business LIfe. My passion is guiding women business owners who want to make a big impact in business—without sacrificing what matters most.
Your Best Business Life coaching provides the keys to overcoming overworking; allowing you to create a sustainable and profitable business, focus on the work that fuels your passion, unapologetically invest in self-care, prioritize experiences that light you up, and provide the support you need to thrive.