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Time Starved? 6 Practical Tips to Make More Time

What would you do if you had more time?

Would you start a work-out routine? Maybe you’d start a business or go out with your friends more.

The problem is, it seems impossible. You have a mountain of tasks, and the mountain is growing not shrinking. You may even feel overwhelmed.

There is hope. We have to do something first though…

Let's rethink time.

Continuing to live anxiously and not creating time for ourselves is dangerous.

It leads to health issues like increased blood pressure and insomnia, and it generally creates a feeling tension in our bodies.

What if you could:

  • feel like you had all the time in the world?
  • reduce tension in your shoulders?
  • decrease your risk of heart disease?

(Uh, yeah, sign me up!)

What if it only took a few tweaks in your mindset and routines?

You have everything you could possibly want, but you can’t seem to make more time. Maybe you’ve struggled with working 60 hour weeks while trying to scrape together the time and energy to keep up with friends and family.

Me too!

When we don’t make time for ourselves, we’ll never become the person we know we can be or contribute to our communities in the way we want.

Back in the day, I felt stressed and anxious all the freaking time. I didn’t know it though because I had my head down working my bee-hind off to get ahead. I didn’t take time to connect with myself and pay attention to what my mind and body really needed.

Then I had a life-altering breast cancer diagnosis. Work had to stop for treatment, and I was given space to regroup and reassess. I read health books, self-help books, online articles, and anything under the sun addressing stress. I started practicing yoga and being more mindful of how I lived my life.

When I reassessed what I really wanted after cancer, I knew I had to start a business alongside my full time legal career.

I learned to move mountains to prioritize what mattered in my life.

You can too!

Usually we talk about time as if we’re lacking it. Ever say one of these phrases?

  • there’s not enough time
  • there’s only 24 hours in a day
  • I don’t have time
  • I’m too busy
  • we’re wasting time
  • time is money

Our culture speaks about time in terms of scarcity. It's limited, yes, but everyone has 24 hours in a day. How do some people manage to do more than seems humanly possible?

There’s enough time do what’s important to us. But we MUST prioritize.

Somehow powerhouses like Oprah and Richard Branson find the time to connect with themselves and live fulfilling lives.

I started thinking about time in terms of abundance, and it was the subtle mindset shift I needed to make bigger changes in my day.

When I caught myself rushing to work, I stopped and told myself that I had plenty of time, I’ll get there when I get there. Then I took a deep breath to relax. Suddenly that guy who cut me off in traffic is no big deal.

Practicing an abundance mentality surrounding time made me feel calmer.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “Meditate for at least 5 minutes a day. If you don’t have 5 minutes to meditate, then meditate for an hour.” This phrase impressed upon me that we have control over how we view time.

I observed that my 15 minutes morning tea rituals made me feel calmer. My morning ritual wasn’t “taking” time from me. I was giving myself 15 minutes to improve my well-being and reduce the stress I felt creeping into my shoulders.

Our perception of time is connected to our stress levels.

In addition to creating a self-care ritual, here are 6 more things I’ve learned that have helped me create more time in my life.

These 6 practical tips cultivate a feeling of an abundance of time and actually create more of it.

1. Observe how you speak about time

Here's a subtlety to listen for the next time you’re in a rush. When you see yourself using any of the phrases I talked about earlier, counteract them by saying something like:

  • I have enough time to get my priorities completed
  • work will be there no matter when I get there
  • if it doesn’t get done today, there’s always tomorrow

Cultivating a mindset of abundance regarding time is the first step to feeling like there’s more of it.

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2. Don’t get bogged down by decision paralysis

Ever stand at the doorway of your closet in the morning trying to figure out what you’re going to wear but simply can’t?

That’s decision paralysis. It’s also called decision fatigue.

We’re hammered with so many choices each day. Our brain has a limited capacity to make decisions before our brain is overloaded and we start making poor decisions (like grabbing Mickey D’s after work) or we can’t make decisions at all.

So many of our day to day decisions slow us down and take up bandwidth we can spend elsewhere. What to wear? What’s for dinner? Where should I shop?

What I’ve done the past few years is eliminate the need for me to make some decisions by consciously limiting my choices.

For example, I know what my go-to outfits are when I don’t want to think about whether I match: black top, black skirt, and shoes with a pop of color.

People like Mark Zuckerberg swear by wearing the same thing daily to save bandwidth. He can afford to wear more than one kind of outfit, yet he wears his standard sweatshirt and jeans.

You can translate this trick to just about anything.

For dinner, theme your days. If you practice Taco Tuesdays you already do this. You can also make the same meal for lunch each day and prep it ahead of time, which is what I do.

Consciously limiting your choices repurposes your bandwidth for better uses.

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3. Plan ahead and know what you want (so you can say “no, thank you”)

Plan your priorities. What do you absolutely have to get done this week? Write a list on Sunday night.

For instance, you have to make meal plan so you can shop, take your dog to the vet, and take care of yourself (yes, this is a must too!).

When you know your priorities, you can say no to things easier. If a friend texts you to grab drinks after work on Tuesday, but Tuesday is the night you go to yoga, suggest another night.

It’s easier to say no when you know your priorities.

When you know what you want and set boundaries, you’re not resentful of someone “taking” your me-time, and you don’t feel guilty for not making yourself a priority.

4. Organize your rituals

Ever wake up in the morning to get ready and have to dig through a drawer to find what you need?

One day, I was putting on my make-up in front of my bathroom mirror when I had an epiphany! What if I moved everything in my bathroom to make getting ready for work in the morning as easy and quick as possible?

I then organized what I used each day in my medicine cabinet in the order I used them. No more forgetting to put on sunscreen or deodorant (those are rough days) because it wasn’t in front of my face! I line up deodorant, facial cleanser, sunscreen, foundation, etc., in my medicine cabinet, and I use pretty mugs to organize my brushes and miscellaneous make-up (gloss, mascara). I even organized my drawers to help me find things easily.

Talk about a revelation!

This system keeps me from using precious bandwidth on my morning routine, and I can use that bandwidth on things like my morning tea ritual.

5. Outsource things you hate doing

Ever hear the phrase, “time is money?”

  • Don't like gardening because it takes too long? Hire a gardener.
  • Don't like dusting or cleaning the bathroom? Hire a housekeeper. 
  • Don't like grocery shopping or cooking? Order a meal plan or ready-made meals.

If you're motivated to create more time in your life for what you love, you’ll find a way.

Write a list of things you do during the week, then highlight the things you don't like doing.

Once you know what you like doing least, outsource it.

6. Do these things today to reduce multitasking

Whoever started the myth that multitasking is a time-saver needs to have a stern talking to.

What a bunch of baloney.

I’m pretty sure leaders all over the world still think multitasking is essential to being productive.

Don’t get me wrong – I know multi-tasking is necessary in some situations, but it’s certainly not efficient when trying to complete projects. For instance, when I’m wearing my lawyer hat, I’m required to multi-task. I might be in court listening to the judge talking to a defendant, while I'm talking to another attorney about another case, and simultaneously training a legal intern. Or I might be asking questions, listening to a witness respond, and I’m trying to gauge the response of a jury to the witness’s testimony. There’s a lot going on.

When it comes to projects though, multitasking must be debunked.

If you want to get massive amounts of work done in a shortened period of time, so you can do more of what you love, then sit up and pay attention to the following tips to get focussed and protect your bandwidth.

OMG, I can already hear the resistance…”But how can I NOT multitask when I constantly have people who need things from me?”

Try this. It’s amazing. I have co-workers who marvel at how I can get everything done that I do. Want to know how I do it?

Here are a few of my secrets to protecting my bandwidth:

EMAIL SETTINGS: turn off your notifications.

Ever sit at your desk and get constantly distracted by the little window that pops up on your computer screen? Or maybe you’re tempted to keep looking at your email to see if anyone has emailed you in the last 2 minutes?

Of course you have. Just stop.

You’re wasting incredible amounts of time and bandwidth checking your emails all the time. You're not so important that the world will implode if you don’t check your email until you’ve finished working not that project in front of you. Finish your project, then you can look at your email.

Better yet, shut down your email all together and only open it at lunch time if that’s possible. 

VOICEMAIL SETTINGS: Give specific instructions setting expectations.

I used to hate voicemail and preferred to answer each call as they came in, so I wouldn’t have to check voicemail later. Oh, how I wish I used this tip sooner.

I now have certain days when I check voicemail, and I tell people why. I also give them options to contact me that may ensure a quicker response (and that I prefer) — like email.

This is in summary what my voicemail says:

“Hi. You’ve reached Dina Cataldo. I check my voicemail Tuesdays and Thursdays because I’m court the other days of the week. You can also reach me by e-mail at (fill in the blank). If this is an urgent matter, please dial zero, and a secretary will assist you.”

People are more understanding that you’re not immediately returning your voicemail, and they (usually) don’t harass you with more voicemails. Also, if there’s a fire, you’ll find out via e-mail or via someone physically coming to your office to tell you. The world will not implode, and you’ll get more work done. Promise.

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PRIORITIZE: Keep your stacks organized.

Here’s another one I wish I thought through sooner.

When you’re dealing with numerous tasks, it helps to create a system for prioritizing. If I’m working with files, I arrange my stack of files in the morning in order of priority. I ask myself, “What's absolutely essential that I get done today?” I place those files on top, then I work my way down.

If I’m working on different items in my business, I write to do lists the night before. When I wake up, I know exactly what must be done, and I don’t have to use bandwidth thinking about it.

This tip alone will change your life.

WORK AREA: Clean it up already.

Okay, what does this have to do with multitasking, you ask?

Picture this: you’re staring at a dusty computer screen whilst papers are scattered all over your desk along with paperclips, pens, a teacup, dusty picture frames, a telephone, and a cell phone. These items strewn about are likely the tip of the iceberg…

We can’t focus when we have a messy work area. Period.

If we can’t focus, we can’t get work done as efficiently.

At the end of the day, straighten up your desk. At the end of the work-week, dust.

Easy peasy.

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Your mission should you choose to accept it…

When I changed how I talked about time and changed my routines, I felt less stress and got more done. I have more time to do what I love and take better care of myself.

When I focus on my priorities, I get them done. Everything else is the cherry on top.

Now it’s up to you. Do you decide today that you're going to think differently about time, or will you keep spinning your wheels and feeling overwhelmed?

Need some help getting started or someone to hold you accountable? 

I’m inviting you to have a free (yeah, free!) 60 minute discovery call to help you get your priorities in order.

If you want to change your life, it starts with the right guidance. I’m offering coaching services to a select few people who are a good fit. If you’re ready to make massive change in your life, click here to apply, and we’ll set up a time to chat.

Lots of love,


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