This post is sponsored by H&R Block but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Manage time wisely in the new year by discovering where your pitfalls are and how to free up more time to do the things you love with these 5 productivity hacks!
5 Tips On How To Manage Time Wisely In The New Year!
A new year is upon us, and I'm sure we are all focusing on the vision we have for 2019. You know, a year with no mistakes, a chance to wipe the slate clean, and the possibilities are endless. I believe that goal setting is a great motivator as long as everything you do is set forth in a reasonable and obtainable way. My goal for this year is to manage my time more wisely. I've broken my goals into 5 areas that I think are good areas where I can spend less time myself, and in turn, spend more time doing the things I really truly enjoy. Walk with me as I show you the tips and tricks I'll be using.
What would you do with more time? Really think about that for a minute. For me, I would travel more, spend more time with my loved ones, and to be brutally honest, just try to take in and enjoy having a little less stress from the activities that make me miserable in the long run. In fact, my #1 tip, is a task that usually causes stress. But not this year, this year I'm the winner.
Find your stress and time management weaknesses
Before fixing the problem, you need to define your problem. Spend a few days really thinking about those things that get you feeling sick to your stomach. For me, it's things with a time crunch. I'm the worst at procrastinating, and I when things come down to the wire I just go to pieces. So an overall recharge of my daily calendar needs revamping. So I have more time for those tasks, and to make room for that, I need to eliminate other time blocks.
My list below will show you my major time blocks and how I'm switching them out for my must do jobs as well as more downtime blocks. Make a list of about 5 of those things. Really think hard about how these activities make you feel. Do you really enjoy them?
Really take a look at your schedule. Maybe map it out for the next 7 days and see if there are any blocks of time that are screaming wasteful to you. Maybe you're spending 4 nights a week watching 2-3 hours of Netflix. Believe me, I support relaxation and a breather now and then. But could you maybe just eliminate one night and go to 3? What would you do in that 2-3 hour block of time that might get you ahead?
My Top 5 Production Hacks for the New Year:
5. Focus on staying healthy and taking care of myself.
I've discovered that my most productive times are when I am adding in exercise and taking time to have some time to relax and give my brain a mental health break. A few years ago, I blogged about staying motivated on a daily walking program. Even if it's only 10 minutes a day, getting outside, taking deep breaths and allowing your brain to not be distracted from a computer screen, a phone call, or other daily interruptions really make a big difference on how you handle things when the stressor comes along. Which it will. We all know that. You cannot dodge everything. That is just not how life works, am I right?
4. Hire out the tasks that are driving you nuts.
For me, that is cleaning the house. Not only does it take a huge block of time each week, it physically leaves me drained. My brain surgeries have been successful, but I still struggle with bending over. For me, it's just not worth it to spend a few hours cleaning and then have days where I'm in pain. I'm really frugal so for a long time I struggled with paying someone. Remind yourself time is money. In the end, paying someone else has been more financially productive for me.
Have little kids underfoot? Thinking a cleaning lady is not in the cards- that's okay! I have 2 neighbors that switch every Tuesday on who is watching their kids. Each mom has 2 days a month with a few hours to clean or run errands they need to do. I have another friend who loves to clean and organize and keep a tidy house. Instead, she hires out someone to clean her car, change her oil regularly and maintain all of her car maintenance.
Get creative and find solutions like these. See how much stress you let go by letting go of those tasks you absolutely dread.
3. Use the time hacks others are offering you!
Shopping has never been easier. Press a button and in 2 days, your order can be on your doorstep. Need it faster than 2 days? Nowadays you can have groceries in under 2 hours! Have them delivered for a small fee, or pick up at the curb. Stores are becoming really competitive with this service, and several stores have this option for free- or free on certain days. By maintaining shopping lists online, simply hitting purchase again saves a lot of time. No more battling the aisles looking for that elusive item.
Prepared food is the same way. Most stores are offering meals prepped and ready to go. You can opt to have those delivered straight to your door. There are apps that allow for restaurant delivery as well. For a family of 6, it's not really financially savvy to have a large order delivered in that manner, but for 1 or 2 people, the amount of time saved might be worth it. For us, we find a cheap ready-made pizza or a rotisserie chicken with a side dish or 2 from the grocery store is a win-win.
2. Manage your internet usage.
This is a hard one. I love social media. I love having everything at the tips of my fingers. We live in a new world my friends. My college boy deleted Instagram from his phone his senior year because it was just a total "time suck" for him. I have to admit, there is something humbling about having a teenager with self-control that rivals your own. To eliminate some of these things, just google time management apps and the world is your oyster. You'll find internet browser add-ons to limit or exclude social media sites.
You'll find productivity recipes that will automate work for you - for instance, when I publish a blog post, some magical technological wonder automatically lists the name, the date and the URL address in a master spreadsheet for me. How amazing is that? Automation will only get better as time goes on. It's amazing to think of all the possibilities. I'm not listing specific programs because there are so many and everyone has to pick their own favorite that works best for their lifestyle
My #1 TIP!!!!!!!! Find the Job that causes you the most stress - and find a better way to do it.
Want to know my annual nemesis that stresses me out more than anything? Taxes. Yep. Taxes. From the start of the year, until the due date in April, nothing stresses me or my marriage out more than taxes. We even have a date for the first day after the due date to celebrate "Victory Over Taxes Day". I'm not naturally organized, I mentioned before that I'm a total procrastinator. My husband is the total opposite. He'd rather have them done and sent and not have to think about it. I'd rather wait and delay it. My process is the same every year.
The house has to be totally quiet. I can't do it when kids are around. I cannot motivate myself to drag out all the paperwork. I start running out of time. He pesters me as nicely as he can. I'm frustrated because I hate it and I don't want to do it, and he's frustrated because I'm not doing them. We will stress alone, together, and an argument about our differences will ensue. It's a lovely time, let me tell you.
Enter my Godsend for this year:
H&R Block !
H&R Block offers upfront and transparent pricing. I love this. I can't tell you how many times I've been through all the paperwork thinking I was going to pay one price, only to be surprised at the last minute with a new more expensive charge. Having run out of time, and not wanting to waste the time I've put in, I begrudgingly pay it. And swear next year I'll be more organized.
I can also pick where I'd like to do my taxes with my new favorite tax partner. I can go to a brick and mortar retail store, or I can utilize their DIY online tools. Personally, I love the DIY online service because I can easily upload all my tax forms and simply take photos of my receipts with their simple tool, wherever and whenever I want. This helps me get organized before I even start my taxes! You can visit the website to see all their tax filing options and check it out yourself!
Besides the stress of managing my time to get my taxes done in an orderly fashion, I always worried that I had done something wrong. I was paranoid that maybe I missed a number, a decimal, paid too little or heaven help me - paid too much! If I decide it stresses me out to do my own taxes online, I can use the new Tax Pro Go virtual tax prep, where I just upload my forms and an expert tax pro does the rest! Then I really have peace of mind knowing my taxes have been done right by people who know what they are doing! The stress of filing incorrectly is another huge weight off my shoulders.
My marriage will now have let go of this major stressor. I won't spend hours poured over paperwork and my laptop. I'm actually excited about tax season this year! Instead of Victory Over Taxes day, we are celebrating Liberation From Tax Paperwork with a weekend away with the kids! Thanks to H&R Block’s dedicated, friendly and knowledgeable experts I already have a good start on my time productivity hacks for this year! WIN WIN!
What is your biggest time suck? What is the major task you can't stand? Have you thought outside the box on how you can handle it? The sky is the limit with some creativity my friends!