How to be less busy: 5 tips to reclaiming your time and getting your life back

Do you ever feel like you’re long on to do and short on time? I have spent so many months, years even, feeling that way. It wasn’t until recently that I came to fully understand the amount of control I actually did have over my time and how I spent it.

In fact, it seems like that is one of the things that I do have near-complete control over. Sure, I have small children and a husband, a business, and obligations. There is a mortgage and tummies that need to be fed, diapers that need to be changed. I get all of that.

But here is the thing, how much time do I spend perusing Facebook during an afternoon lull? How many times have I let a phone call yammer on when I could have been more precise and to the point? And how many hours have I wasted binge watching Netflix?

I don’t even want to consider tallying the hours. Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing any of those things. But I can’t very well call myself “busy” if that is how I choose to spend my precious time. Because time is just that… precious.

We can’t earn more of it, once it’s gone, it’s gone. So I have had to learn how to command the most out of my days. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been worth it.

How to be less busy:

1. Determine what matters

It’s really important to determine what fulfills you and then plan your days around that. 

What are your priorities? It is important to figure out what your true priorities are. These are the places we seem willing to invest the most of our time and energy. If you took a good luck at how I spent my time you might see that housework was low on my list, and watching YouTube videos of people putting on makeup was high on my list.

But that’s not an accurate representation of what matters to me, so I’ve had to adjust my time accordingly. Of course, I just figured out I could stream YouTube through my television, so I just watch those videos while I clean. ;)

Things that do matter are family time. I often say not to weekend events because I want us to spend time together as a family while my husband is home. It means less social time but more family time.

2. What provides value

Recently I had gotten sucked into a group chat on Facebook. A community function that I am a part of was using the group chat as a way to send out information. The problem was the information was getting lost in responses, thumbs up and emojis of cats eating pizza. It was both a distraction and a waste of timeAnd above all, it wasn’t providing a value to the group. Everyone had to sort through the responses to get to the meat of the information and there were several miscommunications as a result.

I left the group chat and suggested instead the information just be sent in a quick bullet point email. I realize that may sound abrupt on my part, but when you’re juggling a home, small children, and a business sometimes you have to be direct.

I also left several Facebook group pages that were taking up way more time than necessary and turned I down a few work opportunities because they just didn’t provide good value for my time.

3. Prioritize your to do

When I make a to-do list I like to jot down the things on my list in order of importanceI take care of the important items first. That way they are out of the way and not hanging over my head. I can better focus my time, energy and attention this way.

4. Don’t check your email

I know this sounds counter-productive. But unless you are waiting on a very specific and important email just don’t check it until you’ve made it through your to-do list.

It’s so easy to get distracted if you jump on Gmail really quickly or your hop on Google News to scan the headlines. You can so easily get sucked into the rabbit hole that is the internet that you don’t get things done that you set out to accomplish.

5. Remove one thing

Okay, pull out your planner or your calendar app and look at your upcoming appointments? What is not necessary? What is not providing value to you? What do you dread doing? 

Don’t do it. Just cancel your appointment and say no. If it’s not vital to your survival or to your family don’t do it. 
I feel like in today’s society we value being busy. We glorify it and wear it like a badge of honor. And we misuse the word. I know that for me I am often not busy, I am just distracted and it’s important for me to refocus my time and energy.

What about you? How do you become less busy?