Have you ever felt rushed or like there is not enough time in the day? If you answered no, then buy a lotto ticket because you are the luckiest person in the world.

Here is my 3-Step Productivity and Planning Trick to help you overcome the illusion of managing your time.

The top reasons people seem to be out of time or running behind are:

  1. Bad planning
  2. Saying “Yes” too much
  3. Getting caught up in the non-productive details

Let’s jump in and start with how to turn Bad planning into Good planning.

I have a few cool tricks I use to make sure I don’t feel rushed.

#1 First, I use reverse planning. Every evening I plan from the end of the following day until the morning to be sure I am prepared.

If I have to pick the kids up from school and take them to practice right after school I plan to have their equipment, snacks, and drinks with me before I have to pick them up. I lay out my client files, marketing materials, and clothes I need for the following day.

This reassures me the night before so I don’t get stuck in my head thinking of all the stuff I need to remember for my busy day. Also, if there are any items I need that are not just grab-and-go, I will have the time in the evening to get them ready.

Here is an example of how this helps. I was preparing the night before a group meeting where I wanted to share my new flyers. I discovered I was down to only 25 flyers and although that would be enough for my meeting, I wouldn’t have any extra. So, I emailed my printer to run some more and marked my calendar to pick up the extra copies.

If you are a mom of active kids I know you have found dirty and wrinkled uniforms 5 minutes before you have to leave for practice. I suggest reverse-planning to avoid these stressful and sometimes embarrassing and unprofessional situations.

#2 Just Say No! I know it is easier if you just do it. I know that you feel bad if you stay quiet when someone asks for volunteers. I know that you say “yeah, sure” then seconds later think “oh crap, I don’t have time to do that too!”

So stop saying yes. Don’t be afraid that no one else will do it, or they won’t do it as well as you. Instead ask yourself, “Does saying yes lead me closer to my goal?” and ask, “Does saying yes align with my vision and values?” If you answer yes to either, then check your schedule and be mindful of busy periods and priorities before saying yes.

#3 This is the big one; Non-productive details. More time is lost in the insignificant details than anywhere else. The struggle is knowing what the insignificant details are.

For me, I get lost in creating images and in organizing spreadsheets. Both are things I enjoy doing and are helpful to the successes of my goals. But I will not even realize I’ve been tweaking a spreadsheet for two hours then look at the clock and feel rushed and behind.

Many people get lost in technology. Trying to set up their voicemail box—1 hour. Trying to add an image to an email—1 hour. Entering data into software—2 hours. These are time-wasting tasks that should be delegated.

How much is your time worth? I charge $90+ an hour to work with me. If I spend 2 hours entering data when I could pay someone $20 an hour and they would do it in half the time, I am not only wasting time, I am pouring my money and my value down the drain.

If you are a one (wo)man show, and you do it all yourself, great! But schedule time to learn the skills you need to use. Don’t waste time fumbling through things. Or find a friend you can exchange tasks with who has skills you lack.

If you are on my email list to get my newsletter, keep an eye out my other pieces of training that will help you with your time management.