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5 Ways to Work Smarter to Gain More Personal Time

Work, work and work some more. Whether at home, the office, or elsewhere, life keeps moving, and sometimes we end up trapped in life’s washing machine gasping for air. We’ve all worked hard. And it's time you gained some control in your life and started securing some family and hobby time for yourself! Let’s look at how to work smarter to increase that personal time throughout a hopefully fresh 2022.

Learn How to Say No Firstly, learning to say "no" isn’t an easy habit to develop. But, like everything, practice makes perfect. The first step is starting, so here are some steps to learning how to say no. o Understand why you’re saying no: Maybe you’re exhausted, or your kids have an important event you don't want to miss, or you don't think what someone’s requesting plays to your strengths. It’s best to define and explain your “no’s” to yourself first regardless of what it is. o You don't have to explain: If someone questions why you are declining their request, you can give them a brief explanation if you feel that would ease their discomfort or help them understand, but don’t feel pressured to provide them with an answer. You are allowed to say no with no questions asked. o Practice: “No” doesn't come easily to some people. So start small. Say no to things like a waiter asking if you would like dessert at a restaurant or to a playdate with a new mum and baby, or even say no to after-work drinks with your co-workers. Practice makes perfect. o Be prepared to miss out: Although you will be clearing time in your schedule for more important things, like your personal time, prepare that this may lead to you missing out on some opportunities. Of course, some of us hate saying no to new opportunities, but remember, we have to lose some to win some.

o Growth: Remember that saying no doesn't make you a bad worker, friend, or parent. We have to create boundaries, the lifestyle we want, and develop our courage. Keep doing the best you can within reason and know that is enough.

Nightly Brain Dump You can't rely on your memory. Many people find themselves forgetting essential things when they’re busy and overwhelmed. Start jotting down a nightly brain dump. This is simply writing a list of things you want to achieve either the next day or during the week that you need to remember to do. Use a piece of paper and outline this "brain dump" however you like. You’ve completed a successful brain dump as long there are words on paper – no set criteria here! Brain dumps reduce the risk of forgetting important tasks, create room in your schedule, and ultimately free’s up time for yourself. You’ve offloaded your responsibilities to a piece of paper. Leave it by your bed, on your desk, or even in your bathroom. You can refer to this list to plan your day/week when you wake up.

Devise a Realistic Weekly Calendar Your weekly calendar is the big picture. A structured, time-blocked, pre-planned schedule for the non-negotiable tasks of your week. Schedule these at the start of your week. As you grind through it and complete nightly brain dumps, you’ll add more tasks to the calendar. The point of this task is to make it realistic. If it’s overly ambitious, you’ll overbook yourself and likely won't complete all the tasks in your week, which can be discouraging. An uncompleted week won’t influence your work ethic, but it reflects poor planning when attempting to satisfy unrealistic timelines. Sometimes, there won't be enough time in your week to complete everything, and this is okay. Once you’ve learned to say no to people or responsibilities that don’t suit your schedule, you will be able to gain time in your calendar for more personal time to spend as you please.

Planning Around Your Energy

Yes, plan your week, but plan with sensible goals based on your estimated energy levels at each of the week’s stages. For example, if you have a 5km run or night-work planned for Wednesday, you can't plan to complete an intense workout or intellectually challenging business task the following day at 5 A.M. Your motivation suffers, making the activity planned much harder to do and easier to flunk. The less energy you have during the week, the less inclined you’ll be to complete more significant tasks. Be mindful to plan your week balancing the fluctuating energy levels, as this will make for a more consistent 7-day period. Invest time organising your complex tasks, so you have the energy to last you for when your days off come. Prioritise yourself – ‘Self-Care’ Some people think self-care shouldn't be treated as a priority, but in fact, every person should schedule it into their daily routine. Self-care is an absolute necessity to function efficiently. The daily self-care I refer to is essential, with a strict time frame, and doesn’t have to be a two-hour skincare routine or massage. Realistically, it is five minutes locked in your room, bathroom, or outside alone to take a few deep breaths, recentre yourself and gain perspective as you begin or finalise your day. Enjoy being present with yourself. You may think this is a waste of time and will take away from your productivity, but every minute of mindfulness is actually doing you wonders! Here are some tips to completing your daily self-care: · Take a few seconds to think about yourself and pay attention to your needs like at daily mealtimes. Each day you wake up, feed your soul with a few deep breaths, a walk in the park, etc. and you’ll start off exponentially more refreshed and energised. · Be kind to yourself and remember that not every day will always go to plan. Oftentimes three deep breaths are all you can manage for self-care each day.

Eating and fuelling your body plays a significant role in vitality and focus levels. So, make it in your best interest to eat a little healthier each day to fuel your mind and body. ·

  • Ditch those socials. We all know it can be a time-drainer and negatively affect our moods. If you are someone that values time on your smartphone, pencil in some time for yourself to scroll. However, once that’s up, put it away and be present. Ask yourself if your social media usage aligns with your values, current lifestyle, or future desired lifestyle? If it’s not serving you or helping you grow, simply remove it from your life – at least in a virtual sense! Sleep is the most efficient kind of self-care. We need 7-8 hours each night to function properly and maximise productivity the next day. There’s nothing worse than being unfocused and frustrated when you have too many things on your plate, whilst dealing with an uncooperative body.

What We’ve Learned?

Begin thinking long and hard about what’s worth doing in your personal time. When you're at work, be at work. When you're at home, be at home. Be present. Spend the extra hours nurturing your soul rather than neglecting it. Read that book, light that candle, or stand in the cold breeze while taking three deep breaths. When you complete a productive day, acknowledge your success, and celebrate, even if it's a high five from yourself! Good luck on your journey, and congratulations on taking the first step! Are you a new small business venture seeking a bookkeeper? Contact today to discuss our profit first and bookkeeping services, your specific requirements or any other questions or enquiries!

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