How to Become the Master of Your Free Time

Like many of you, I have a lot of balls in the air every day. I’m wearing one hat in the morning, then I switch to another, then I switch to yet another and around and around we go. And that is on a GOOD day.

Things get thrown off one way or another all the time; someone gets sick, emotions get the better of me, or the unexpected ‘to do’s’ take center stage.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed. AND it feels justified. But what if it isn’t?

I read a book a few years ago and it SO hit home because it challenged this cultural belief that we HAVE NO TIME.

The Truth About Time

Forgive me for paraphrasing a really good book, but this is what I took away from it (mind you, some of this is probably my own thoughts triggered by this book):

  • We have something like 30 hours of leisure time a week.
  • We CHOOSE to be busy.
  • We are addicted to being busy.
  • Prioritize your time and you’ll find you have more of it.

Honestly, I think about this book and the concepts it presented ALL the time. And I’ve gotten a bit addicted to trying to be in control of my time, instead of being a follower of whatever comes in my path. I try to SPEND my time wisely with MY choices.

It’s something we talk about A LOT in the Mindset Coach Academy because time and mindset and productivity are so closely related. And especially when we are trying to get to another level in our life, we often run into this feeling of overwhelm, or comparison to others and all they are getting done (or we think they are getting done), or the feeling that there is just too much to do in too little time. And it’s false.

I’ve seen just about EVERYONE that comes through our program run up against this and we have to work through it together. And they’ll have to work through it again in the future just as I do. It’s not a one time fix but once you get some tools in your toolbox, it sure becomes a lot easier the next time overwhelm wants to get the better of you.

Here are a few things have really helped me and my coaching students get over the I’m SO busy myth in a practical way:

Challenge The Popular Cultural Belief

The first thing is allowing myself to entertain the thought that I actually DO have a lot of time. This is challenging because I often don’t feel this way and everyone around me supports the ‘I have no time’ belief both on my behalf and their own. But even attempting to challenge this thought seems to help me because it puts me in the driver’s seat. I tell myself: I DO have the time to do the things that are important to me.

Prioritize & Delegate

Not everything is equally important. Some things are going to drop. And I constantly have to keep analyzing which things are okay to drop. Also, which things can be done by someone else? And finally, which things can be done by someone else even if it’s not EXACTLY how I would have done it (control freaks anyone?)

Take Time to Make Time

It takes time to create more time in your life. If I don’t sit down and prioritize my time and PLAN, I get on the hamster wheel at about 6 am and put one foot in front of the other all day with no rhyme or reason for what gets done. This makes me feel constantly behind AND, I’m not actually choosing the things I want to accomplish. I’m a follower not a leader. And that is the most disempowering feeling of them all.

I do specific things that I’ve talked about before and that I teach in the Mindset Coach Academy. Namely, a brain-dump of all my to-dos that gets me out of my head, a yearly plan (called the Yearly Beast) that helps me prioritize WHAT is actually important and a daily routine (called the Daily Beast) that helps me decide what’s going to happen that day.

Move from the Passenger's Seat to the Driver’s Seat

I try to move things from obligation to a choice of yes or no. Then own it. I might not bring homemade cupcakes to school. Then again, I might. But if I do, it’s because I WANTED to SPEND that time with my daughter making cupcakes at home. I’m moving things from an obligation to a choice and driving my time use, not sitting back and letting time own me.

Thoughts on Free Time

I am not one of those people that thinks you should never have unscheduled down time to do whatever the hell you want. ‘Wasting’ time has enormous benefits as well; namely, something called creating whitespace in your life for thinking, daydreaming, or just vegging out. I think that time has value too. Productivity cannot be our goal at every hour of every day.

But assuming you can find your ‘zone out’ time, ask yourself this:

  • In my productive time, could I switch to SPENDING my time more efficiently?
  • Could I prioritize the things I need to do in a way that aligns with my goals and values more?
  • Could I let go of things that are actually not that important to me?
  • How do I want to spend my leisure time?

So there you have it: Time and the ‘busy’ myth. It’s something that I work on constantly but it’s allowed me to really feel more in control of my time, my honest and open about my choices, and clearer about what actually needs to get done. Hope this helps you as well.

In our Mindset Coach Certification, we bring together a small group of like-minded coaches and train them over the course of 4 months to develop the skills and education to enact real, lasting change in others. One of our core philosophies is that the key to being a great mindset coach is to train your own mindset first, so we teach strategies for self-growth and development to help coaches align their values with their actions all while teaching actionable mental training tools to implement with others. 

Note:  Applications for The Mindset Coach Certification are now closed, but we'll be launching our next cohort in Fall, 2020. To be the first to know about this upcoming cohort, put your name on our waitlist.


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