Many of us have a dream we would love to achieve. Unfortunately, our busy schedules can make it difficult to spare the time follow your dreams. But there are ways to create a little time each day to work on your goals. These tips will help you carve out the time and space to achieve your wildest dreams.
Our lives can seem a little humdrum and dull when we don’t get a chance to follow our dreams. Making progress towards achieving our biggest goals can inspire us and fill us with energy. But how do we get out of the rut and find the time to pursue the dreams that make our spirits soar?
Well, by analysing our current lifestyles and tweaking them a little bit we can carve out the time to follow our dreams. You may not be able to manage all of the following ideas, but even working on one or two can help you find the time and energy to pursue your goals. Once you begin working on your life goal you will soon feel inspired which will give you the energy to go further towards your dream each day.
If you are not even sure what your biggest dream is, try thinking about what you would most regret not doing if you were looking back from old age. There are also more ideas on how to find your goals and life purpose here.
Once you know what it is you want to achieve you can start by working on the 12 ideas below.
1. Let go of perfectionism
Perfectionism is the enemy of getting things done. Often we put off doing things we’d love to do because we fear to do it imperfectly. But getting something done is always better than getting nothing done. After all, you can’t edit a blank page. Give yourself permission to start working on your dream imperfectly. There will be plenty of time to smooth the rough edges later in the process. The important thing is that you start to follow your dreams.
2. Do a time and motion study
Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder where the time went? It might be worth making a note of how you spend your day to find out exactly where your precious time is going. Make notes hourly in a notebook over the course of a few days, or even better a week. If you don’t know how you are spending your time, it is difficult to work out how to use it more effectively and find time to follow your dreams. Once you know what activities are taking up your time, you can make an informed decision about what you choose to spend your time on in the future.
3. Sleep less
It is important to get enough sleep. However, quality is just as important as quantity. A good sleep routine can help you get off to sleep quickly, sleep well and wake up refreshed. Reducing caffeine intake and screen time in the evenings can make sure you don’t waste precious time lying awake. A calming evening routine, perhaps including some meditation or relaxation, can ensure you don’t lie awake worrying. It may not seem like something as mundane as sleep hygiene can help you to follow your dreams, but you might be surprised at the difference a good night’s sleep can make.
4. Take a nap
Yes, I know I just suggested sleeping less, however taking a nap can be a great way to give your energy levels a boost during the day. When you get tired, you become less efficient. A short nap can help you think more clearly and boost energy. In effect, you get two days out of one. Short naps of 20 minutes to half an hour are best for productivity. More than that can leave you groggy and interfere with your night time routine. As a bonus, you may find you have new creative insights after a nap, especially if you think about a problem as you drift off to sleep.
5. Establish good routines
Many people think that routines are boring and stultifying. But actually, good routines can free you up to be more productive and creative. When you have established routines you don’t even have to think about them. Things get done automatically without taking precious mental energy. In addition, good routines mean you have everything you need when you need it. You won’t waste time looking for clean socks or trying to think what to have for dinner if these chores are taken care of as part of a regular plan.
6. Work smarter
You may think that your days are as full as they can be and that you don’t have a spare moment to work on your goals. However, many of us waste time doing tasks in a less than optimum way. For example, going to the shops every day takes much more time than working out a weekly meals plan and shopping list and visiting the supermarket only once. Grouping jobs together can also reduce the mental and physical load. You could, for instance, run all errands one afternoon a week to save time, hassle and money on petrol and parking.
Handling mental tasks in groups can reduce the time required for your brain to switch from one task to another. For example, allocating a certain time or times each day to handle email can make sure that this task doesn’t interfere with your flow when you are working on deeper tasks.
7. Reduce screen time
If you are really serious about making time to follow your dreams, you should consider reducing screen time. Time spent watching TV or browsing social media can run away with you. You think you will just spend a few minutes on Twitter or an hour watching TV but before you know it a whole evening has passed without you doing anything towards achieving your dreams. Set strict limits on your screen time. Use an app to monitor your time on your phone or set a timer to remind you when your time is up. This will benefit your health, wellbeing and relationships, as well as giving you more time to work on your goals.
8. Meditate more and worry less
There is an old Zen saying. ‘You should meditate for half an hour every day unless you are too busy. Then you should meditate for an hour’. Ther is a lot of truth in this. Meditation can help clear your mind. It will help you to prioritize tasks and let go of those that are not in alignment with your dream life. Having meditated you will approach your day in a calmer and more positive frame of mind which will make everything go a little more smoothly. So meditate, or do some other mindful activity, every day. I promise it will magically save you time.
9. Use wasted time
If you don’t have a big expanse of time to work on your dream, try to make use of small amounts of time that would otherwise be wasted. For example, you could make notes while waiting for your children to finish school or daydream about your goal while waiting in a queue. Use your commute to do research or planning if you can. Perhaps you could listen to an inspiring podcast while driving or doing the ironing. Use every moment you can to work towards making your dream a reality.
This can be a tough one. Most of us have many responsibilities in our lives that we can’t just shirk because we want to follow our dreams. However, taking a good look at our commitments every now and then is a good practice. Sometimes we do things out of habit and routine. Some activities that used to bring you joy might not inspire you anymore. The question to ask is ‘Do I want to do this activity more than I want to achieve my dream?’
11. Shop less
Shopping can be a huge waste of time. It’s also my favourite procrastination device. I can’t start yet, I tell myself, I need the perfect notebook/pen/ outfit/scented candle before I can possibly begin. Of course, sometimes we need to shop, for groceries, clothes, household supplies and gifts. But just make sure a trip to the shops doesn’t end up eating into your precious creating time. Make a list, set a time limit and don’t get distracted by anything shiny. Remember that extra time spent shopping means less time to follow your dreams.
12 Clear out clutter
Yes, I know clearing out actually takes time, however it will save time in the long run. When it’s easy to find things you have more time to do important work. Organising your desk and files can also help you think more clearly. In addition, having fewer things means less time cleaning and maintaining them. Clutter can drain your mental energy, too. There is nothing that sucks energy quite like a closet full of things that trigger negative emotions or overwhelm, However, don’t let re-organising become a distraction. It can be easy to spend the whole day organising your stationery drawer or design supplies and never actually start working on your goal. Set a timer for a few minutes every day and start in the area of the house that will make the most difference to your life.
13. Do it first
This may not work if you are not a morning person, however, I encourage you to give it a try. Do your most important work first, while you have the most mental and physical energy and before you get pulled in all directions by the demands of the rest of your day. If you plan to work on your dreams at the end of the day you might never manage to squeeze it in. Be bold and spend a few minutes first thing every day on following your precious dreams.
If you work on a few of these techniques you might be surprised how much time you carve out of your life to follow your dreams. Don’t worry if you are not making progress as quickly as you would like or changing your life to the extent that others around you are. As long as you are moving in the right direction you will get there and the only person worth comparing yourself with is the person you were yesterday.