Busy? Probably.

Too busy to pursue your passionate idea? Not necessarily.

Sometimes, all you need to do is refine your approach. Give these four tips some consideration as you work to seize control of your time.

1. Something’s got to give

To say “yes” to this new opportunity, something probably has to give way. What do you need to say “no” to in order to create some capacity? Audit your calendar and evaluate current activities relative to your new pursuit. Anything that now has less perceived value is a prime candidate to eliminate.

2. Lock in your laser-focus

Multitasking seems like the new normal. Most folks can’t even sit through a traffic light without checking their phones. To make the most of your time, swear off multitasking during periods of time and practice extreme focus. To do this right, you will need to anticipate potential distractions and head them off at the pass. Find the right work space; clear away all other projects; turn off your phone (seriously!); bring your headphones. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish in one hour of extreme focus.

3. Chunk it down

Assuming the idea you are pursuing is an ambitious one, making it happen will be a process. Spend time planning out this process before you dive into the work.

  • What are the key outcomes you need to achieve?
  • What intermediate goals (perhaps weekly or monthly) do you need to set?
  • Is there a critical sequence to the work?
  • Is there a key outside resource that you need to arrange or schedule?

I remember the first time I ran a marathon. The concept of running 26 miles was a bit over-whelming. Since an endurance feat is often a test of mental toughness, I had to forget about the whole 26 miles and just focus on hitting the next milestone (e.g., the first 10k, the half-way point, get to the 20 mile mark). Ultimately, you reach a place where you really can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that becomes energizing at a time when you likely need the boost.

4. Time-block your way to success

A time block is an appointment you book with yourself to work on a specific project. This has been one of the most liberating practices I have adopted. To time-block, designate a predetermined amount of time to work on your idea. It may only be 30 minutes, but at least you know that you are going to make as much progress as you can in that 30 minutes. You don’t have to fret over that fact that you didn’t finish everything. The two keys to time-blocks are 1) having enough of them to realistically achieve your overall objective and 2) maintaining extreme focus during your time-blocks.

With your busy life, it might feel like you have absolutely no time to work on your idea. Before giving up, audit your calendar, give up multitasking, chunk it down, and time-block. I think you’ll surprise yourself at the capacity you’ll uncover.