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Stop managing your time. Start managing your focus.

values, routine, focus

We all have the same 168 hours in a week, yet we all struggle with focus and finding time. This seems to be a constant battle in our modern society. You know exactly what I am talking about don’t you?

But believe me when I say it…

We all have time.

Even when we are busy, we have time. What happens when your boiler breaks down? You make time.

But how do we find time for what matters the most?  Our blog post below, details exactly how to do just that!

When we actively do this, we can start to build the lives we want in the time we have.

This guest post was written by Julia O’Grady. Julia is President & Owner of ITM Events for Corporate & special event planning. She has big vision, fresh ideas and a proven track record in the events industry. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis. You can learn more about Julia on her webpage or by following her on Instagram or Facebook



Stop managing your time. Start managing your focus.

by Julia O’Grady


It has honestly taken me years to learn how to manage my schedule. I am a woman that owns two companies, a wife of a firefighter that works shift work, and I am the mom of two teenage girls who have great social lives and who play competitive and school sports. I am a friend, a sister, a daughter and all those other things too.

focus, routine, values, family

Me and my family enjoying quality time

My schedule has been a huge difficulty for me for many years.

I have spent days in tears because I am so overwhelmed. Hours have been spent, fighting with my husband about things that need to get done but neither of us can find the time to do them. I have missed important moments in my girls’ lives because I was too busy trying to answer an email when I should have been watching them sink their first 3-pointer in a game.

My life literally changed over night when I came across a post on one of my many social media platforms that I tirelessly try to manage every day.

“Stop managing your time. Start managing your focus.”


There it was! The answer to my problem.

It literally stopped me in my tracks. I sat for a moment and thought about it, my eyes filled with tears and the stress I was carrying in my shoulders lifted.

I pulled out a note book and sat at the table and thought…… What are my priorities? What should I be focusing on? My list was good but too long. I knew that if I was going to make a change I needed to be strict with myself.

What were the three things that were the most important to me? My final version of the list was and continues to be this:

1. My personal mental and physical wellbeing.
2. My husband and my girls.
3. The success of my company.

I printed out the picture and added my list to the bottom of the page and taped it up on the back of our bathroom door. Everyday, several times a day, I would look at that list and remind myself of what I needed to focus on.

My personal mental and physical wellbeing

This could mean anything. To me it means if I need to go for a walk, I do. If I want to spend the night reading a book, I do. Going to the gym is really important to me and I make time for that.

My husband and my girls

There is no one more important in my life then my husband and my two girls. I go out of my way to spend quality time with each of them. My husband and I have date nights all the time. I do my very best to never miss a basketball practice or game for either of my girls. We go on family hikes, we play board games, we plan dinner and movie nights. And we often just sit and chat in the kitchen or in our gorgeous little sunroom.


The success of my company

Yes that is singular, and yes I did say I own two companies. I own a consulting company that makes me money. I also own an event planning company that is my passion. My goal is to make my passion my every day. I am grateful for my consulting company because it keeps a roof over our heads and often helps to keep my passion alive but if I could do just one job every day, my event planning company would be it. So my focus is to do whatever it takes to make it a success. I work long hours, I read business books, I take courses…whatever it takes.

So how do I fit all that in my day you ask?

Like I mentioned, that took forever to figure out but I’ve got it now.

Don’t get me wrong,I am not perfect, far from it.

Every couple of weeks my schedule goes awry but when things fall apart I know what it takes to get back on track. I focus and get it done.

Here’s how I build my schedule:

focus, routine, valuesEvery Sunday I sit down with our family schedule and my business schedule.

  1. First, I schedule in any meetings and appointments that have already been set for that week.
  2. Then I look at our family schedule and put in all the family commitments I have. Because of my husband’s schedule I have to work around his shifts so sometimes I have to make sure I am home to pick my girls up, make dinner or take them to practice. And other times I just refuse to miss my girls’ moments and I make the time in my schedule to sit at their practice and games.
  3. And lastly, I build in my work schedule.

I know I said that my mental and physical heatlh was first on my list and it is. But I schedule this part last because I can fit it in wherever I want. On the days I work at my consulting company I schedule gym time in on my way to work. On other days I make time in the evening to go for a walk or whatever it is I feel I need that day.

See an example schedule here.

In order for your schedule to be successful you have to plan every minute of your day.

Don’t forget drive time from one task to the next and time to eat and time to sleep. When you schedule like that you will see that either you can fit in more than you thought or you’ll see that you are trying to do too much in one day.

routine, focus, values

I am really grateful that I work for myself because it gives me full control of my time. If I need the entire day off to sit at school with my daughter for a basketball tournament then I can do that. That often means I have to work all evening to catch up but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make to be there with my girls, because they come first.

I have learned that my schedule changes all the time and I have to be ok with that. I really like routine but it doesn’t work with my life.

So the schedule I create on Sundays is essentially my draft schedule for the week. Every evening before I go to sleep I pull out my phone and review the schedule for the next day and tweak as needed. I add in anything I didn’t get done today, I adjust for last minute changes, and if I just don’t feel like doing what I had originally scheduled – I change it!

The key is to make sure that anything you are scheduling fits within your chosen priorities.


Making time for things that are not important to you, not being able to say no, those are the things that cause stress and make you feel overwhelmed.


Stick to your priorities and schedule your time properly then suddenly you will feel like you have tons of time and that feeling of being overwhelmed will disappear.

Thanks to Julia for this wonderful post! Why not check out my post below which discusses what having a more balanced life can mean for our future:










If you don’t know your true values, I suggest sitting down with a notepad and pen just like Julia did!





Simple Joy was founded by Hayley Forster, a Wellness & Lifestyle Coach. Hayley is an advocate of intentional living, with a passion in helping others simplify their lives in order to find their ideal lifestyle full of contentment, creativity and authenticity!

41 thoughts on “Stop managing your time. Start managing your focus.

    • So true Amanda. We have been trained to think that “everything is important” when really, if it’s not a priority in our life it simply is not as important as our priorities. So many things on my to-do list really can wait for a rainy day or when I might have a couple extra minutes. My husband really struggles with this. He feels everything has to get done now and often finds himself feeling overwhelmed. I am working really hard with him to get him to understand his own priorities and how to set a schedule so he can enjoy the little things in life.

  • This is such a good reminder for me right now. Things are just crazy with school starting and my commission schedule and project schedule for my art business has exploded in the past couple of weeks. One of the things I’m looking into to help me manage everything (and keep my focus straight) is bullet journalling. We’ll see if that helps! In the meantime, I will use this statement as a mantra! Thanks for sharing!

    • Amelia, can you explain to me what bullet journalling is, I have never heard of that. For now, make your list of priorities and every day make sure you make time for the important things. Leave yourself enough time every day to tackle each of your priorities. Once I set my schedule for the day and I also use a timer to keep me on track. So, for example if I have set 30 minutes in my schedule to do some bookkeeping, I will set a timer for 30 minutes so that I don’t let 2 hours pass by doing that and then throw off my entire schedule. I can always come back to a task if I have extra time left at the end of the day. You will also find that by setting time aside every day for your priorities you will be able to relax and recharge guilt free because you know you have time set aside for each of your priorities.

  • Yes! I always ask myself “Is this in line with my core values?” and that helps me determine if what I’m doing is a waste of time or getting me closer to my goals.

    • It’s so true isn’t it! We try to be everything to everyone and do as much as possible in one day. Leaving us to not enjoy our day which is not good. Once you know your priorities and can focus our limited time on those priorities life gets so much more meaningful.

  • We all say: I don’t have time. But it’s not really that. So true!!

    We just aren’t prioritizing it. I like the idea of managing our focus!

    • Every time I start to feel overwhelmed I realize it is likely because I have not taken the time to lay out my day and my schedule. As soon as I take a few minutes to do that the anxiety of trying to fit everything in disappears. Suddenly you realize exactly how much time you have and don’t have and what the real priorities are.

    • You will notice such a difference. Society puts so much pressure on us to be everything to everyone and its just not possible. We need to look out for ourselves first and make what is important to us our first priority.

  • I love to plan and schedule, but I am the worst at scheduling self care! I plan for everything for everyone else, but always seem to leave myself out of the equation. These are fantastic tips to prioritize the REALLY important things!

    • That should be the first part you schedule. Take care of you first then everything else will flow better from there. Try doing that for your schedule next week and stick to it for one week then let me know how it went.

  • I so needed to read this post today! My husband and I say all the time that people have time for the things that they want to have time for, meaning that they make time for the important things in their lives. Yet I am always feeling like you described–like there’s never enough time to get everything done. I love the idea of making a list of my priorities and posting it somewhere that I can see it often.

      • Remember to keep your list small and focussed otherwise you’ll have a list of 25 priorities and that’s not reasonable. And when you make a schedule for your day you can be realistic about what you actually have time for and what you don’t.

  • wow i was working for myself until just recently and found it challenging to manage my time. this is a great resource. you are very disciplined! and where do you go to skate outdoors on a path like that?! it looks amazing! former figure skater here.

  • Great tips here … I need to put more of a priority on being present with my children instead of trying to get business stuff done at the same time. It’s a work in progress, but it’s getting better. I am learning to find “me” time where I can focus solely on that when they’re sleeping or at school, then dedicate time to them when we’re all home together.

  • This is such great advice. I struggle with time management and everyday and every year throws the schedule off. I find focuses is an issue, especially when working from home with little ones around.

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