5 Steps to Become a Master of Your Time

By Kelly Elizabeth Scott Leadership Coach & Story Strategist

For a long time, I lived life like one long to-do list. I had all these great things I wanted to accomplish and these dreams I wanted to move towards, but somehow I got stuck on Facebook, Instagram, or that article I just had to read. I wanted to take my life and body of work to that next level, but found myself getting lost in the hustle, working every waking minute trying to keep up with the big dogs, and sitting smack dab in the middle of information overload.

I optimized for nothing and so I accomplished nothing.

When we learn to master our time, and optimize for what we most want in any given season, we can leave information overload and overwhelm and step into empowered action almost immediately.

5 Steps to Become a Master of Your Time

  1. Shift your mentality.

Before we can leave overwhelm, we’ve got to be unavailable for overwhelm. When I first sat down with my Business & Leadership Coach, Tara Newman, she listened to me complain for at least 30 minutes about everything I had to do, all the responsibilities on my plate, and how nothing was lining up to my standards.

When I finally finished unloading and took a deep breath, Tara looked me square in the eyes and said, “You are not available for overwhelm. Period.”

The first step to mastering our time is shifting our mentality. We are not available for overwhelm, because not everything is important.

I host a weekly Talk Show, The Fearless Footprint Talk Show, and have the opportunity to chat with incredible women leaders who are doing big things in the world. When I sat down with one of these women, the Founder of the REBOOT Method Shauna Mackenzie, Shauna brought up this mindset as the key to essentialism, or to doing less but better.

Shauna said, “ We have to eliminate this idea that everything is important. That is such a powerful statement because we have these mini anxieties about things that might slip through the crack. The bottom line is that stuff is not {that} important. We need to baseline the things we really need to get done to keep moving forward combined with what we really want to happen. Everything should pass through a filter. When I get asked to do something with my time or involvement, it passes through a few questions. Is it targeting my audience? Is it something within my zone of genius? Is it something that brings value to my business? If it passes all three {filters}, then it’s a yes. If it doesn’t, then it’s a no.”

When we filter every decision and every opportunity in front of us based on this new mentality that not everything is important, we can cut out distraction and re-focus our mental energy towards only the essential.

  1. Clear the clutter.

Now that we’ve got a new belief in place, we have to take action to support it. We want to eliminate the unnecessary and unimportant by unfollowing on social media, unsubscribing in our email inbox, and deleting on our to-do list!

This is one of my most favorite exercises, because all we have to do is go through our email inbox and unsubscribe (the button at the bottom of the email) from everything but 1 or 2 newsletters. We only want keep our absolute favorite newsletter and the one most relevant to the season we’re in right now. (In other words, the one most relevant to what we most want.)

Once we’re done in our inbox, we hop onto social media and unfollow (at the top of the bio on Instagram or by clicking the arrow on Facebook) the majority, if not all, of the people we follow for ideas, tips, and strategies.

{Hint: Make sure to also unfollow any profiles that leave you feeling overwhelmed, not good enough, behind, or just plain crappy. Say goodbye to any profiles that you feel like you’re struggling to “keep up with” or the ones you find yourself comparing to.}

As you unsubscribe and unfollow, please know that the majority of the people you follow do have great ideas, tips, and inspiration. But, those tips and ideas will always be there and there will always be more. For now, give yourself the gift of space in order to figure out what you want, what you believe, and what life and body of work you want to design.

As Marie Forleo says, “If you’re always listening to the shouts of the world, then you’ll never hear the whispers of your soul.”

  1. Define what’s important to you.

Now that you’ve shifted your mindset and cleared the clutter, it’s time to define what is most important to you. One of the women I most admire when it comes to mastering our time and living by design is Katie Den Ouden. Katie is an expert at living, leading, and working by design rather than default.

When chatting on the Talk Show, Katie said, “The first step to living by design is defining what’s important to me. Some people know exactly what they want. Some people feel so numb to what they want. So, sometimes we go by the opposite…by not this. {And} If you don’t define in crystal clear detail what you want, then it’s really hard to get there. It’s like saying ‘I want to go on a road trip, but I don’t know where. I’ll just start driving.’ And, then we drive in circles and never get there. So, it’s asking the crucial details of…these are the snacks I want, these are the people, and these are the pit stops. Envision yourself as you’re going through it, like a movie. {Then} Nine times out of ten, where I see people get stalled is…’Ok, this is what I want, but how do I get it?’. When you figure out what you want to create, the key question is: ‘What do I need in order for this to happen?’. This is the one question you can ask for anything to gain momentum.”

  • What do you want?
  • What do you need in order for that to happen?

Once you’ve detailed what you want and what you need for that to happen, it’s time to take everything on your plate and filter for only the essential.

  • Start with two brain dumps.

Brain dump everything you are currently doing for your work, everything you are currently doing at home, and everything you think you should be doing at home and work. Get all your to-do’s and all the “I should do’s” out on paper.

Then, grab a blank sheet of paper and brain dump everything you want in terms of your life and body of work. This should be easy, since we just defined it!

Write down all the outcomes you desire and all the goals you have for both your personal life (including growth, relationships, etc.) and work life (including dreams, projects, launches, salary, title, responsibilities, etc.).

Once you have these two lists, go through the items on your first list (the task list) and ask yourself one by one:

  • Will this make the highest possible contribution towards what I want?
  • What is this on a scale of 1-10 of importance?
  • Does this support what I most want?
  • If it does not, am I willing to let it go, so that I can focus on the essential?

Once you have your final list with only the essential tasks still left, you’re ready to batch. As defined by Katie in her latest program, The Authentic Launch, “batching” is lumping together similar tasks and then scheduling them back-to-back to decrease distraction and increase productivity {and happiness}.” Now that you have room to breathe, and know what’s essential on your to-do list, let’s batch!

  • How can you group daily tasking so that you are doing similar items on the same days?
  • How can you arrange your work schedule, so that you optimize for what you want andmaximize your time?

For example, here’s my (rough) weekly work schedule:

Monday: Content Creation

Tuesday: Coaching

Wednesday: Talk Show

Thursday: Coaching & Networking

Friday: Personal & Biz Growth

This is a rough outline of my week, but you can see I aim to group my top business tasks into batches. I plan my blog writing, newsletter creation, and social media content for Monday. I plan my one-on-one coaching intensives for Tuesdays, etc.

  1. Learn to receive.

Now that we’ve figured out what we want and what we actually need to have what we want, we’re ready to learn how to receive support.

As Strengths-Based Biz Coach, Julia Wells, said when chatting with me on the Talk Show, “Delegate. Delay. It’s ok to say no. You have to give yourself permission to say no, get clear on what you want, and prioritize…Permission to not be everything, be everywhere, and not do everything? Here it is! This is the message you’ve been waiting for! We have to let go of needing to do everything, so that we can optimize for what we want. Learning how to ask for help is hard, but so rewarding. Think of something right now that you’re putting off or that sounds like the worst thing you could be doing. Then, ask yourself how you can get support around that.”

  • What task on your essential list are you putting off or sounds like the worst thing you could be doing?
  • How can you get support around that?
  1. Repeat regularly.

The hard part is over, but that doesn’t mean mastering our time is a one and done thing. My dear friend and Conscious Coach, Cory Thomsen, once said, “Balance is not about checking a box and it being a static thing. Just like when you stand on one leg, you have all these adjustments you have to make in order to stay in balance. So, that’s how I look at my weeks and how I intentionally schedule things in my planner that keep me in check.”

Steps 1-4 will be the most difficult the first time we move through this process. However, we must continually re-check in with ourselves, our wants, and our to-do’s to ensure we are still optimizing for what we want!


About the Author


Kelly is a Leadership & Wellness Coach helping ambitious women dreamers live, lead, and be well. She’s an expert at helping you create the life and body of work that both makes you come alive and is the footprint you wish to leave in the world. Visit http://www.kellyelizabethscott.com/a-free-gift-for-you.html to download her free guide with the 5 powerful questions you need to ask yourself daily.


Hi there!

I’m Jessica

The wellness work you are doing is needed now more than ever and I created the HEA to help you with the business side of things.

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