Do you ever feel that you have more demands on your time than you have ever had before? You are working on getting more done with less time and sometimes things are falling through the cracks impacting your productivity and performance. You need to start guarding your time and treating it as a commodity or treasure. Time is not something you get back. By guarding your time, you can focus on what is important to you. What is your biggest priority right now? Are you spending the majority of your time focused on this area? Each day you should be focused on your priority or what Brian Tracy refers to as “Eat that Frog” – doing the hardest thing first. If you get the hardest thing done first, you will feel accomplished and get many other tasks done. If you only accomplished the one BIG thing, you accomplished a BIG thing and not too beat yourself up.
Keep a Time Log
People are often unaware of where their time goes. Complete a time log for the next 3-5 days. Keep track of where you are spending your time and how long a typical task takes. By track your time, you will identify where time is used purposefully and whether is it wasted. According to Parkinson’s Law explained on Wikipedia, the law is “an adage that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If you give yourself 20 minutes to file, you will fill the 20 minutes. If you block off 3 hours you will fill up the 3 hours. Blocking time allows you fill the time allotted.
Focus on What IS Important
Time blocking allows you to focus on what is important to you during a specific time frame. Get rid of the to-do list and put the items on the list in your calendar. Suddenly, you make them your commitments. Items you place importance to. Assign tasks to a particular block of time. Be realistic with your time; we often underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete a task. Organize your errands to get things done in one block of time so you can dedicate a big block of time to things that require more of your attention.
Be Intentional with Your Time
At the beginning and end of each day, allow for 15-20 minutes of planning and reflection time. If you are always going from one task to the next, you are missing out on having time to vision where you want to be and the lifestyle you want. Block off the time you want off for long weekends or summer or family vacations. When you do some forward planning, you can create the lifestyle you want and work towards a goal. Email tends to be something we react to because it is usually what others want from us versus what we need from them. Block off time to attend to emails. Communicate your business hours. People often think because you work from home you must not be working and if you are you have the flexibility to run errands and take care of extra requests. You may even put in your email messaging that you check email at certain times of the day and if you are required outside of these times that a person should phone. You may also consider blocking off your hardest work for when you feel you do your best work – morning, afternoon, or evening. Don’t forget to block off leisure time too, otherwise, it tends to be pushed to the side.
Put Your Oxygen Mask on First
Remember the safety advice announced at the beginning of your flight – put your own oxygen mask on first. You cannot help other people if you are not taking care of you. Schedule in date nights with your spouse/partner and separate ones with each of your children as well as family time. It is more about quality time versus quantity of time. It is too easy to get caught up in over scheduling everyone that you cannot even have one family meal together.
Turn off your cell phones or shut down your social media apps and email and app notifications. You can easily give away your time surfing the internet or checking out what everyone else on social media is doing. Keep your office space free from clutter and other distractions.
Be careful not to squeeze too much into your day. Be realistic with your SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). Time expands to what we allow. Allow for some flexibility as we know life happens and we need some time built in to not react but to respond with intention. Keep sticky notes in hand to jot down thoughts and reminders so you can capture fleeting thoughts and get back to them. It is best to capture the idea while it is at the forefront.
Start blocking your time with intention to get to the success you desire versus sabotaging it. It is your time – protect it and use it carefully. Put a dollar value on your time and you may start to value on it even more. Wasted time is wasted money, time, and attention if not used with purpose.
How important are your goals?
DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. Her writing has been published in a variety of print and online magazines. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. Sign up the Success Secrets Newsletter and get your free e-book download today! www.debrakasowski.com