February is National Time Management Month. I’m not sure this calls for an actual celebration, but it is a good time to think about how effectively you are managing yours.
We all have the same amount of time in our day, it all depends on how we use it – I know, you’ve definitely heard that one before. It doesn’t hurt to have a good reminder, never mind a whole month dedicated to it.
Lately, I have tried to be more intentional in choosing my words about being busy, too busy, so busy, crazy busy. It started to occur to me that these phrases have become way too common and often are part of a typical greeting. “Hey, nice to see you, how are you?” “Good…busy, super busy!” In being more intentional I’ve tried to be conscious of my use of these “busyisms” and not let them define me or my day.
Recently, I came across a social media motivational meme that made me laugh, but also gave me pause.
“You have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyoncé.”
One of the (many) differences between myself and Beyoncé is how we manage our time. Beyoncé probably has helpers, assistants, etc, that help her manage what life throws at her. But let’s be honest, at some point she was probably feeling a little overwhelmed and decided she needed help, so she hired an assistant. If you are like me, you are not there yet…you can’t afford a personal assistant, and frankly, you probably don’t need one. Using some time management best practices may be just what you need.
Plan Your Week
Start your week off in control. Take some time Sunday evening, or Monday (that’s my personal preference), to look at the week ahead. Really dive into the week and try to get a complete picture. If you have meetings, remember to plan for time to prep, or travel to those meetings. Don’t forget time for follow-up after. Accommodate for commitments that might not be a meeting, or event. Things like deadlines, project check-ins, or a promise to a family member or coworker need to be accounted for.
Take Control of Your To Do List
Once you have mapped out the week then overlay your to do list. Be realistic in what you can accomplish with the time you have. If you have three meetings on Wednesday, then add in the time for prep, follow up, travel. It helps to think critically about what else you can fit into that day. Don’t intentionally set yourself up for a stressful day.
Set Goals or Intentions
When you look back on the week, what are the things that are going to make you feel that it’s been a successful/productive week? Use those things to formulate your goals, and make sure they align with your plan, and your to do list. If adding five new prospects to your pipeline is one of your weekly goals, and you don’t see any time to actually prospect this week…either the goal or your plan are out of alignment. You can choose a new goal, revise your plan for the week, or revisit your to do list in order to make it happen.
Daily planning can be just as important as weekly planning. Take a look at your day plan, does it still hold true? If it does, that’s amazing! But a lot of times it needs some work and this is where daily priorities come in. Just like you visualize your successful week, you can visualize your successful day and prioritize accordingly. I use the rule of three – three top priority, three secondary priority, and three more nice to haves. I find this helpful to keep me on track in case I get blocked from accomplishing one of my top priorities, or if I am lucky enough to get them all done and still have time in my day. Having those secondary priorities identified keeps me from going down a rabbit hole of what to do next.
Saying No, or Saying Yes
One of the biggest benefits of having a well planned day is that you are more capable of making the decision to say yes or no to the things that inevitably come up during your day. Can you add something else to your day? Great! If you can’t, that’s okay too. If a definitive no is not an option, then set the expectation as to when you can take care of it. Weigh it against your list of priorities, and readjust accordingly.
Don’t Forget about Downtime
Just as important as a well structured day is remembering that downtime and self-care have their place in your busy schedule. A good self-care ritual worked into your day will help your overall physical, emotional, and mental health. If you find that you are too busy to take care of you, then an effective time management plan may be just what you need to get your priorities in order.
#timemanagement #Nationaltimemanagementmonth #goalsetting #organizedpriorities #productivity #weeklplanning #intentions #planning