“I really need to focus on time management,” says one client. “I don’t have enough time,” says another. “I meant to spend time reading and reflecting. I put it in my calendar, but…” says a third. “Can we talk about my time management?” asks a fourth.
Recently it seems as if all my clients have decided that the coaching they really need is around their time and tasks – how to get ahead, how to catch up, how to handle the fact that they seem to have, always, too much to do and too little time to do it all.
The fact is, we all have the same twenty-four hours in a day, and most of us seem to have more than twenty-four hours worth of things to fill up that time. And that’s before we sleep, eat, exercise and stretch our minds and our bodies, and have a good time.
So what do we do?
- I offer each of my clients a link to our Time Mastery Profile.
- I strongly suggest they read the Harvard Business Review article Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time (and our article, Ten Steps to Doing More With the Time You Have).
- I share Stephen Covey’s Urgent/Important matrix with them.
- I have them clarify their values, and then match up their daily (and weekly) activities with their values.
- We brainstorm what they’re doing that they can get out of, what they can delegate and whom they can delegate to, what they really need to be doing that they’re not. We determine if they have more energy in the morning, afternoon, or evening – and then line their day up with their energy fluctuations.
I do all this and more.
I share as many resources as I can with my clients – such as this Fast Company article about the productivity guru, David Allen, and Unstuck advice on 15 ways to stay focused in a distracted world, both of which you should look at.
I suggest simple (but not so easy to do) tips:
- Don’t multitask
- Make specific time for emails – don’t respond throughout the day
- Don’t start your day with emails
- Stay on task when you’re on task – stepping away to answer “just one” text, IM, or email may cost you up to twenty minutes to get refocused
- Schedule reflection/thinking time – and schedule it out of office, so that you’re less likely to be interrupted
- Make time for downtime – you can only really work for about 90 minutes before your brain needs a break
I propose and provide all this and more. And I partner with my clients to help them find their best way out of their quagmire. To learn to say “No” when necessary, to manage their own and other’s expectations, to make the most of the time they have.
And always to find time to laugh, breathe, and refresh.
How do you manage your time and commitments? Click here to comment.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
For support in doing more with the time you have (and enjoying it along the way), contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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