I work with clients every week to help them maximize their time. We talk about strategies and practices they can use to get their work and obligations done more easily and quickly. And even then, they often come back and ask, But, how do I make it all work? How do I preserve my time? How do I make sure other people respect my time?
These are important questions – and given the unique circumstances Covid19 has presented us with – maximizing our time is even more of a priority.
If you are chalk-full of time management strategies, but continue to feel overworked and overwhelmed, here are three ideas that may help you gain more control. They include creating your time philosophy, activating time policies and towing your own time party line.
Let’s talk about your time philosophy. Most of us don’t take the time to think deeply about our time. But if you want to maximize your time it’s crucial you know the answers to the following questions: How do you view your time? What do you want from your time? How do you want to spend your time? How do you want to feel as you spend your time? Your answers to these questions will help you form your time philosophy.
My time philosophy is, “I’m better when I’m rested, focused and clear”.
Here are some others I’ve heard:
- I make the most of my time,
- My work time and home time don’t overlap,
- I make time for me,
- I have the freedom to choose how I spend my time,
- To waste time is to waste life.
Without a time philosophy, my calendar can quickly grow gangly and out of control, and I can find myself facing busier days, working longer hours, and quickly feeling tired and burned-out. As you can imagine, that way of working doesn’t support my coaching client work, where I’m at my best when I’m fresh, focused and completely present.
What is your time philosophy?
Once you have a philosophy, you can craft your time policies. Your time policies are the decisions you make about how you’ll use your time, what boundaries you’ll set, and what you will and will not agree to.
One time policy I’ve had for well over 15 years, is that I don’t work on Fridays. When my kids were little, I took Fridays to volunteer in their classrooms. Now that they’re grown, I use Fridays to attend my favorite writing group. By honoring this policy, I’m able to focus on and attend to the task that doesn’t always get my attention during the week– writing. On Friday, no work, just writing. If someone wants to schedule a meeting on Friday, I offer other days I’m available to meet. When you take control and honor your time policies, you’ll find that you have enough time to focus on what’s important to you.
More policy examples I’ve heard clients set:
- I don’t schedule meetings before 9 or after 4pm,
- I turn my computer off until the kids are in bed,
- Never open my email before planning the day.
What policies could you set around your time?
Now that you have a philosophy and policies around your time, let’s focus on your party line. Your party line is a sentence you repeat so often that it rolls off your tongue easily and effortlessly.
My party line is, if it’s not on the calendar it’s not going to happen. Here are some other examples of party lines that I have heard from clients:
- Every agenda needs to have an objective,
- Before we meet we need to know the outcome,
- We only meet if everyone is present,
- We never double book our meetings.
What is your party line?
Maximizing your time is a challenge in many ways and it is not common practice. But when you master maximizing your time, you’re the one in control of your time and how you use it.
If you’d like more strategies to help maximize your time, download my special publication The Myth of Time Management HERE. And, if you enter Coupon Code MYTHBONUS you’ll get it for free! 😉
Have a great week!