I work with clients every week to help them maximize their time. We talk about strategies and practices they can use to to get their work and obligations done easily and quickly. And even then, they often come back and ask, how do I make it work, how do I preserve my time, how do I make sure other people respect the time boundaries I’ve set?
If you are chalk-full of time management strategies and still feel overworked and overwhelmed, here are three ideas that may help you gain more control. They include: philosophy, policies and party line.
Let’s talk about your time philosophy. How do you view your time? What do you want from your time? How do you want to spend your time? These questions help you form your time philosophy. My time philosophy is, “I’m better when I’m rested, focused and clear”.
Here are 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 every day,
- I have the freedom to choose how I spend my time,
- The perfect is the enemy of the good,
- 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 policy I’ve had for over 15 years, is that I don’t work on Fridays. When my kids were little, I took Fridays to volunteer in their classrooms. Today, I use it to attend my favorite weekly writing group. By honoring this policy I’m able to focus on, and attend to, the important 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 that I’m available to meet. When you take control and honor your policies, you’ll find you have enough time to focus on what’s important.
More policy examples my clients have 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?
So now that you have a philosophy and policies around your time, let’s focus on the party line. The party line is a sentence you repeat so often 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 with a time philosophy, policies and a party line gives you back 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 Myths of Time Management HERE. And, if you enter Coupon Code MYTHBONUS you’ll get it for free for a limited time! 😉