When the topic of time and time management comes up there are two common threads. One is, “I don’t have enough time” and secondly, “I have heard all the time management theory but I still don’t have enough time”.
Time management is, however, one of the issues that comes up often in our Business Coaching.
Most people complain about not having enough time in a day and as life seems to get more and more hectic we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get everything done. I believe that we can alleviate this pressure in two ways.
Firstly, plan you days and weeks and secondly, don’t try to do it all.
A simple but very effective way to plan is to use a weekly/monthly calendar which has all the hours in the day showing and then follow theses steps.
1.Fill in all the things you must do during the week. e.g. work meetings, project deadlines, children’s school activities, evening meetings etc. List your most important activities, your high value activities, and schedule those first.
2. List all the things you want to do but are not must do’s. Don’t forget to add in down time to simply relax and recharge your battery.
3. Prioritise this list for the week.
4. Slot these into the spaces not yet filled that will work best for you.
5. Decide if the items that you have no space for are necessary and then either discard them or carry them over to next week.
6. Build into your plan time to do your plan. This may sound obvious but it is important to ensure that your planning becomes a habit and do it at the same time each week.
By following this method you will feel a greater sense of achievement and therefore less stress. You will also be amazed at how much more you can accomplish during the week. Tick them off when you complete each activity as this will give you a sense of achievement.
There are a few points to remember when planning
- Allow some leeway as not everything always goes according to plan and you may have to change it around, but stick to it as far as possible.
- If you don’t get everything in your plan done, don’t worry about them as they will mainly be the less important items and you can carry them forward to the following week.
- If you get things done sooner or quicker than planned, great, take a bit extra downtime or do something that you just enjoy doing.
As you work with this system more and more you will find it takes less and less time and you will be able to fill in your spaces in your plan weeks or even months ahead.
Don’t try to do it all
There is a finite amount of time available each week and the fact is that there will be times when it will just be impossible to do everything you would like to. One reason we do get so stressed is often the pressure, from ourselves and others, to get so much done.
Everyone has a different pace so be careful to work within your pace and not that dictated to you by others. (I am not suggesting you tell your boss to back off because you are working at “your pace”).
However I honestly believe that if you plan better you will be far more productive and if you are still struggling to get this right then give us a call and we can help you through this.