I generally have a pretty stacked deck of things to do on any given day. My advisory level involvement with Adventure Valley, my role as a Board member of the Barcelona chapter of Entrepreneurs Organization, mother of three, committed gym girl, life partner to an awesome guy, Solopreneur at Radtagz and certified leadership coach & Kolbe Index consultant. I wear several hats on any given day, and work hard to balance it all with grace (some days, there ain’t no grace and I’m ok with that!)
For those of you who are familiar with the Kolbe A Index, my numbers are 6-3-8-3.
For those not familiar, deciphering the code means simply, that I am not instinctively someone who organizes and sorts information. It is not part of my MO (modus operandi) to organize my self and follow process. You would see this at my desk, in my home, and it would be super obvious when you look through my written agenda book (yes!! I still use the written kind, AND the calendar on my phone – I NEED BOTH to keep me on track).
As someone who does not naturally organize herself I have had to adapt systems and build the habits that allow me to function, and more than function, to thrive.
If I can be of service to you by sharing my strategies, I am delighted for the opportunity!
Time management skills are crucial, especially for busy parents. We all have the same number of hours available to us in a day, but some people are able to accomplish more in 24 hours than everyone else. The key, as I see it, is to be in controlling that time instead of letting it control you.
If you want to know if you!re any good at time management, see the Eisenhower Matrix and start by asking yourself these questions:
Once you’ve evaluated your current skills, we can make a plan to improve. It!s not easy, but like any skills you work on, you can get better at time management. Successful people utilize a variety of time management skills to boost productivity and effectiveness in their personal and professional lives. Know what this means? So can you!
To be very transparent, it took me close to a year to build the habits I have today, and I am still improving! So the first thing I want to share with you is grace yourself the time to build the habit, trying to flip a switch overnight is almost certainly NOT going to work. And the other thing I am sure of, is that you can do this. If I can do it (remember, I don’t have the organization instinct in me!) you can do it too!
Ok! Enough pre-amble, let’s do this! Below is what I worked on in year one of realizing my time management (lack of) skills were in need of attention. I encourage you to start here. However long it takes you to build these habits, be accepting, grace yourself the time, it will happen if you keep at it.
#1 Develop a morning routine.
Steal some hours back by getting up a little earlier than the time you wake up now. If you wake up at 6am, wake up at 5:45am. Those extra 15 minutes will be well spent when you have some quiet time to think through what you want to accomplish to day.
#2 Make yourself a task list – this is what it could look like:
– Take kids to school (8:30am)
– Finish project proposal (9:30 – 11:00am)
– Meet with colleague to review proposal (11:30 – 12:00)
– Take a mid-day walk/get to the gym/meet friend for lunch
– Respond to all urgent and important emails – 40 minutes (note the words urgent and important)
– Respond to all urgent and important phone messages – 40 minutes
– Send (insert name) an ‘I’m thinking about you’ message (yup, always on my list!! Schedule in your love notes too – our connection with others is what brings us the most joy).
Well you get the idea! The more you can list out what your goals and needs are for the day, and the more specific you can be, the more likely you are to make it happen.
#3 Cross each item off as you do it!
Legit, this is my favorite action! Crossing the items off my list gives me a sense of joy and ac complishment. Celebrate these little successes. It feels good! Crossing off your items helps reinforce the habit because it gets your endorphins pumping every time! And those endorphins are addictive.
#4 Allocate time each evening to review what lays ahead this week as the urgent but not important things. If you need to adjust tomorrow’s To Do list, now’s the time to note it.
Note these in your calendar, notes, agenda book – whatever tool you use to stay on track. This is helpful when you are making that to do list every morning. From the urgent but not important list, you will add tasks each day that allow for the time needed to cross these off the list too. For example, in my life, urgent but not important, is writing a monthly blog for Adventure Valley. When creating my daily to do lists, I can allocate 20 or 30 minutes each day towards the completion of this task. The line item will read 20 Minutes AVDC Blog. But in the actual week that the deadline is approaching, on one of those days it will read complete AVDC Blog as it is now an urgent and important task.
#5 (warning! you’re not going to like this one) Turn off your phone, turn off your notifications.
You are going to think there is no way in the world you can do this! I know. It happened to me. It took a really really long time and way more will power than I have ever had to exercise. What this is doing is removing big distractions. Put your cell phone away. Turn notifications off on your computer(s). Let others know you are in focus mode and get sh*t done.
And this is where we stop. The 5 ways to get on top of your time management game and make your days and weeks more efficient, more productive and less stressful (and even a little more romantic!) are the foundations I put in place to get myself organized.
This share would not be complete if I didn’t highlight the common pitfalls of time management, so before I wish you well on your journey let me share these quickly.
Pitfall 1: Not making a to do list. Any kind of to do list is better than no to do list. If you don’t know what needs to be done, you can’t possibly effectively get it done.
Pitfall 2: Multi tasking. Yup, I know we are told we should be amazing multi-takers as parents. I don’t buy it. Multi-tasking means splitting your time and energy at any given time to accomplish more than one thing. Our brains are not equipped to perform two tasks that both require high level brain function. Sure you can drive and listen to the radio at the same time. But driving and having a phone conversation is much riskier as you have to concentrate on both. Make sense? Further, and this will come as a shocker, multitasking can even LOWER your IQ.
Pitfall 3: Not being realistic in how much time you need to complete each task. Can you create the project proposal in one hour? Does it only take one hour to get to the gym have a great workout and get back to your workday? If you don’t know how long things actually take you to do, you simply can’t effectively manage your time or prioritize.
That’s all folks!! You’ve got the basics, and you know what to look out for! Implement just one new action from above, and you’re officially on your way to better time management.
Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you!
Want to learn more about the Kolbe A™ Index and how it can help you be more self aware of your strengths and use them to your advantage? Or how it can help identify your child’s natural instincts and how the affects their learning style? Reach out. I’m here for you! Robyn@vervconsulting.com