Conversations with a Life Coach: Time Management

From mentors, to professional women in our lives, to great thought-leaders, there are many role models to turn to for examples of where we want to go. How we get there is another question. For the next few weeks, we aim to unlock that with help of Coach Colene of Be More Consulting. Every Wednesday, we’ll be bringing you another topic to take your career to the next level. Today, we’re talking time management.

Time IS On Your Side.

Raise your hand if you feel like you’re always running out of time? How often do you feel this? Weekly? Daily? Hourly? I get it! Time is something that can overwhelm us, especially us success-driven, well-rounded women. In 2018, I want you to master your time so you can do the things you want to do. Here are some tips on how:

Learn to manage your energy, not your time.

So, here’s a BIG truth… we all have the same 24-hours in the day. For real, me, you, Oprah… all of us have the same amount of time, but we choose to do things differently. So, if we all have the same time what makes a difference in those who seem to get sh*t done? I think it starts with energy.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned the importance of managing my energy instead of managing my time. What does that mean? Become aware of how much mental and physical energy you have throughout your day to do your planned activities.

For so many of us, the main problem is we forget to factor in our day-to-day feelings. When we ignore the emotions involved, we ignore a huge factor in our capacity to take action. We all know, if we’re not feeling 100% it takes us longer to do even simple task.

Emotions take energy, and energy takes time. Look at how your current life and career affect your energy and plan accordingly. Plan energy building activities after energy draining activities. Take a short walk after the long conference call. Listen to your favorite “get hyped” song (mine’s anything by Beyoncé) after you finished the proposal. Know when you need to create more energy for yourself, and figure out what works best for you.

Audit your time

Energy is one part, but time really is an important piece too. So many of my clients will tell me they don’t have time to work on their goals. I know, we’re all busy, but I also know you have 20 minutes somewhere throughout your day. I’m gonna challenge you to do a time audit. All you need is a piece of paper, pen, and a timer.

Set your timer (I use the one on my phone) for 30 minutes. Then work. At the end of 30 minutes, jot down what you did. Start the timer and work, again. Then jot down what you did. At the end of the day, you’ll get a good glimpse into where your time is going. I normally challenge people to audit for a week.

Then look back. How much time are you spending on social media? How much time are you staring off into space? How much time are you spending in the procrastination station? Gaining awareness of your time, and how you’re spending it is a key to making a change.

Time blocking

I love time blocking! Time blocking is putting like task together so you can work on them more efficiently. On days when I’m nailing my time, I have task like email in a block of time (normally 50 minute chunks). I’ll spend that block of time completely focused on email. Answering emails. Writing emails. Cleaning out emails. Whatever it might be, it’s all related to the same type of task.

Creating dedicated time makes me feel more in control of what I do, instead of being at the mercy of the notification. It also starts to train people not to expect immediate response. I don’t know about you, but I know for me, it’s easy to want to respond to an email as soon as it comes in. The problem is you can spend all day responding to email if you let yourself.

Block the time, then knock it out. PS— I’m using time blocking right now to write this!

Race the clock

I can spend all day cooking a meal on Sundays. Literally, I can go to the store to get the materials, then take a break. Chop veggies, take a break to see what’s on Hallmark. Measure, break to check Instagram. Saute, break to sit on the couch… it goes on and on, and can take me all day just to cook one meal.

But, if I have something else to do, and know I have limited time, I can make three meals in an hour. It’s funny how things will take as much time as you let them. So, create arbitrary time constraints. Then set the timer and get to work. Y’all some Sundays it’s like an episode of Chopped in my kitchen. But I get it all done.

I also like to do something called Power Hour. Power Hour is one hour a day that I work on things that have been lingering on my to-do list. I schedule it like I’d schedule any other meeting, and I make a plan on what I want to accomplish during my Power Hour. I set a clock and get to work. This is different than time blocking, because I might work on a variety of things during my Power Hour and they may not all be related. Sometimes it’s things like scheduling doctors appointments, buying last minute Christmas gifts, or mapping out my next program. Use the clock to your advantage.

We all tend to be naturally competitive, so tap into that, and see just how fast you can get something done.

Eliminate decisions

60,000… the average number of thoughts we have per day. Can you imagine how much time and energy it takes to process all that. One of the things I love helping my clients do is eliminate decisions by creating habits. When you wake up in the morning, your mind starts to go a million miles a minute. Should I work out now, or later? What should I have for breakfast? Do I have to go to the bathroom? What am I going to wear? On and on and on… You’re suffering from decision fatigue. So, why don’t you just make a decision once, and stick with it. Create routine in your life.

I know that sounds boring, but routine creates so much freedom in your work and life. From that structure, you can make better plans, perform better, and create better outcomes.

Instead of wondering every morning if you’ll get up and work out, make the decision to work out in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then when your alarm clock goes off, you don’t even have to question IF… you know that you will.

I know I go to yoga on Tuesday evenings, so it makes it easy to filter out and say no to request that interfere with my yoga practice. I don’t have to make a decision every time, I already made it.

How can you start to eliminate more decisions in your life? Think about your food, wardrobe, activities, etc. Lessen the load, and drop the decisions and create more routines.

Delegate

I can’t overstate the value of delegation. A few years ago, I was working with a business coach, and she asked me why I was still doing $8 an hour jobs, instead of focusing on the $100 an hour jobs. It was a huge wake up call that I was spending my time on the wrong things, and that was taking up all my time.

I know learning to delegate is scary. It means having faith in someone else to do what they say they will do. I know it’s hard to loosen the reigns, but I also know it can make a huge difference in your productivity and your income. The way to start delegating is to think about:

  1. What task you don’t want to do,
  2. What task you aren’t good at, or
  3. What task are not in your zone of genius

Here are some perfect examples of things you can delegate in both your personal and professional life:

Personal—

  • Cleaning
  • Yard Care/ Home Maintenance
  • Finances
  • Child Care/ Pet Care

Professional—

  • Research
  • Emails
  • Anything not confidential
  • Scheduling

You have a lot to do, but don’t feel like you have to do it all. I hope the 2018 is your year to find success in life and career. With these tips, I hope you find the time to go after what you truly want… whatever that may be!

Invaluable advice, Colene! Check out our other conversations with our life coach on topics, like networking and goal setting.

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