Kick-Start Guide to Having More Time
I'm having coffee with a successful, smart and savvy businesswoman. She shares that she’s been feeling out of focus, as if she’s mindlessly drifting through the week. She’s struggling to get a hold of her schedule and at the end of each week she feels as if she hasn’t accomplished what she planned for.
I'm shocked. This woman who appears to have it all together is having a difficult time with her schedule?
I too had a successful full-time career, traveled for work, started a side business, taught fitness classes, stayed married and raised young children. And did it all with sanity and happiness (most of the time).
How? My greatest strategy was to design my week.
This is not a new idea. It’s not even a complicated idea. However, most people don’t take the time because they say they don’t have enough time [insert ironic tone]. But in exchange for about 45 minutes of designing your week, you’ll receive hours back over the seven days. Not to mention reduced stress and a feeling of accomplishment.
The most difficult part is just getting started so I’ve outlined a kick-start guide to help you.
Choose your Tool(s). It could be a whiteboard, calendar, email, or organizer. Whichever works best for you based upon your lifestyle.I use all of these because I tend to over communicate, and by doing so, there’s rarely a time where something is missed.
Build the Foundation. Because you should sleep 6-8 hours, you now have 16-18 hours remaining in the day. Begin by writing in your work hours and major commitments, such as kids’ activities, meetings, doctor’s appointments and celebrations.
Block Schedule. Within your work hours, use block scheduling. Morning hours should be reserved for projects that require maximum brain capacity and creativity, when you’re experiencing peak mental energy. Then in the afternoon, when there’s mental fatigue, take care of non-essentials, such as email and other tasks.
Brain Dump. Create a master list of all tasks that need to be completed for the week. Where do you need to go, what do you need to buy, who do you need to call, which research needs to be completed?
Take Care of Three. Around your schedule’s foundation, place three of the tasks from your master list across each day. Be mindful of each day’s uniqueness.Do not place a time intensive task on a day in which your foundation already consumes more time than usual.
Include You. With the foundation and three tasks in place, find a minimum of 15 minutes each day for you. This should be used for exercise, meditation, a call to a friend or a participating in a hobby. It’s important to schedule these activities, otherwise, you’re likely to forget or simply believe there’s not enough time to include these.
Plan the Meals. If you don’t plan all of your meals, at a minimum, plan out dinners for the week. Doing so ahead of time allows for creativity, shopping in advance and less stress in the evening. An extra tip is to plan dinners according to the evening’s activities.
Get Creative. Still not able to fit most of it in? Now’s the time to get creative.Schedule calls during commute times. Fit in exercise while at your kids’ practices. Delegate tasks to others.
The more you design a well thought out and structured week, the more you’ll accomplish. And if you believe you don’t have enough time to design, you’ll simply waste that time mindlessly drifting through the motions. It’s your choice.
About the Contributor
Colleen Hauk is the co-author of the bestselling book, Women Who Ignite, a certified professional success coach, speaker and creator of YOU SO NEWTM, a program designed to coach individuals to achieve professional success while experiencing a fulfilling personal life. She holds a BS in Human Services, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and she is a certified Les Mills BodyCombat instructor.
All of this coupled with over a decade of corporate leadership, training, and consultative selling, Colleen shares her skills and personal experiences in a unique way to authentically connect and empower high-performers to ‘have it all’ without losing it all.
Married to her supportive husband, Matt, they live in Southern California where both were born and raised. They enjoy life with their beautiful children, Jordan, Ethan, and Reese, camping, hosting fun-filled evenings with friends, and spending quality time with their nearby extended family.
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