We all know about time management - making lists, getting prioritized, putting the big rocks in first, using some contact management software, on and on and on. The one thing most of us forget:
Our human brains want to play and often our human brains want to do anything but the stuff on our task list!
Are you ready for the challenge?
My challenge to each of you (those with time management issues) is to take on one new activity each week. I warn you, some of these don't sound like time management tasks - more like healthy projects. Isn't that funny? Owning a well tuned body is the best time management tool.
But wait. . . if you aren't your perfect size/shape/energy level - it doesn't matter because just doing these will give you more of the zest you need to manage your time. Believe me, it really does work. Ready. Set. Start the challenge.
GET MOVING. Yes, if you want each day this week to be better, start by moving in the AM. This could be a walk around the block, stretching before your shower, Yoga before breakfast, or a 60-minute power workout (ugh is what I say to that last one). Research has shown that even 10 minutes will get more oxygen to your brain! Be a better manager of everything - move the body - feed the brain!
KNOW YOUR PERSONAL CLOCK. We all have an internal clock that lets us know when we think best, work best, relate best and handle the mundane best. If you are a morning person for verbal activities, schedule your networking then. If you are an afternoon thinker, make sure you allow yourself the time to do that. Even though you can't adjust everyone to fit your schedule, knowing our peak times means we will become mindful of our best time to do our best work!
START WITH SOMETHING FUN. Most time management philosophers suggest that we do the task we like least first. Well, slackers like me will tell you that we can stall forever if we have to start with the "least fun" project. I know from experience that I will feel great when that task is done, but I'd rather feel accomplished sooner. Start your day with a task you enjoy first. That joy will easily follow to the next project or meeting and help you get more completed and be more fun to be around!
RENAME THE UGLIES. In our business life there will always be tasks we don't want to do. You chose your business or job because of all the wonderful things you like about it. So look at the tasks you dislike and ask yourself: Can I outsource it? Am I the best person to do this? Is this part of my responsibility? Try looking at the least favorite chores as part of the whole and take joy in finishing even the most odious tax. If you approach each chore as if you really want to do them, they will be over before you know it. Remember that diapering a baby can be a pretty ugly task sometimes, but a sweet smelling child is a joy to hold, especially if you are the Granny!
SLOW DOWN. Stop rushing around! There are two major causes to rushing around - distractions caused by you (think watching YouTube) or caused by others (your partner has to ask you one more time how to complete the request for proposal). If you can remember how long the last project took similar, build in some extra time to be disturbed. Some intense thinking projects or manual projects really require a break. Slowing down and deliberately planning a project will lead to fewer errors, happier staff and a saner you. Oh yes, your insurance agent will be happy, too as deliberate drivers have fewer accidents.
FIND AND USE HEALTH DISTRACTIONS: The apple break has always been a favorite of mine. When you are feeling sluggish, can't finish the task or are just getting really heavy eyelids, it is time for a break. Taking a walk out in the summer sun or rain; crunching on an apple or some carrots, even taking a lunch break away from your desk can be a wonderful time management tool. So often when we feel overworked, our brains hear us and check out! Making a healthy choice to be step back, relax and revive can mean a huge difference in meeting your deadline.
CELEBRATE! Last on my list is don't forget to celebrate your successes! Since many of use share the goals of life to "do good, make a living, and have some fun" make sure you find the time for all the parts of your life. Even slackers like me have learned a few tricks over the years to squeeze in more work and still have time to play.