I imagine that you’ve read many time-management tips throughout your career. I have.
What I realized recently after having practiced more mindful intentions, was that the typical tips didn’t resonate with me until they were viewed from a more mindful perspective. Time management tips always felt like another chore that I had “to-do”.
Perhaps this list will give you a new perspective because they are intentionally not traditional.
1 - How do you want you life to go?
Have you thought about it? Visualized it?
Do it now - close your eyes and picture what your perfect evenings and weekends are like. Write that vision down. If you are struggling with a spouse or a friend or a child, ask them to describe what their ideal relationship will you would be like, from their point of view. This openness forum of communication is vulnerability and authenticity. It allows you to clarify what you want and to identify your priorities. What does this have to do with time management? Everything. Knowing what you want keep you agile and focussed and can clear away the clutter.
2 - Clear the brain clutter
I talk about this a lot. You have likely heard it from me before.
It’s often said “you are as _________ (happy, successful, rich etc) as the five people you spend the most time with”. You don’t have time for negative chatter, gossip or fear based conversations. Once you remove that clutter from your brain you open up so much more time. How do you remove that clutter? By intentionally choosing the conversations you engage in. By not participating in the conversations that elevate you or inspire you. By graciously excusing yourself from people whose energy is draining. You know who they are.
3 - Analyze your Schedule
Where are your priorities and where is your time going?
Are your priorities reflected in your calendar? What can you shift to ensure they are? What clutter from #2 can you remove?
Your actions will reflect those values once you treat them as such. You won't be able to make every soccer game or hit the gym everyday, but what can you shift and adjust so you don't get lost in your day?
4 - Mindful Email
I'm sure you want to have a great day as you wake up. Make it mindful. Don't check email right away. Especially if you are getting breakfast & lunches going, want to squeeze in a workout etc. Check your email once you actually have dedicated time to respond wholly. You'll feel less anxious and you'll be more thoughtful and thorough in your response when you're fully present.
5 - Focussed Power Hours
As a freelancer I have had to learn to be super focussed on ‘money generating activities’, or else income is lost. But there is a lot of stuff that needs to get done that doesn’t generate income but is still important. You will find this is the case in a corporate environment as well regardless if you’re a salaried employee or a consultant.
Every few days I take an hour and power through with precision and focus all those other tasks. From de-cluttering a section of my desk to dealing with school forms or paying bills. Clearing it out allows me complete important tasks all at once and then also clear them from my consciousness.
6 - Build in Transition Time
Right now, take a deep deep breath in, and slooow breath out….then continue to read this post.
As a QueenBee mom, you learnt early on that transitioning your child from one activity to another was so important to avoid meltdowns and set expectations. One of our favorite transitions is jumping jacks to get out any extra energy between playing and sitting down for dinner or homework.
Kids need transitions, but we do too.
I know you have 30 things to do today (me too!). The only way to get anything accomplished is not by multi-tasking, but with all intention focusing on the 1 thing you will do now.
Allow yourself 5 deep breaths between tasks or between meetings. Close your eyes, breathe deeply 5 times and then move on.
Or, if you are running from one meeting to another, pause, take a few breaths and then walk into your next meeting. This will avoid the panting and the OMGoshes, and the “what is this about” stress. It will allow you to settle the meeting you just left and be present to the people and subject at hand for the new meeting.
Small Changes Lead the Way
You won’t overhaul your office or your schedule in a
day, but begin by setting up one small change. Then another. This won’t be as much of a shock and will be more sustainable and easily manageable over time.
Give yourself space and time to get used to these steps. Like any mindful practice it will not be perfect from the get-go and it will fluctuate. However, continue to implement a little bit at a time and these actions will be become part of what comes naturally.