Time Management: the Secret to Life Balance?
by David B. Bohl
Each year, companies shell out thousands upon thousands of dollars to send employees off to time management seminars. They bring in outside consultants who specialize in time management issues, to get their teams up to speed and drive sales more efficiently.
Do you ever feel like you could use a few time management classes? Not just on the job... but in all aspects of your life? I think it's fair to say that most of us feel like we aren't managing our time to the best of our ability. And if you're searching for work-life balance... the time issue can really put a crimp in your plans.
Having better control over one's time is one of the key issues explored here at REFLECTIONS Coaching. We can't help noticing that an onslaught of technology and an ever-pervading sense of "be more, do more" is stealing our precious hours. Seems that no matter who you are or what you're trying to accomplish, someone is seeking you out at this very minute, ready to take up "just a few minutes" of your time. When you add up all of those "few minute" interruptions, it's no wonder that the day slipped away.
So what's the solution to the "time is the new currency and we need more of it" issue?
Perhaps the first step is realizing that no matter how many time-saving conveniences are available to us... there are still only 24 hours in a day. If someone is feeding you the promise that they can give you back time lost, they're probably lying. Because the truth is... no one can help you manage your time more effectively than you.
Often, it helps to step back and take an objective look at ourselves. What activities are we filling our days with? Do you try to make the best use of your time-management skills? (And an even more revealing question: do you actively follow through on the promises you make?)
Consider the following means for maximizing your time each day:
• Sitting down and marking your plans on the calendar, then keeping those plans
• Segmenting your day, week, month, season into routine activities that are easily managed
• Sticking to the schedule that you mapped out for yourself (and not the one someone else prescribed)
• Setting and adhering to time-sensitive goals
• Deciding what's truly "urgent" and what can wait until later
• Setting boundaries that prevent you from becoming distracted
• Being gentle yet firm when others try to encroach upon your time
• Respecting others' time, being patient and willing to wait
The second step involves recognizing the limitations of technology. Yes, there are certain tools out there that serve as "shortcuts" to getting things done faster... but they also lead us down divergent paths.
If time is slipping through our fingers, there must be a reason for it. Last time you looked at the clock it was 7:30 a.m. Now you glance up again, and somehow it's twenty minutes past your lunch hour. Where did the time go? Here are some ideas on where it might have snuck off to. Think about:
• The total minutes you spent answering "non-urgent calls and emails" this morning.
• The coworkers who pulled you away from whatever you were doing because of matters that needed immediate attention
• Every single time you stopped to check email or "research something" on the internet
• That captivating news headline or announcer's voice on the radio that lured you away from work
Time management challenges stem from the following fact of life: most of us allow our days to be driven by what happens to us, instead of taking charge and deciding what's going to happen. We fail to prioritize what's important to us. We fall into the trap of doing and being all things to all people.
• It's okay to say, "I'll call you back at a more convenient time."
• It's a smart idea to shut off your email for three hours and simply focus on one task.
• In decades past, people didn't have answering machines, let alone cell phones - and they survived.
• Teaching our children to put down their technology and listen with all five of their senses is a GOOD thing.
Got a few ideas on how to budget your time your way? REFLECTIONS Coaching LLC would love to hear from you. Send your thoughts to David Bohl - david[at]SlowDownFAST.com and we'll consider publishing your article in an upcoming issue of our ezine.
Copyright 2007 David B. Bohl, REFLECTIONS Coaching LLC. All rights reserved.
David B. Bohl may be contacted at http://www.slowdownfast.com
Personal Coach David Bohl shares the viral message "Slow Down FAST" and helps people raise the roof on all facets of their lives without risking implosion. Get some must-haves for persevering in challenging times! Sign up for David's online newsletter, The Bohl Report, today at http://www.slowdownfast.com