Imagine having time - on your calendar - to curl up with a book and a cup of tea and just read a book, knowing that everything has been taken care of and will be taken care of, just not at this minute, because this next hour is just yours?
Imagine the contentment that comes from knowing that your to-do list is calendared and that you just know, with confidence and surety, that when the time comes, you’ll do what it says on your calendar?
So much freedom!
What's getting in the way
Getting on to the reasons our brains give us as to why we can’t plan out our days and stick to following through on that plan, is, yes - fascinating but it’s also necessary if we want to make changes to the way we use and make time for the things we want time for. Because we can make time for whatever it is we want to do. This begins with taking responsibility for the way we use our time.
Today on the blog I want to take you through some of the excuses / perceived obstacles to dialling in our time management that I hear the most often and what we do when we continue to run the thought loop we currently have in our heads.
Excuse / Perceived obstacle #1: ‘I don’t know how long something takes to do’
When we’re thinking this, here’s what we aren’t doing: we aren’t really doubling down our efforts and doing the job in the most effective, efficient, output orientated way, possible. Think about if you had to do it in the next two hours. You just had to or someone would cut off your wee finger? NOW you’re thinking at a higher level. Something takes as long to do as we make for it.
Think about any assignment you had to do at university. No matter how long you had to do it, you actually did it, the weekend before it was due. You continued this way of working right up today. If you have two weeks to do something, you’ll take two weeks to do it and if you have two hours to do it, you’ll knock a pretty good run at it out in that time. 70% work will be your secret weapon locking down this skill. See this blog post, When 70% is good enough to refresh on what 70% work means. In short, it's letting go of perfectionism in some areas.
When we’re stuck in ‘but how long should it take’, we aren’t taking ownership. Allot a time, based on your best guess and buckle down to work.
No, you don’t need to check your phone first.
No, you don’t need to just grab one more coffee first.
Excuse / Perceived obstacle #2: ‘You don’t understand how my life is, I’m just really busy’
You aren’t. I won’t believe you. We choose to put the label of ‘busy’ on a series of tasks in our calendars that we have allowed to be there.
Busy-ness is close to a disease in our current culture and yet, did you see how much is happening on instagram and on facebook and how Netflix can’t keep up with the amount of new series’ they load on there every week for their avid viewers? We have never been busier doing an awful lot of value-less things.
We’re busy doing stuff that we’re so disconnected from, we’re stuck on our phones the whole time we’re doing it.
If this isn’t insanity, then, tell me what is.
Don't say you're busy. Say: I have chosen to continue to accept invitations, appointments and have scheduled our family calendar until it is full to bursting point. Take responsibility. Love your choices or change them.
Every single thing on our calendars has been accepted by us.
But wait, you say, what about this? I know what you’re going to say…that’s:
Excuse / Perceived obstacle #3: ‘You don’t understand how my particular set up is, I’m just not in control of my time in the way that some other people are’
Who do you think it is that is in charge of how you spend your time? Why do you think that?
If family or friends drop over unannounced, you’ve created an expectation that that’s ok for them to do. Own that. Maybe you love that they do. Love it. But don’t hand over responsibility for your time to them. It’s still your responsibility. It’s available to you to tell them that you’d love if it they call before dropping over. It's not their fault that you didn't get what you planned to get done.
If your boss regularly drops something on your desk 20 minutes before you leave that results in you being home later than you wanted to be, on the regular, own saying yes to that work. Maybe you’re choosing it because there’s a benefit to you - you want the experience, you want to be involved. Own it. Say: I chose to work late again tonight and I have my own back on the reasons. But if there’s no benefit and you leave the office annoyed and bring that annoyance home with you in the evening, then really question what exactly it is you’re saying yes to and why you’re saying it when in your head it’s No.
Excuse / Perceived obstacle #4: ‘Being too rigid doesn’t sound fun to me. I’m a spontaneous sort’
If I had 20c for every time I was told this one.
Think carefully about this story, if this is one that you tell yourself.
What’s spontaneous about having to log on from home once the kids are in bed because you didn’t manage your time properly all day in work and missed getting the most important work of the day nailed?
What’s fun about being so reactive that you never have time just to sit up in your favourite chair with a cup of tea and a great book, because you never have any ‘free’ time calendared for yourself?
Every day, the time between 13:00 and 14:00 is my own. I freak out with how spontaneous I can be. I nap, walk, eat, read, have a long chat with a friend. I love it. I’m as spontaneous as I like but within this window and it feels so good knowing I’ve done all I wanted to do in the course of the morning. Nothing hanging over my head like a shadow. When I plan out my day, I have 1 hour on there to use as I want, and this hour is non-negotiable. I cannot recommend this enough.
What does your brain offer you up as the reasons for not getting stuff done?
If getting a handle on your time management skills is something you keep saying you'll do but aren't getting around to (because you're not choosing to make time for it), then we should talk. Schedule a free consultation with me and I will show you what's stopping you from completely owning how you use your time. Book your free consultation.