“Time is a sort of River of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”
Marcus Aurelius [161-180 CE]
Learning how to manage our business and life demands requires we manage our own time in order to do everything we want or need to do. This can be a challenging and daunting goal – particularly if there is no plan or strategy in place to help us do it. The most successful people in life who have been interviewed swear by scheduling their lives – for work, family, social and fun things. Gaining balance in your life and work requires that you develop solid skills in time management.
If you know some highly organized people, you are likely quite aware that they seem to get an unbelievable amount done in a day or a week – unless the scheduling has become obsessive. But scheduling has more upsides than downside. Scheduling can include fun things, children, even meditation or spirituality enriching our lives, and creating a beautiful and complex tapestry of in our lives. Such success brought by such organization is worth much. Despite your initial resistance to living life this way, if you try it, you may find that you have more ‘free’ time than you ever thought possible before.
Balance and Change
Balancing our business lives with our family and/or social lives is not, as we observed last week (go to http://www.klarcc.com), so simple. But, it can definitely be done – by anyone who truly desires to be successful at work and at home.
As we are all learning – some at great cost – there is little set in stone in our lives, little we can count on remaining ‘the same’. Change is happening around us at lightening speed – daily, and at times, hourly or moment-by-moment. We need the capacity to flex and bend with those changes as they occur, rather than resisting them. It has been forever so.
“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”
Challenging Your Business Time Habits
We all have habits we have created over time. Some of us are more entrenched in our habits, while others among us have the capacity to change what we are doing easily. Some behavior patterns or habits are highly useful; some are definitely not, and can, in fact, be obstructive or even destructive to what we want to achieve.
Depending on how habits are used and cultivated, having great number of habitual patterns in our lives can have the effect of making us either highly productive and successful, or can result in cutting down our productivity, our creativity, and our satisfaction with life and work in general. Both are possible outcomes.
Deciding how to change up what you are doing can be as simple as making the decision if you are good at listening to yourself. Many of us are not. Many of us are not very respectful when it comes to honoring our own time, or placing our goals front and center in our own lives. We tend to allow interruptions at any time of the day; and, if you are like many of us, you set aside what you are doing in order to help others do what they need to do.
So what are the actions we could take that would help us increase our productivity on a daily basis and achieve our long-term vision for work and life balance? Here are some suggestions to help you set priorities, manage your time effectively, and organize your days…
- Examine whether what you are doing during the day is hitting the most important items on your ‘to do’ list and whether you are actually getting them done as effectively or quickly as needed.
- Examinewhy or how you are getting sidetracked from your schedule and daily goals and objectives.
- Find repeating patterns in your days and weeks that prevent you from being productive and effective, and those that work to keep you productive and efficient.
- Keep a point form diary! Yes, a diary. At the end of your day, jot down what went well, what did not point by point.
- Spend ½ an hour at the end of the week looking at what you wrote. Work out what happened and why – what worked – what didn’t. That is, if you intended to spend an hour on your paperwork, an hour on your product orders or new client referrals, an hour on new product lines and market competition, but only some – or none – of it happened, or it took three times as long as what you thought, you need to know why (See previous article @ http://www.klarcc.com).
- Go back to #2, and #3 above. If you are documenting daily what has happened in your day and you go back over the past week or month, what are the most predominant blocks to your productivity? What are the most frequent interruptions? When are you most productive – and why or how?
- Once you have completed #6, create a new plan of action that can help you
- avoid the interruptions,
- create time them for them at a different time, or
- schedule them in appropriately. Identify what helps you concentrate and focus on what you most need to get done – to get what you want out of your business and your life.
- Drop them if they are not contributing to your business or quality of life
- Take breaks! During the workday, whatever requires focus and attention, tires the brain. You decide when the breaks happen. After work, do something completely different – your brain will thank you. Exercise! It feeds your concentration!
The primary secret to balancing your life and achieving success, is in how you schedule your daily activities. Pay attention to what they are saying! It will change your life and, to a great degree, your sense of achievement and satisfaction with your life. Research and writers supporting these statements next week!
Balancing Work and Life Part III: Respecting and Managing Your Time