Three Easy Strategies to Find More Time
This week I had a session with a new client, she is the Human Resource Director of a large credit union. Several months ago when we first spoke, she told me she wanted me to be a part of her professional development plan for the coming year.
We finally had our first session this past week and it became apparent it was about time we did! She revealed she has been working 12-14 hour days consistently, is completing her Master’s degree, has issues at home that have been draining her emotionally, and her health and wellness have been suffering as a result.
Because she is the only person in HR she is responsible for all the administrative work, which is mountainous, however, this would not be a problem except she is constantly interrupted all day long with questions and “emergencies” that are not actually emergencies.
She estimated that she would probably need to take a full day of no interruptions to just start to get caught up on the backlog of paperwork piled in her office.
I offered another strategy: Starting next week she will begin to institute office hours.
She was to send an email to the entire company explaining that appointments would need to be scheduled 24 hours in advance, and she would begin to train all the employees on what constituted an emergency.
She was relieved and excited to begin composing the email. She said she felt like a weight was lifted from her shoulders, and she could imagine how much work she would be able to get done now that the interruptions would be minimized.
Getting control of your calendar can feel like that; freeing, empowering and productive!
Inspired by our session I thought I would share more suggestion for how you can find more time in your schedule.
Block Activities at Times that Best Suit You
Rather than starting and stopping tasks all day long and pivoting from one mind frame to another, block out times to focus on similar activities.
My best time for writing, being creative and being productive is in the morning. For that reason I block out the mornings for blogs, newsletters, presentations and preparing for my clients. I’ll also use this time to respond to emails, organize my calendar, and read blogs and articles relevant to my business.
I am more apt to want to be social in the afternoons so I schedule my calls, coaching sessions and business meetings at this time. I tend to meet with clients Monday through Wednesday when I’m fresh and I save most of my business “coffee dates” for Friday afternoon when I don’t want to be sitting at my desk any longer.
The key here is to plan your calendar so that you are scheduling activities at times that will work best for you.
Avoid the Back-and-Forth of Scheduling
An application I use in my business that has saved me a tremendous amount of time and aggravation is Calendly.
Rather than throwing out potential times and dates to meet, and running the risk of double booking, I can send the other person a link to my personal Calendly calendar link and they can select from available times I have already set.
Calendly instantly adds the appointment to my Google Calendar (my “base camp” calendar) and sends me an email letting me know an appointment has been scheduled. Calendly connects with Outlook, Gmail, iCal, or any other calendar service.
Calendly also allows me to distinguish between phone and in-person meetings, coaching sessions and business meetings, and time frames of the appointments. It takes an investment of time to set up but once it’s done, it’s done.
The other feature that has me hooked is the notifications. I can customize the confirmation, reminder and cancellation emails with links that lead to other resources. This features has saved me countless hours because I don’t have to worry about sending reminders, nor do I have to get involved if someone needs to reschedule.
There are many schedulers on the market. Ask around, Google it, and find the one that works for you.
Track How You Spend Your Time
I remember when I joined Weight Watchers years ago. One of the components of the program that was most effective for me was keeping a food journal. I had no idea how many calories I had been consuming before keeping track and it was a wake-up call.
I’ve done the same thing when I wanted to get my finances in order. I tracked every penny I spent, and was amazed at how much money I was spending on coffee every day, among other things.
If you want to get back more time you first need to know where you are spending your time..
The application I use is Rescue Time. It tracks how much time I spend online, in my email, in Word, Excel, etc. And yes, it also tracks how much time I’m on Netflix, Facebook, and playing FreeCell.
Again, it’s a wake-up call but I am now empowered to make different choices if I choose to do so. There’s no use arguing with the facts.
To Sum It All Up…
Time is the great equalizer. We all have the same amount of time AND some people are getting more done than others. There is no secret, they are just better able to manage their time than most other people.
The better you are at organizing and utilizing your time, the more free time you will have to do things like exercise, visit with friends, play with your kids, catch a game, indulge your hobby, and so on.
Get rid of the feeling of being overwhelmed and burdened, and start feeling the freedom of having all the time in the world.
If you’d like to add anything, give us some suggestion on applications you use or techniques for saving time, I’m sure the Luma community would be very appreciative! Just add your suggestion into the comment section below.
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Thank you so much, and here’s to your success!