Are you ready to do more, and stress less. Here are some ideas for being intentional with your time.
Why is it important to prioritize your time?
Time is a level playing field. We are all given 24 hours per day. The difference between those who live a life of significance and those who are stressed out with limited results, is how they prioritize their time.
Listing tasks by priority will help you focus on what matters most. I personally have long range goals that need attention everyday and smaller objectives that have tasks that can be completed in short intervals. As I review my list and prioritize the tasks, there as some items that do not make it on my calendar but can be worked in when meetings or planned tasks are completed faster than originally planned.
Example: I have a one-hour planning meeting on my calendar, we were able to discuss all items on the agenda and adjourn the meeting 15 – 20 minutes earlier than planned. I can now scan my priority list and work on any task that has a commitment of less than 15 minutes. Completing this task was not on my agenda at that time, however, as time became available, I was able to complete the task and remove something from my priority list. This might be making a follow up call on a proposal or making final edits to a presentation.
There are also times when meetings or tasks run longer than planned and I need to remove or postpone activities, having my objectives and tasks prioritized allows me to respond accordingly and not get stressed out.
Avoiding daily distractions
Avoiding daily distractions is just one of the methods for tactical and intentional with your time.
Smart Phones: I must believe these amazing pieces of technology are the greatest distraction of present time. These tools are great for multi-use, phone calls, emails, music, videos, calendars, text, etc.
However, when not used with some restraint they can derail us from our priorities and waste much of our precious time on things that do not serve us and our obligations.
Email: This is a personal challenge for me and one I strive to control. I don’t like the thought of anyone waiting on me for a response and historically I have given immediate responses, this does not create thoughtful response and if I am constantly monitoring and responding to email, I am not working on my prioritized list. I am allowing the email to dictate what I am working on and responding to.
I have learned that most people are not expecting you or me to respond immediately, in fact responding within 24 hours is acceptable for most circumstances.
Tip: Schedule a time or a few times a day to respond to emails. Ask yourself: Does this email require an urgent response, or can I reply in my scheduled time for responding to emails?
Fulfilling your time
Finding time for what is important. As you learn to be intentional with your time there needs to be some time you set aside for those things that fulfill you and those you love. As leaders we can often be caught in the busy mode. I heard one person say they were “in a high-speed wobble” I coached them that being in a high-speed wobble will make you dizzy.
Being busy does not always translate to being productive. When you get caught up in doing you can lose sight of being. Being there for yourself and those you love is fulfilling, find ways for being intentional to create down time and recover from the “daily grind”.
I was introduced to the term work life harmony to replace work life balance. I like the idea that our work and life can be in harmony, trying to balance them was always stressful for me. Now that I understand there is harmony, I am striving to make the most of the moment.
Want to learn more about being intentional with your time? Listen to my podcast interview with Alexis Haselberger
Want help creating and developing a plan? Get our P.L.A.N. cheatsheet: P.L.A.N. Cheat Sheet