Time is a precious resource and is the chief bartering tool for money and resources. We decide with each passing moment of the day how we invest that precious resource.
Maximizing your time expands the gifts and resources you can devote to productive and creative endeavors. How you manage time can increase happiness in your time and private life. However, ordering your calendar isn’t exactly intuitive, especially in this day and age of unnatural distraction.
We covered this in our podcasts linked below.
If you want to grow your personal and professional life in an ordered way, here are 3 things you should do to maximize your time.
1. Focus on the finite
As much as we’d like to treat time as infinite, we know deep down it isn’t. Our kids’ soccer games go unwatched, recitals unattended, and cherished moments with friends or family vanish.
We look at our calendars and emails. Is it Christmas time already?
Where did the time go?
Something has to give. The path of least resistance to burnout is giving into the never ending list of tasks that bombard you day by day. Whether a project manager, team leader, or business executive, your day is filled with an unending task list.
We are trying to fit an infinite thing, our tasks, into a finite thing, our calendar.
If you feel overwhelmed, it’s because you are.
If you feel like you’re missing out on life, it’s because you are.
If you feel like your days and weeks are flying, it’s because they are.
A common mistake for leaders is to let tasks run the calendar rather than the other way around. If you want to be effective, you need to prioritize your time.
2. Weaponize Your Watch
We are driven to distraction. From the time we awaken to the time we sleep, our attention is continually assaulted. Whether through advertisers on the internet or people in our circles, we live in a world saturated with distractions. People want our attention.
And, that can be a good thing.
Distractions aren’t always bad. In fact, distractions can be a welcome relief in the day as you get the chance to devote time free from the pressures of productivity.
The problem comes when distractions are entertained throughout the day and prevent you from getting things done. Distractions become a surrogate for procrastination. And, we’ve all done it.
We’ve all been at that place where we’ve looked up from a mindless scroll through social media and YouTube only to realize an hour has gone by.
There has to be a better way…and there is.
The best way to overcome distractions is to order your day. You have to be intentional with your time. Remember, it’s a finite resource. If you don’t control it, someone or something else will.
You can do a job that’s important without being busy and stressed out.
Our Growability Model for maximizing time allows you to break the chain of distractions by partitioning your day in an intentional way.
Busy work: This is the lowest producer on our task management system. These are tasks that can be done in under 10 minutes. The main objective is to check off boxes and get the small things done so they don’t disturb the rest of your day.
Brainstorm: You must reserve think time at some point in the day. This is an opportunity for you to listen to a podcast, read a blog, or work with a group to explore possibilities and ideas. I argue this time is especially important for the creative process.
Bulldozer: Heavy cognitive lifting is needed during this time. This is when you get the chance to think deeply. In fact, set aside enough time to do Bulldozer time because it requires 20 minutes just to get in the zone. Silence your notifications. Put a Do Not Disturb sign on your office. You’re going to need this for the intense focus required.
These are just a few ways to partition your time but there are more ways to maximize your potential.
Contact a Growability Coach to learn more about this process and how you can implement this for yourself and your team.
3. Brake the bicycle
You can’t fix a bicycle while riding it. Running an organization, managing a project, or leading a team require you to maintain a constant balance to watch for changes in the environment and hazards along the way.
This constant state of inertia and awareness leaves little time to grapple with the processes and potholes along the way. “Kickstand” time is critical for process and system improvement.
This is a golden opportunity to work ON the business and not IN the business.
As a leader, it’s hard to distance yourself from the work being done. But, it has to happen. Your down time isn’t good for you; it’s great for everyone.
This time should be scheduled and segregated from your normal duties.
This is also your time to reset and evaluate processes within your organization, team, or yourself. Loads of self-help blogs and books call it self-care, self-management, and myriad of other tags but I think of it as update and upgrade time.
Every so often my computer prompts me to shut it down and restart so it can install needed updates. Kickstand time works the same. This is your opportunity to think and focus on processes or ideas.
If you’re feeling exhausted and demotivated, you need to prioritize some kickstand time. Whether in the morning, afternoon, or evening, it just needs to be a time you can look from the outside in to see what’s working and what isn’t.
Replace the “I needs” and “I should’s” with “I scheduled” and “I did it.” Fooling ourselves into future victory does little to soften the every day defeat of neglect.
Your success depends on your schedule.
Let a Growability coach help you with your organization. Let us help you raise your organization to its fullest potential.