At our last Women's Leadership Forum in March 2019, an attendee shared a concern. However, we have Pam here to share a 12-step-how-to to dissolve that very apprehension.
I am trying to improve my time management. There are so many people pulling me in different directions: work, home, volunteer work, and church. Help!
What a great question! I applaud you for the desire to take control of your time and ultimately, your life. What is often referred to as time management, in most cases is actually, self management. You will see when you manage yourself, your choices, and your responsibilities, time will be available.
Here are some steps you can take to get you going in the right direction:
- Separate your Must Do's and Have To's from your Want To's and Like To's everything can't be done.
- Prioritize the Must Do's and Have To's use deadlines and promised delivery dates to assist you.
- Learn to say, "No." As my friend says, "No is a complete sentence." Resist providing the reason for your no. The requester will always find a way for you to work around your "no." If you find saying "no" difficult, practice in the mirror and have a friend hold you accountable.
- Use a Planner Write everything down...in one place. One planner for everythingpersonal, work, volunteer, church, etc.
- Prepare a Weekly To Do List Using your planner, outline your week with the steps needed to complete your weekly tasks, duties, assignments, etc.
- Get organized clear clutter, prepare your work space, arrange tasks in bite size pieces, and carve out time to attack your plan. Setting the stage takes time, but it saves you time in the long run.
- Ensure that you have plenty of white space on your planner In other words, don't fill up your planner with things to do. Use #3 to help you.
- Schedule time for YOU on your Planner you can't output with no input. Time for you can be sitting on your sofa enjoying a coffee, petting your dog/cat (if the cat lets you), taking a nap, or doing nothing at all.
- Before accepting a new responsibility, make sure that you understand and know all that is required ask lots of questions. Challenge weak responses that contain minimal details. Don't make decisions in the dark.
- Never say "yes" without taking the time to evaluate the time required, checking your planner and schedule, and consulting with the people in your life that will be affected by your decision ask the requester to give you a few days to get back to them and alert them that your answer may be "no."
- Put on the brakes if the agreed upon assignment goes from, "I need you to bake 2 dozen cookies" to "I need you to prepare all the desserts for the party," say, you guessed it, "no, but I'll have the cookies I promised by the deadline." Don't forget to smile.
- Follow the steps You have to put the plan into action. If your schedule is out of control now, you may have to suck it up, keep your word, and finish what you promisedbut starting today, begin with #1.
I noticed your question did not mention time for you. I'm circling back to #7, because as women, we usually put ourselves last; not realizing the harm we do to ourselves until we've lashed out at a loved one and said something we regret. Don't forget you. You are important.
There is power in beginning, but true victory is in the doing. Put in the work. You must commit to the plan to see success. And success will lead to time to enjoy your Want To's and Like To's.
You got this. I'm rooting for you!