Oh, how I love this subject! Don’t you? Time management seems to be a subject that is often talked about, but the solutions don’t necessarily work. I can honestly say that it certainly has been an issue for me in my adult life. Have you heard of adulting? Yep! It’s a real thing. It seems when you’re a kid, time is infinite and it goes by sooooo verrryyyyy slooowwww. LOL! We all know now that’s because when we we’re younger, we had more freedom and less responsibility. So, what has changed since you became an adult?
Of course, you may have your spouse, kids, pets, parents, career, home, etc., etc., etc. to deal with on a daily basis. It is certainly a lot to manage at once. This is why time management is not the best answer when one is confronted about their responsibilities. At least this has been the case for me ever since I decided to cross over into the Entrepreneur world. If you think it’s bad working for someone else and dealing with time management, it is worse when you work for yourself and/or employ others. I like to encourage people to adapt the term “priority management.”
So, why priority management? Because it's about getting the right things done at the right time.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
Well, if you can learn to master your priorities—this leads to mastering time. You may say, now Jennifer I’m confused….you just mentioned time management is not the best solution. Listen now! Priority management is different than time management because when you prioritize your day/week/month, a lot of noise around other tasks seems to fade away and you start realizing how much more time you have. Let me give you an example. Say your week consisted of getting the kids off to school, cooking dinner, appointments for your business, and going to the gym. This sounds like a lot huh? Well, in a WWJD (What would Jennifer do) moment, this would be my strategy:
1. Starting on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, plan out the week ahead starting with Sunday. You will need an electronic or paper planner/calendar to perform this strategy. Write down every task you need to accomplish (getting the kids off to school, cooking dinner, appointments for your business, and going to the gym), but do not assign a specific date to them unless it is a standing task.
2. Utilizing your planner/calendar, write down the standing tasks and assign a date to them. This can be sleep, eating, reading, gym, work, or driving. Typically, these tasks are your non-negotiables and you perform these daily. Look at how you can batch some of these non-negotiables. For example, weekly meal prepping and listening to an audible book can be done at the same time. You can also listen to an audible book while at the gym or driving.
3. Now, with whatever time or capacity you have left, schedule your priorities and the remainder of your tasks. Do you see extra time? Eureka! This is where you can add in buffer times in your schedule because you know things will happen. So, give yourself an extra 15 min in the morning to get the kids off to school.
4. If a new task arises during the week, do not just add it to your schedule. Figure out what you can de-prioritize to place it in your schedule. Our schedule is in harmony now and we’d like to keep it that way. Only disrupt your schedule if it’s absolutely necessary.
Take a look at my calendar from a few weeks back....does this makes sense?
This strategy takes a few tries to get used to, but it works. I’ve been following this method for over a year and it has helped me tremendously with my busy schedule. This example is sort of simple, but just try it with your family and see what happens. Once you start looking at your time from a different perspective, you’ll see why you should prioritize.
If you would like help executing this strategy and creating a plan that works for you, please reach out to me. I am more than happy to take a few min to help you manage your time more efficiently or share with you my schedule. Just send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org