3 Steps to Make Time for What Matters Most
Who we become is a purposeful intent, not an accident. Our intention of who we’re going to be, and how our work and life is going to be drives how we spend our days. Each of our days is something that we can design. It’s true that we can’t always direct every circumstance of our life, but we can certainly set our goals, and do our best to control our responses to the circumstances. The following is a three-step process that will help you to shape your time.
1) Design Your Days
What are your days going to be about, and what will get your attention and focus? Do you have an anchor plan that helps you to adjust to the changing circumstances? Do you cling to driftwood as you go through your day or do you captain your ship? These are all important questions that you should ask yourself to evaluate how pro-active and prepared you are to maneuver through the various weather changes and obstacles that cross your path every day. We have to design our days. Plan for each hour, and be prepared to adjust if necessary. We have to decide what our day is going to be about, what we’ll get done, and what deserves our focus, instead of just responding to everybody else’s needs.
SkedPal’s Fuzzy Planning is a great tool to help you design your days using Time Maps. Yet, it’s only a tool, and you still have to captain your ship. The most important role of a good captain is to stay on course. If there were no weather conditions, that would have been an easy job. What makes this job challenging is how to get back on track when necessary. Even airplanes can’t stay on the planned route at all times. They drift all the time. But, the radar systems help the captain to get back on track quickly. So, it is really important to understand that if you fall off the productivity wagon, it is normal! The winners are those who spring back, and restore their productivity. The winners are those who realize that it’s ok to get off track, but it is critical to react quickly and get back on track.
2) Track Your Performance
Active monitoring of your performance leads to early detection of deviations and ability to improve your productivity. In other words, you can’t manage your productivity unless you measure it. Performance measurement is a key success factor for any individual or organization. Performance measurement keeps you grounded, honest and authentic. This is what enables you to do what you do better each day. This will chronicle your path towards a better version of you.
It’s also worth noting that the role of the performance measurement is not just to highlight inefficiencies, but it’s equally valuable to celebrate achievements. If you start measuring your day, why not celebrate at the end of a good productive day?
SkedPal offers a dashboard that helps you measure your productivity. It’s not only about the absolute number of hours you spend on concentrated work, but it’s also about the relative allocation of your time to each project. If you’re an existing user of SkedPal, you can immediately see your baseline for the past 4 weeks
3) Learn and Adjust
Use the Dashboard to see where your time goes. How much time are you spending on your important projects? Is your actual spent time aligned with your priorities? You may get surprised by the reports, but that’s the power of objective evaluation. Review the numbers with the intent to face the reality and make the right corrections. If it’s the first time you’re measuring yourself, you might not like what you see. But, that’s the first step towards a better, more productive you! When you notice that you’re not as productive as you wanted to be, a temptation can be to just give up. Don’t give up! Instead, put more focus and energy to re-centering.
Use the power of Time Maps to adjust your weekly plans for each category of your work and life. If you’re spending 70% of your time on work, 30% on friends and family, and 0% on you, is this something you’d like to change? Figure out your overall balance, and then find what your ideal balance would be. Decide on what you want to spend less time on and what you want to spend more time on. This will help you to have a tangible goal to start with.