As I continue to work toward a satisfying work-life balance, time management is an area of continual improvement for Me. And I know I’m not alone in this. This past month I have spent laser focused on managing my time, which has not only brought about a greater awareness on how my time was being spent, but it has granted me the ability to gain control of my schedule and approach to work.
It wasn’t until I set aside dedicated time to reflect that I realized how much I allowed other less important things to take over my calendar. It is an adjustment, really a shift in mindset, and while it is not an easy one, it’s a change that will pay-off immensely over time. It all comes down to prioritization of your workload, allowing and scheduling adequate time to get things done, and setting boundaries.
Identify your priorities and schedule the time needed for what needs to get done first, first. If it is not pressing or top priority, it gets attention at a later time.
Using your calendar to create time blocks to focus on your calen
dar is one of the easiest but most impactful changes you can make. Stay diligent and driven to complete the scheduled activity in the blocked time period. Minimize the risk of distractions – turn off notifications, shut your door, set a time, etc. – all in order to stay focused and mindful. When blocking time, account for a little additional time as a margin to provide a safety net for completing tasks. If you finish earlier than expected, that’s a bonus – there is always an email that needs a response… always.
For many, having clearly defined boundaries between work and personal time is a necessity. This involves setting a defined work schedule and having the discipline to live by it. The schedule serves as a delineation between personal and work life, allowing not only greater focus to each, but also provides a means to a consistent balance between the two. An equally important boundary to set, at a more micro level, is to ensure you stay on track with your scheduled meetings/calls/tasks each day. Keeping these points in mind: to start and end on time, to not allow others to alter your agenda unless it’s urgent, and to communicate upfront with others that you have a hard stop or how much time you have to give. Stay in control of the time that has been allotted.
As I continue to focus daily on prioritizing, staying on track and in control of my schedule, I find myself more effective, focused and productive, all while obtaining a greater work-life balance. Isn’t that the goal? To me, yes and it comes down to using these skills to improve my time management skills.