Today’s world is fast paced and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. It’s easy to be busy, busy, busy yet feel unfulfilled and empty. Many days are spent boarding the daily treadmill, going through the motions of life, stepping off into bed to get up and repeat it the next day.
Would you like to have more time to do the things that bring you joy either at work or at home? I can hear your resounding YES from here! One of the best ways to free up time is to get real with exactly how you are currently spending your time then make decisions to change what you are doing.
The most powerful tool available and at our fingertips every day to help us add more meaning into our day is the calendar. The calendar is more than an organizational tool used to put appointments in to make sure we show up in the right place at the right time. It’s an opportunity to be engaged and decide what gets to occupy each precious block of time in our day. Decision is the key to changing the feeling of being on the treadmill. Decision places us in a driver’s seat of choice and reminds us to remember, time is a nonrenewable resource.
Today, I’d like to share with you a few successful tips and tricks to help you take back the ownership of your calendar.
A great place to start is to identify the time of day you do your best work. Is it early morning, after coffee mid-morning, after lunch or some other time? Try to keep some of this time protected for creative thinking, development of new or existing work or any major decisions needing to be made.
Review the meetings on your calendar. Create 3 buckets for them:
- “Keep” bucket: You’re an active participant, decision maker and influencer.
- “Curious” bucket: You’re an occasional contributor; you relay information to or for the group to others. This bucket provides you an opportunity to explore alternative ways to exchange information with others in an effective way. Perhaps the meeting format could be altered to do a standing huddle to exchange necessary information, which would allow the time allotted for this process to be decreased. Would it be possible to hold a virtual huddle using a technology that allows you to see each other while exchanging information yet decreasing the time spent traveling to the meeting?
- “Action” bucket: You say to yourself before each of these meetings, “Why do I attend this meeting? It’s a complete waste of my time.” This is a signal to DO something different. This bucket provides an opportunity to be curious and decide if this is a productive use of your time or not. It can be helpful to have a conversation with the meeting organizer to determine if it would make more sense to have another member of your team attend and/or perhaps you only need to be kept in the communication loop.
Identify the top three items to be completed for the current day. Prioritize them and then focus on one at a time. Avoid multitasking to maximize your attention to the task at hand and take it through to completion or a natural stopping point before moving to the next item on the list.
Eliminate interruptions. Some of my clients have had great success by creating “open office hours.” These are designated times their door is wide open and they are accessible to their team for questions, conversation, or an ad hoc huddle to keep projects moving.
As new ideas pop into your mind throughout the day, jot them down as soon as you are able to so you will remember to go back to them when you have time to explore them. This may be a great list to explore in the time you have set aside for creative thinking.
There are many other effective strategies to help you return to a place of owning your calendar. These are a simple few ones to get you started. I encourage you to pick one to try out by using it for a week and discover what you learn from the experience.
Let me know which one you try and how it works for you. If you would like to talk more about other strategies or how to take a more in-depth look at how you spend your time, click here to set up a complimentary discovery session with me today.