Just recently I attended a meeting for women entrepreneurs.It specifically was set up to support women with children who are also runningtheir own businesses. We were asked what the single greatest challenge was tosetting up our own business. There was one answer that everyone withoutexception gave. This was simply to FindThe Time! Another common theme was dealing with Procrastination.
I am the Queen of the ‘To Do List’ and I typically I writemy To Do list in the morning when I finally get kids off to school and OH out the door! I am remarkable for the depth and detail of the List, which my OH finds hilarious. However as a result I can feel that I have way too much to deal with in the limited time I dohave available. So, then I tend to get involved in other things and divertedinto a morass of daily routine tasks. As a result my To Do List is remarkablein how little it changes from month to month, and even dare I say it – from year to year.
So in my drive to manage my time more effectively I havebeen delving into advice and expertise of those who have found some solutionsto these problems.
Top Tips for FindingTime
1. Take time out forConnection
My Fabulous Coach, Corrina Gordon Barnes of ‘You Inspire Me’,recommends that you give yourself at least 10 mins a day to meditate, read thepaper, talk to the flowers in your garden or window box, go for a walk, or lighta candle or say a prayer. The point of this pause in the day is that it givesyour psyche a chance to calm down and to step away from the hurly of running sofast that you never really get anything significant done. In that time you giveyourself a chance to gain perspective, to focus on the big picture and toconnect to whatever drives and motivates you. This brings clarity to ‘The List’and for me often helps me to really narrow down my list to one or two realpriorities that I need to focus on.
2. Divide up your TO DO list into the Covey Quadrant
This idea, from the well known book by Stephen Covey, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, is that you take your master list and break it down into manageable sections and these include:
DO IT NOW:
Your Do it list is the things that must be done ASAP otherwise the world will crumble apart… ie pay bills, get your child’s parents evening appointment slip in, make that important phone call etc etc
These are important things but ones that can be done in the future. So get your diary out and write down the deadlines that are coming up
Buy birthday gifts, send cards, get a report written, make appointments to see colleagues etc
Is there anything in your world that is taking up time but someone else could do for you? Simple changes in routine could free up big chunks of time for getting on with your DO ITS! A simple example from my life is not doing all the school drop offs and pick ups – my Other Half is happy to do his share, I just have to put him on notice soon enough that he can sort out the logistics with his workplace.
What things do you get up to that eat away your time?
Examples from my life –
Checking email / facebook multiple times per day
Playing my favourite online game (yes – I have to face it, I am slightly addicted)
3. Turn your TO DOlist into a DO IT NOW List
This tip comes from a hugely inspiring book called “How to save anhour every day – guaranteed” by Michael Heppell.He recommends that you write a list of only 5 things in the evening. Thepremise is that you only write down the things that you know you willactually do. You limit yourself to 5 important things that areachievable and you do this at the end of each day. While you sleep yoursubconscious can plan your strategies for completing your task list. By limiting the list to 5 items, you avoid becoming boggeddown in overwhelm, which is for me is the first step towards dealing withprocrastination! Which brings me on to the thorny issue of dealing with timewasting.
4. DON’T DO IT list
Again, a tip from Michael Heppell – killing the time wastersin your life is a major step towards finding time to do things that have morevalue to you. He suggests drawing up a list of things you have decided not todo, or to limit your time for doing. For example this could include:
– Havinga social media detox
– Limiting the time that you are available online or checking your emails
– Choosing certain tasks that you will pay or ask someone else to do in order to free up your time -i.e. cleaning, gardening and taxi-ing family members around
5. Dreaming – Make a list of thethings that you would love to do if you just had an extra hour of time in yourlife?
For me that list includes:
· Reading a book in bed
· Making time to see precious friends
· Having a whole bath without having anydisruptions or an audience of children
· Having time to work on my business ideas to turnthem from dreams into reality
It is really important to have that list ready and waitingfor two reasons –
1) Motivation – if you know what it is you are working towards it makes it so much easier to get it done.
2) Sothat when the time comes you know what to do with your spare time!
Feedback from you…
> How doyou make space in your life for the really important things?
> Have youany top tips for women trying to juggle work and life to find that elusive‘balance’?
> Do youhave any practical tools that you use to manage your time well?