It’s entirely possible to have “good” time management skills, be highly productive, maintain a work/life balance, and still feel unfulfilled at the end of every day.
Mastering the art of time management isn’t just about cramming as much activity into your time as is possible. Good time management is actually about using your time in a way that lets you get all the non-negotiable stuff done at work and home and engage in the things that are the most meaningful for you. Good time management prioritizes the things that are most essential, in your business and in the rest of your life.
When you’re really clear about how to maximize your limited time to achieve the things you care about the most, you can end each day with a sense of satisfaction and peace. Even at the end of those crazy days—when a dozen things go wrong and you feel like you dropped all the balls—it’s great to be able to say: “I still managed to get X, Y and Z done, those were the most meaningful and important things today, and everything else can wait.”
Are You Using Your Time Management for the Most Meaningful Activities?
First, let’s agree that we all want to use our time in a way that feels meaningful and important and personally fulfilling. You’d love to spend more quality time with a loved one or walking dogs at an animal rescue or doing one of a hundred things that make your heart feel good! Cold-calling prospective clients and emailing your accountant and washing the dishes are tasks that probably don’t light you up in the same way.
A lot of stuff has to get done every day that doesn’t excite you or engage your heart and mind, and that’s okay. All I’m advocating here is that you’re giving some time to those most meaningful activities, every single day.
Are you already doing that?
To figure it out: here’s the quick experiment I’m asking you to try!
First, think about the activities that are most meaningful and important to you personally. Think about everyday moments when you feel really engaged, totally plugged in, happy, peaceful, proud of yourself—what are the activities that give you those kinds of feelings? You might come up with a mix of personal and professional activities.
Narrow them down to the three most meaningful and important things that you want to be part of your daily life. Your list might look totally different depending on your business and your goals, but as an example, let’s say you come up with:
- Quality time with every member of your family
- Volunteering your time/doing acts of service to help others
- Connecting one-on-one with clients
Now pull up your calendar from this past week. How many of those activities did you actually engage in each day?
➡ If you usually did all three on most days: Excellent, keep it up!
➡ If you usually did one or two out of the three: Okay, there’s some room for improvement. Ask yourself, what’s one thing I can change so I’m able to create time for all three?
➡ If you usually did zero of those meaningful activities: This is a wake-up call! You need to figure out where you’re wasting your time, get rid of those distractions and make a plan to get the most important things into your schedule every day.
3 More Tips for Using Your Time Meaningfully
- Keep working on and refining your list of activities that are most important to you. Not only will your priorities shift over time, but you might decide you actually want to commit to making time for more than three highly meaningful activities every day. Or you might start talking about your list with your partner and friends and come away with a new perspective on which activities should top your list.
- Notice the moments when you feel like you’re wasting your time. Not just the moments when you’re being actively unproductive (like when you spend an hour scrolling through social media), but also the moments when you’re plugging away at some task and thinking “I have more important things to do!” What steps could you take that would let you spend less time on those things?
- Think about spending your time like you think about spending your money. We learn from a young age to protect our money and only spend it on things that are either essentials or things that bring us joy. As adults, we constantly run mental calculations before spending money, weighing multiple factors to decide whether a certain item or service is “worth” the price. Time is a precious and finite resource too! Notice the moments when you’re making decisions about spending your time and ask yourself, “Is [X] activity worth [Y] of my valuable time?” Just like your money, you can’t get your time back—so spend carefully!
Need help using time management to do more of the meaningful things?
If you’re sick of wasting time on things that aren’t important and crave more time for your most meaningful work, join me for Time Matters Boot Camp LIVE! Over the course of this core productivity and time management training, you’ll learn how to take control of your time so you can move your business forward, work more efficiently and have the time you want for everything on the personal side.
TMBC LIVE! is totally virtual and runs from November 30th through December 2nd, so you can get your new time management system in place before the December chaos kicks off. If you register by 11/15, you can join the pre-event call that will help you discover time wasters and time robbers so you can get these meaningful and important things into your day. Register by 11/20 to take advantage of early bird pricing and get access to everything for an investment of just $297.
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