Intentional time management: it’s creating good habits by intentionally scheduling your day, and is the number one, simple way to find extra time, and work smarter, not harder.
The key is intention otherwise, it’s fantasy time management and you’re at the mercy of other’s needs and, well…luck. With intention comes choice. You get to decide.
Pssst: Did you know? Every time you become distracted, it takes an average of 15-minutes to regain complete focus. Distractions, including multi-tasking, cost you not only valuable time but valuable brainpower.
Unless you are employing intentional time management, there is a very good chance that you operate in a constant state of unfocused, reactive response. You’re in a state of reacting to the needs or interjections of those distractions (e.g., email, phone calls, text messages, voicemail, etc). To avoid this loop, set time blocks for routine tasks like responding to emails or checking social media – and stick to that limit.
Helpful hint: Intentionally planning gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. Your simple job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.
It’s as easy as spending just 15-minutes at the end of your workday to plan your next day. Schedule, schedule, schedule. I mean every little thing. Wait to figure it out in the morning and you’ll procrastinate just in trying to decide what to do that day.
Once you have all the Must-Dos blocked out, you can see the white space (or lack of) on your calendar. Don’t fret! Lots of my clients freak out at this point…
But here’s the great news: with a real (not imagined) handle on your commitments, you can make empowered choices on how to tweak your day (i.e exercise closer to home to save on drive time, up your carpool game to eliminate kid-taxiing, pull out the crockpot to streamline meal prep).
As you master intentionally planning your day, you will experience a new, lovely flow – time will go by far more smoothly than ever before. You will feel more powerful and competent. You have created effortless momentum!
Now that you’ve decided your schedule, you can prioritize your daily to-do-list.
Do your most important task during your most productive time. Here’s when something should earn a spot on this more limited, precious list:
- It makes you money
When time is tight, reaching out to a new client or following up on that client generating lead is more important than getting to the bottom of your inbox. Prioritize those activities that are related to sales or marketing.
- It lightens your mental load
Sometimes a difficult task will take on a scary fantasy quality, seeming like a bigger deal or project than it really is and you will have the urge to bump it down the list. Procrastinating and avoiding wastes precious emotional energy and brain space!
If you’re worried about a difficult phone call, don’t fret about it all week. Just schedule it first thing. You’ll get it done, and can then devote your attention to knocking off other priorities.
- It can only be done today
Some tasks are more time-sensitive than others. If you need feedback on something that is due tomorrow, you will need to prioritize calling or emailing your trusted sources. If it doesn’t happen today, it won’t. If you need it to happen, it goes on the list.
When prioritizing your day, don’t forget to make that list of tasks that you can hand off to someone else and schedule in the time to do it!
And remember to give yourself credit (and time) for doing the Life Chores. Take satisfaction in running your household well. Ticking those simple things (laundry, dusting, feeding the lizard) off your list gets credit!
The benefits of intentional time management are that you work smarter not harder and have energy at the end of your day. Go get ’em!