CBP1025814I was having a hard time getting inspired to write a blog.  That doesn’t often happen!  I woke up this morning thinking about all the things I want to do…and the little bit of time there is in the day.  Health coaches in particular have found themselves in a bit of a time crunch and I am not sure that we all realize the true impact of healthy living has made on our lives.

Society spent decades gaining technological and time saving advances.  During this time, we got pretty used to not spending our time growing our own food, going to the market daily for fresh foods, preparing 3+ meals a day, walking to get what we wanted, researching anything we wanted (beyond google), cleaning our homes with elbow grease instead of super heavy-duty chemicals or even doing our shopping at the store instead of Amazon.com.

Not only did we save time with conveniences, we filled our time with other things.  Women became full time workers, business owners and/or fund raisers, we fill our time with learning new things.  We have mastered social media and created whole new international relationships online.

All these things take up our day….and now, we are bringing much of what technology took away….back into our lives.

This is much more of an issue than time management.  Sometimes running to the pantry to open a can, throw it in the microwave and eat a hot meal sounds awfully tempting…as long as we don’t think about the health repercussions.  Just so we can get back and take care of pressing customer service issues, new product production, keeping up with a new project a member of our “tribe” has going…..

For most of us this isn’t an option.  We got to where we are today because of health issues brought on by the decades of technological advances.  It is an evil circle.

I have seen time management become as much of a time burden for some people…as a time saver.  But, something has to give someplace.  This is not a full time job…it should take 15 minutes weekly and 5-10 minutes daily.

Stephen Covey is still a good person to fall back on.

Weekly

  1. Review your roles.  (Physical, Social, Mental, Spiritual)  This is the “sharpen the saw” step.  If you don’t take care of these on a daily/weekly basis, your life starts to show signs of strain.  The roles and responsibilities are not always the same, but as long as you review them and take them into consideration, you should not find your life out of whack too often.
  2. Choose big rocks. Ask yourself this every day; “What is the most important thing I can do in this role this week that would have the greatest positive impact?”
  3. Schedule your week.  Get the big things done, then fill in the rest.

Daily

  1. Check your appointments for the day.  These are fixed commitments to yourself or others whom you have promised time to.
  2. Make a realistic list.  This doesn’t mean your task list is completed from top to bottom.  After you check your appointments for the day, you can estimate how much time you have left and fill the time in.
  3. Prioritize your list.  This is one of the most relevant steps you take.  This keeps non-important activities from overtaking the most important events.

By keeping track of your activities, prioritizing and reorganizing…you get to the next step…the things that you need to either eliminate or delegate.

If it is more important that you spend time with your kids, put in a 12 hour day of work, eat well and get a workout in.  What are you willing to give up – OR – what can someone else do for you?  If you are lucky like I am, you can delegate to your husband.  (I haven’t always been in a position to do this).  He can go to the grocery store, do the laundry and prepare certain meals.  Maybe he can even take the kids to and from activities…maybe not.

Sometimes it isn’t what you want to delegate…but what you can delegate, because someone else is able or willing to do it for you.

That is where your values and roles come in.  Will you regret the time not spent taking your children to school or yoga after they grow up and move away from home?  These are the decisions that can be made and not regretted if you plan your time now.  Will you regret the time spent cleaning your house after your kids grow up and move away from home?  For me that was a no-brainer.  I have always held the need for a clean home at the top of my list, but figured if I was going to spend time working – my spare time would be with my family and not cleaning the house.  I have found a way to afford house cleaning since my children were small.  In retrospect, there were things that might have been gained by spending time as a family cleaning.  My daughter in law especially would have appreciated not having to train my son in that regard.

Now we are back to my dilemma.  I am growing two extremely busy businesses.  I have a family and home to maintain.  I must exercise daily.  I must prepare special foods daily.  I was maintaining all of this in a pretty healthy balance with the help of a good business and family team.  BUT…all I have to do is throw one want into the situation and the whole thing gets thrown off again… I want to grow my own food.  I KNOW I don’t have any more time in my day or week.  My options are to either incorporate it into another activity…throw another honey-do on the pile for my husband….or hire someone else to do it.  I think I will put that decision off until next weekend.

When you think about it, this is a big incentive to learn to say “no” too.  Kora’s school needed a volunteer coordinator badly this year…that is something I could jump on…it is also something that could have thrown everything out of wack…almost like a third business.  I said no.

Sometimes time management is much more than creating time in the day for something…it is asking for help, saying no, negotiating trade-offs and incorporating new options.

What are you wrestling with right now?  Share with us …along with how you have or will handle it.  While you are at it…PLEASE share any “beyond time management tips” with us!  Share this post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter….

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18 Comments

  1. Christie Halmick

    I will choose work in the garden over just about everything else! Last spring was the first time I really devoted myself to gardening since my kids came along. It’s critical self-care for me. A couple of hours in the garden and some homegrown tomatoes to show for my effort and I’m a happy gal!

    Reply
    • Cathy

      I will be anxious to see your “crop”! I would love to garden with a couple of those tower gardens …so I don’t have to kneel on the hard ground while I garden. I think we might have to do teamwork and make it into a family project.

      Reply
  2. Angela Privin

    My best time management tip that I use for myself is basically lowering the bar (my expectations) about what I SHOULD be able to accomplish in the day. I think most women torture themselves with their high expectations about what they should be able to accomplish. I am happy to say that I have finally hired some house cleaners also and occasionally I use a dog walker. Delegating and lowering my expectations of myself is what keeps me healthy and sane. This is such a relevant blog post, thanks for sharing your insight on this universal topic.

    Reply
    • Cathy

      Angela, that is one to add in…give yourself a break…that’s a good one.

      Reply
  3. Jussie

    Fantastic blog post! I will be sure to put number 2 from the daily section in to action… My task list can often feel never ending. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Hayley Hobson

    This is an amazing blog. Good thing something came out of you, because I appreciated what you had to convey and am going to pass this on to my assistant who always complains about ‘having time management issues.’ Thanks, Cathy. Super inspiring.

    Reply
  5. Mindy Crary | Creative Money

    I love how you broke it all down to include the tactics AND the challenges of time management! I know that when I blow stuff off (like exercise), I notice that I don’t have any EXTRA time, really–it’s like time expands to include the important things in my life if I do them, but if I don’t, there is no bonus for me. The more balanced I stay, the more stuff gets done. Great post!

    Reply
  6. Rommy

    Thank you Cathy…I’m learning. My hubby says I try to cram 20lbs worth of stuff into a 5lb bag. Even though I want to do it all, doing it all wont make me happier. Love this! Learning to plan my week and keep my appointments to myself is going to be one of my treasured tools.

    Reply
  7. Wendy

    You came through again Cathy with a strong inspiration for your blog that resonates with me and my need and desire to work on my time management. As you mentioned that there are so many hours in a day, it helps that you broke down what we can do with them. Bravo and well done —-thanks too! Your rock!

    Reply
  8. Shelley Haiken

    Thanks for the great tips. Time management is so important these days because we are all trying to do more and more every day. So many of us, including myself, have a full time job with several hours a day commuting, as well as trying to start a business. It’s really a struggle sometimes to try to find the right balance.

    Reply
  9. Jenn Morgan

    I love your clarity on Stephen Covey steps. In my workbook, I have the time management square (urgent, not urgent, important, not important). I personally love the Important and not urgent space the best.

    My tip: I am my most happy when my list of ‘to-do’ has like 2 things on it. It took me YEARS to get that honest with myself, but I am so much happier. If I get 1 thing done everyday that’s just for me, and 1 thing that is moves me forward in any area of my life, then I feel so good. I like to stay here, so I keep it simple.

    Reply
  10. Renee

    Yum, take back our lives form technology by getting a hold of the things that seem easy. I am recently experiencing that the short cuts given to me in life are not short cuts but a bit lazy in energy. I am going to apply having a realistic list for my things to do by instead of having 5 things a day down to 2 or 3 starting today.

    Reply
  11. Pam Pearson

    My time management challenge is learning to say “no”. Whether I just don’t have to do something at all. That could be a work related or a personal task. Even as simple as not chasing after the “technology” that life has pressed upon me. I took my work email off my smart phone because I found myself going to it when it “dinged” vs. when it was convenient for me. Technology is to be there to help me not hurt me. I just don’t need to “do it all” anymore!

    Reply
  12. Johanna LeClair

    Thanks for the helpful tips, Cathy! You are a true master! In regards to growing your own food do you have a farm share that you can use? You should check them out–in my area we have farm shares and you pay a set about and then pick up your goods weekly, this can be fresh breads, fruits & veg, eggs, milk, honey– others–some also have plots of land that you can rent and maintain or hire someone to take care of 🙂

    Reply
  13. Kathleen Prophet

    Cathy… deeply appreciate this conversation! So MUCH has changed… IS changing… and is continuing to. Somehow must find our way midst all the change. One of things I have realized is to delegate more in my biz. It is so vital for me to have the personal engagement with my family that things like cleaning and cooking give me. Also, note to youuuuu… is that working in the garden would be SO healing and grounding, as well as inspiring.

    One of the critical things we need to remember is that the best work on your business is not always to work on it. It is VITAL that we include our right brain which means that doing things like digging in the earth can actually draw out a solution to some challenge in your biz your wrestling with. I like to do movement, as well as paint, or draw holding a particular issue lightly in mind. I may freely mind map with images rather than words, or just draw the conflict as a monster which morphs into a helper, angel, goddess.

    So that would be my recommendation. Rather than seeing gardening as taking you away from your biz. Knowing that it will actually help “seed new ideas and grow them”. We must remember we are WHOLE beings!

    Thank you, Cathy!

    Reply
    • Cathy

      That is funny Kathleen, work for me is relaxing and enjoyable, the gardening is another thing I feel like I need to do. Now…on the other hand, if it was a nice massage or facial…that would be a “calgon take me away” thing!

      Reply
  14. Kim Harris

    This topic makes me giggle. I just got over this little molehill recently myself. Being a “Do it all mom and wife” for pretty much all my life took a lot out of me (in my own brain) when I had to give up “doing it all”. I really did not see myself as dysfunctional(running in circles,stressed out) until my husband looked at me and said…”You know honey, I am capable of washing the dishes and doing laundry”. It never occurred to me he wanted to help do these things. I knew he was capable. He has actually done laundry. *smile. I think I was stuck in the old fashion MOM does it all. That was actually a thought in my head, not the kids or my husband. So now I sit and write or work on my website, or go jogging guiltless and happy while my husband is happily doing the vacuuming. LOL. Thank you Cathy for All you do in this world. I Love being a part of THCG.
    Kim

    Reply
  15. Janet Bernstein

    This post was right up my alley. We are getting ready to redo the floors in our house. What that relates to is packing up EVERYTHING as if we were moving. I just can’t focus on that right now. I need to consider it a BIG ROCK and schedule 2 hours a day to it… and just get it done!

    Reply

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