Health coaches in particular have found themselves in a bit of a time crunch and I am not sure that we realize the true impact healthy living has made on our lives. Society has spent decades gaining technological and time saving advances. During this time, we got used to not spending our time growing our own food or going to the market daily for fresh foods and preparing 3+ meals a day. We stopped walking to get what we wanted, researching anything we wanted (beyond Google), cleaning our homes with elbow grease instead of super heavy-duty chemicals and even doing our shopping at the store instead of online.
Not only did we save time with conveniences, we filled our time with other things such as continued learning, community groups, businesses and working longer hours, mastering social media and creating new international relationships online. All these things take up our day. Now we are bringing back much of what technology took away, we are bringing them back into our lives. The forces at work here are much larger than simply managing our time, and that can create a lot of pressure to “do it right”. Sometimes running to the pantry, opening a can of food, microwaving it and eating a hot meal can sound very tempting…as long as we ignore the health repercussions.
We use these conveniences so we can get back and take care of pressing customer service issues, new product production or keeping up with a new project a member of our tribe has going. For most of us, these conveniences are not 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 cycle. .I have seen time management become a burden as much as a time saver. Something has got to give. This is not a full time job, it should take 15 minutes weekly and 5-10 minutes daily. When it comes to time management, renowned leadership and personal development expert Stephen Covey remains one of the most cited resources for simple systems that work.
- Check your appointments for the day
- Estimate how much time is left
- Prioritize your list
- Track your activities
- Eliminate and delegate
Check your appointments for the day. These are fixed commitments to yourself or others whom you have promised time to 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.
Prioritize your list. This is one of the most relevant steps you take.
This keeps non-important activities from overtaking those of most importance. 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.
What is more important? Spending time with your kids, putting in a 12 hour work day, eating well, or getting a work out in? What are you willing to give up? What can someone else do for you? If you are lucky like I am, you can delegate to your partner (I haven’t always been in a position to do this). They can go to the grocery store, do the laundry and prepare certain meals, maybe they can even take the kids to and from activities. Sometimes you may not be able to delegate what you want to, but maximizing on others skills and help should allow you to delegate some tasks. This is where your values and roles come in. Once your children grow up and move away, will you regret not taking them to school or yoga? 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? Maybe not.
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.
- Review your roles
- Identify your “big rocks”
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.
Identify where your big “rocks” fit inside the time management quadrant. This model of time management forces us to step back from the business and be absolutely sure that managing the immediate and urgent priorities of our life and businesses, while also taking steps that are not urgent but are very important to building our future.
Taking a few minutes weekly and daily to manage your time allows you to get more done and opens you up to more productive pursuits.
How do you manage your time? Share with us in the comments below.