Organization and productivity are always a top New Years Resolutions so this week I want to give you 2 tips to manage time better in 2021.
With a new year on the horizon, you might be getting melancholy about what could have been (2020, am I right?). You might be getting amped up to do ALL THE THINGS and become a NEW YOU IN THE NEW YEAR.
I would like to invite you to look at time management through a new lens.
Time Management Paradigm Shift
Instead of fitting more into the time you have available, maybe you could determine if something needs to get your time in the first place. By tracking your time, you can see what is occupying your days and especially the productive hours of those days.
“If you frequently fall victim to procrastination, study yourself for a couple of weeks, by keeping a log.”
Julie Morgenstern, Author of Never Check Email in the Morning
Let’s take a look at each of the two tips to manage time better in 2021.
Tip One – Doing the Right Things
It does not matter how great time management system is if you are not working on the right things. Sure we all get those monkeys thrown at us throughout the day. But what are you starting with? How do you select the three big rocks to build your day around?
When we talk about relationships in the Sustainable You course, we are talking about 2 different kinds – internal and external. Doing the right things starts with that internal relationship.
One of the most important – some would argue THE most important – relationship we have in our lives is the one we have with our spiritual center. Some people call this God, some people call this Higher Power, some people refer to it as the Universe or Mother Earth. What they all have in common is that our connection to this relationship is usually described the same way.
A calm, settled feeling when you know something is right. You know YOU are alright. Like everything is dropping into place – even if problems are not solved. It is where you find your center in the middle of an unsettling situation.
Planning your day is an active task. It is not passively accepting appointments and requests from everyone else. Even if the job you get paid to do is filled with that type of activity, your time outside of work is not.
Be intentional about sitting quietly to plan your day. Ask yourself a few questions:
- What activities would really move the needle in a Sustainably Productive way?
- How much time would that take?
- Is there a way to break that down further to make it a realistic task for tomorrow?
As you answer these questions, check in with your inner self. Pray, meditate, or just notice if making this plan for tomorrow is causing anxious feelings in your gut or feels calm and focused.
Now onto the second tip to manage time better.
Tip Two – Doing Things Right
Many planners have a section to plan out your days. I reversed this and used that section of my Renew Planner to track my time. This truly gave life to the Stephen Cover phrase, “Begin with the end in mind.” By changing my schedule and habits before really finding out where my time was going seemed like jumping off a diving board without finding out if it was indeed a pool that I would be landing in.
What I found was that I was handing my most productive time of my day over to social media. I am sharpest in the morning, plus have less competing priorities before breakfast. It is unlikely that my day job will schedule a meeting at 6:30am or that my teenagers will all of a sudden want to acknowledge my existence at that time.
Bonus finding is that I was draining my positive mood with that social media scroll. Seeing arguments on Facebook or unattainable perfection on Pinterest was an energy vampire. I felt defeated and grumpy before my feet even hit the floor.
The adjustment I made was to save my scroll for after breakfast. When the alarm goes off, I check to see if there were emergencies overnight. But this is very limited. I scan any texts or email (not replying yet). I see if any calls came in – it would have to be an emergency for someone to use a phone to place an actual call to me, right?! Then I check Timehop to see all the fun stuff that happened in my world in previous years at this time. Then my feet hit the ground.
By doing things in the right order, I maximize my productive time. I get more of the right things done.
I invite you to try these tips to manage time better as we move into a fresh new year. Your planner might have a space for this or you can download the free Sustainable You Time Tracker. Find out where your time is going, then start to make adjustments to choosing the right things to do, then doing them right!