How To Make The Time You Have Work For You

How To Make The Time You Have Work For You

What is your relationship with time and how well do you manage it?

When I am working with workshop participants and clients on building their businesses, upgrading their careers, making necessary transitions in their daily lives, and taking bold leaps, they often want to quickly dive into setting goals and creating actions items. I love their excitement and commitment to getting started, but there is one thing I need to know before we can move in that direction.  I want to know how they’re currently using their time.

The responses that have stood out the most are:

  • My calendar is always so full.
  • I’m often overscheduled and double booked.
  • I like to make lists and then try to fit things in when it feels right.
  • I never have enough time.
  • My time slips away so easily. One minute it’s 8:00am – and then I look up and it’s 2:00pm.
  • Five minutes feels like 60 minutes to me. I’m terrible with managing my time.
  • My time is not my own.
  • I wish I had more time to do the things I really want and to rest.
  • Timing is never right for me to work on my goals. I’m hoping that’ll change when my kids are older.
  • My time belongs to everyone else. I’m not sure where I fit on my schedule anymore.
  • I barely have enough time to get my current stuff done. Adding one more thing will possibly make me snap.

Any of those sound familiar?

When any of us what to seize an opportunity, make changes, and go for it, we need to focus our attention on priorities, self-care, and time. You have to be willing to practice the art of subtraction so we can focus on the right things create space for our goals and aspirations.

Time is very valuable to all of us, but many of us see it slipping through our fingers. Our weeks go by quickly. The months come and go, and then a new year starts. We wonder why we have not completed tasks we intended do. We have not been able to check off activities that keep us thriving. We find ourselves caught up doing and doing and not certain why things are that way.

We all know we have a certain amount of time each day, but the requests, shoulds, musts, and “have tos” seem to bulldoze their way into premium timeslots.

What can we do about this?

Be diligent about protecting your time.

Here are 24 things to consider when you’re practicing the art of subtraction to make room to pursue your goals:

  1. Visualize how you will use your time each day.
  2. Say YES to yourself.
  3. Do not compete with others in how they are getting things done.
  4. Identify when your most productive hours are during the day and guard that time.
  5. Do not volunteer just because everybody else is doing it.
  6. Establish a “does this really matter” filter before adding something to your calendar.
  7. Let people pleasing go.
  8. Do one thing at a time.
  9. Declutter your living and work spaces.
  10. If an opportunity is presented to you and now is not a good time, ask the person to circle back and ping you.
  11. Turn your mobile phone off at a designated time each day.
  12. Say good-bye to the snooze button.
  13. Align your actions with your values.
  14. Ask for help.
  15. Review your vision board weekly.
  16. Accept you cannot do it all.
  17. Make a phone call in order to avoid email pile up.
  18. Make sure your deadlines are reasonable.
  19. Draft a script to support you in protecting your time.
  20. Avoid creating systems that hold you hostage.
  21. Be clear on how much time you really need to get something done – add 10 minutes.
  22. If someone comes to you with a challenge, be clear whether you are the right person to help them solve it. It is OK to suggest other resources.
  23. Break up with the fear of missing out.
  24. Schedule downtime and time off.

How diligent are you about protecting your time? What changes, if any, do you plan to make?

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Kanesha Baynard
Kanesha Baynard is a certified life coach, educator, facilitator, blogger, and crafter. Kanesha trained directly with the masterful Martha Beck, monthly columnist for O, Oprah’s Magazine.