Original post made in 2015, on my first blog "The Lead Mare".
"I wish I just had more time." "I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done." "I HAVE to do this task/project/request."
Have you found yourself muttering something like this within the past week?
You feel an almost constant tug. Muscles tighten, your breath is short and you feel your throat constrict.
When you’re doing one thing, you’re anxious about the ten other things you’re not doing. Or you’re worried about what’s coming up next. You often long for time for yourself…to do the things YOU really WANT to do.
Today, many of us live in an environment painted with the illusion of urgency. Lots of people feel a sense of entitlement, to get/have YOUR attention, IMMEDIATELY. "I need you NOW!"
Ding. You just got an “important” email.
Buzz. Your bff is texting you.
Chirp. Oh, you just got tweeted. #cool
Ring-Ring. Your biggest client is calling now and it’s an emergency.
Now you’re at a stoplight…better check your phone…something important is happening…
Do you have “FOMO” (fear of missing out)? Your phone battery is sucked dry before noon each day because you’re constantly checking in.
It’s madness. Really.
You can stop this madness. Today. Really.
I want you to breath this in mantra: My time, is MY time. I CHOOSE how I spend each minute. I create my own reality.
So here it is: Time management is all about choices.
It’s that simple. Choose crazy or choose cool.
Choose to be very a “important” person and fill every waking moment with urgent and important things or choose to be very effective, focusing on important but not urgent things (yes, I LOVE Stephen Covey and the Time Management Matrix).
You KNOW this.
So what’s the problem?
You’re being a puss.
Yup. I just said that.
And I’m going to go on…
You’re lacking COURAGE…to be YOU and to live a life that’s YOURS.
You’re REACTING to things that don’t really matter.
Perhaps you’re doing this to avoid having to get real with others (or even yourself) about what you truly want/need. You might even justify it by saying well, “It’s my job” or “I want to keep the peace” or “I am a servant heart.”
So then why do you feel exhausted, beautiful?
Why don’t you ever have that block of time that is just for YOU?
Maybe you’re even feeling a little resentful? All of these people…stealing your time.
But, you let them, darling.
The good news? You’re reading this post today…so I’d bet you’re ready to make a change. Congrats!
You can take off your puss pants, and step into your own BADASSery.
How? Check out these seven time tips:
Stay laser focused on YOU. What’s your purpose? What are your goals? What roles are most important to you? What’s the major cool thing you want to put out into the world? If you know your target(s), it’s easier to maneuver around ANYTHING that might get in the way (including other people’s agendas). Reconnect with YOUR truths EVERY day. Leadership (of self and of others) starts with an “inside-out” approach.
Get real with yourself about how much time things really take and schedule the right amount of time. I’m constantly thinking I can get things done in 30-minutes and then two hours later, I’m still not done. (Perfectionist much?) This under-estimating problem just leads to frustration. Be realistic. There is no prize for getting shit done faster…quality is better than speed. Schedule time for quality. Lately I’ve been guestimating how much time a project will take, and then doubling (or even sometimes tripling it) in my calendar. Then if I get done early, I have the gift of time!
Just BE. In the moment. Feel it. Be present. Be CURIOUS instead of crazed about time. Get over the “FOMO” and think “JOMO” (Joy of missing out). Fully occupy your space.
Say “No.” Unapologetically. When? Whenever a request is being made of you that isn’t a priority (for YOU). Think about #1…is the request aligned to YOU? If it doesn’t, you can say “No,” without a second thought. I know, this is easier said then done…and I know this from lots of experience of being a puss. But when you do own your passion and mission, saying “No,” feels good. Why? Because you’re actually saying YES to YOU. My favorite way to say “NO”: “Wow! I really appreciate you thinking of me, but I won’t be able to do this.” Will this approach piss some people off? Sure. But it doesn’t matter. Aim for ROCKSTAR status…not mediocrity. Here’s another scenario where you’ve got to hone your “No”: Meetings. My Husker Loving Hubby is a great model for me on this one. He reminds me that when a meeting is scheduled for an hour, it needs to be done in an hour. If the meeting moderator doesn’t adhere to the established time constraints, he will actually get up and walk out, even if it’s still going! That part gives me a little heartburn, but I love the principle! So, what do you do if you’re in the never-ending meeting and you still have agenda items to explore? It’s YOUR job to A) check-in and let the other person/people know you have a hard stop at X o’clock. Do this 5-10 minutes before your scheduled time is up B) make an offer to schedule another time to complete the work. Yes…you can stop the meeting. By continuing on and not saying a word, it shows people it’s ok to just steal your time…and they will do it again, and again. Don’t give your soul away. Say “No.”
If you really care…find someone else who can help with requests/tasks. This means you might need to LET GO of the need to do everything yourself. Yes, you can likely do it better than someone else, and you might need to coach them along the way, but who cares? Give someone else the gift of experience. Are you a leader or an island? If you have to say “No” it’s super awesome to provide an alternative like “I can’t help with this, but I know that Jill was looking for an opportunity to try her hand at this type of project. Have you asked her?”
Ask “Does it have to be done right NOW?” You might be surprised about the answers you get to this question. Don’t resign yourself to false deadlines. Most requests being thrown your way can be honored…later. AND the cool part? Whoever asked for your help with be HAPPY as a pig in shit! Tomorrow, or next Wednesday could be great alternatives to right now. Don’t assume you know the other person’s timeline.
Ask questions and shift priorities, ONLY when YOU want to. If the person making the request is your boss or someone you really respect or want to help, try to learn more about why their request appears so urgent. Perhaps you DO need to re-prioritize your tasks so you can help. Perhaps you Don’t… But, before you decide, you may need more information. Try something like this: “Please help me to understand…”
Why I need to drop my current priorities to fit this in?
How I can fit this task in with the other ten priorities I have on my plate right now?
Why do I need to be the one who does this?
Do you need someone to help you stay accountable to this tips? Someone to kick your butt when you fall off the wagon? Enlist a friend.
OR, I help people do epic shit all the time, and I can be part of YOUR journey to AWESOME. I can help you stay true to what YOU”RE being called to do. Shoot me an email at email@example.com and we can chat about how this can work.
Time is a dance. You learn and you grow. Some days you’re stronger than others, but each day is a new opportunity to choose.
What choices are you making today?