One of the challenges of time management is that many people don’t think of time in terms of a commodity that consistently depletes. 

A great illustration that drives this point home, was a conversation between two people around the concept. The interviewer asked a man in his forties if his parents were still alive.

Man: Yes

Interviewer: How often do you see them?

Man: About twice a year, we live far away, but try to see them when we can. 

Interviewer: How old would you say your parents are?

Man: Mid 70’s probably. 

Interviewer: So if you look at the average life span, let’s say they have 5 years left. 5 years may seem like a long time, but if you only see them twice a year, that means you only have 10 more in-person interactions with them before they are gone. How does that impact how you think of that time with them?

The man went on to say how it would make him prioritize his time in order to see them more. 

The point of the story is not to guilt you into changing how often you visit your parents (although you may want to give them a call more often), it’s to help you see that in order to maximize your time and how you spend it, you might need to think of time in different terms than you normally do.

Think of time management as a habit and skill that you develop

What you are about to do is start a habit in your life and it will likely require that you give other habits up. Stick with it and remember that phrase”progress over perfection.”  Think of something at work or in life that was difficult for you to pick up, but now comes easy for you. Time management may be an adjustment, but it will become much easier as you do it.

Prioritizing your time

When you think about the activities and things that you accomplish on a daily, tasks will nearly fall into 3 Types of priorities

  • Urgent
  • Vital
  • Important

Urgent would be an item that is directed as such from corporate, your employees, customers, or yourself as an immediate action or an item that seriously impacts the team or guests and require immediate action.

Vital would be an item that has to be executed for the success of your business.

Important would be items that need to be completed in a timely manner and can often (and should) be delegated to your team. 

There are also low-priority items. All of these items should be delegated out to your team and not done yourself.

It’s very important to plan these times to your calendar and set aside time for planning itself. Some people would see this as losing their freedom to be flexible. They are partially correct. It does take away your freedom…. freedom to waste time. You can schedule time off or free time as well.

Self-Reflection question: What do immediately think of when you think of urgent and vital items? Do those tasks change in priority based on circumstances?

Time Management Activity: Gain control of your email

Your email inbox is a reflection of your time management and your ability to stay organized (which is also tied to time management.) If you have hundreds of emails in your inbox then you likely have an opportunity to better manage your resources here. 

I also consider my inbox as a to-do list. If I have more than 10 emails after a 48 hr period, then my email management is moving up my priority list. That means I have to go through and clean out the clutter (archive or delete) before I read what really needs to be read.

Things to consider:

-Organizing your email if you are concerned you will lose something. Create folders and archive important messaging into there. I have folders for projects/reviews/the show/races etc. 

-Delete or archive any other unneeded emails and begin leveraging the search function to find previous emails as needed. 

-Make sure you respond timely to an email from your leader and clients. It shows that you have control of your resources and are dependable.

-Unsubscribe from lists and promotions that you are no longer interested in to drop the level of noise in your inbox. 

How many emails are in your inboxes right now? How many are unread?  Think of your inbox as your house. Sometimes it gets messy, but it always feels good and is less stressful when it’s clean. We’ve gotten that same kind of feedback consistently over the years that we have taught Time Management to others. They didn’t appreciate how much their email was subtly increasing their stress levels. 

Homework before the next segment

  • Work on getting your personal and professional email inboxes organized, sorted, and filed before our next segment. 
  • Reflect on how you prioritize your time. Take notes of what is urgent, vital, important, and not important. 

Today is the beginning of creating (or reinforcing) great time management behaviors that will impact your life in ways you likely haven’t fully realized yet. Next time, we’ll talk through systems that you can use to get a hold of and ahead on time planning. 

Make a better tomorrow.