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Try THIS Time Management Strategy

DO THIS ONE THING IF YOU WANT TO BECOME AN EXPERT IN YOUR OWN TIME MANAGEMENT. 

 

Prefer to learn on video? Watch here: 

Hi, my name is Lily. I’m a behavior change coach and the director of coaching and training development at Body Brain Alliance

Today, you’re going to uncover the #1 tip I give clients who want to improve their time management skills and be able to become a master at being more efficient with their time. 

It all starts with a Time Audit.

So let me tell you a little story… 

 

I had a client come to me once and say, “I really want to improve my time management skills. I feel like I’m just flying by my day and I look at my to-do list, and I’m not getting any of the things that I wanted to get done, done. All that list keeps doing is rolling over to one day after the next, and I feel like it’s always looming over me… When I look at my calendar, every time I put these things on my list, they don’t get done. I block them in my calendar and I’m not following through. What am I missing? What am I doing wrong? 

 

This story probably feels all too familiar with you since you’re reading this blog and something that I work really often with clients. 

 

I love time management, and helping clients and their time management skills… However, often I see them jump ahead into what they want their outcome to be without assessing what is currently happening in their life. 

That brings me to what I originally said, which is a time audit. 

 

If you are struggling with time management, you don’t know how you’re actually spending your time, you don’t understand where the time is going or how your priority list just isn’t getting any shorter, those things just keep looming over and over and carrying on week after week. 

 

It’s important to instead understand what is currently happening with your time before we’re making a plan of what we think our time should be.

We can use a simple example of checking your email. 

Let’s say you have this idea in your head that checking your email in the morning when starting off your workday should take no more than 15 minutes. 

 

So you confidently put that 15 minute block on your calendar for the next day. 

 

You wake up, get ready, and you dive into your email… 

 

But then, before you know it, you get the notification that you should be transitioning immediately from checking emails to another task, and you haven’t even gone through a quarter of the emails that came through over the last 12 hours. 

 

This can put you in a position of feeling increased anxiety/stress or feeling like you’re already behind and it was just the first thing on your calendar. 

This can give you some insight that maybe you’re not having a concrete understanding of how long things take you. 

You’re expecting yourself to be more efficient than what you currently are, and that’s very common.

 

We often expect ourselves to be way ahead in our behaviors, goals and our progress than where we currently are

 

…which really leaves us frustrated and disappointed and on that constant hamster wheel of trying to get better but not effectively utilizing the skills to do so. 

 

Then you just get stuck and disappointed again. 

 

So in this case, what I recommend is to fully understand how you are currently spending your time. 

 

Before you go in and you put 15 minutes for email and 30 minutes for a meeting and an hour for X project…

 

Choose 2-3 days during that week. 

 

One of those days (ideally also including a weekend day) retroactively log the time that you are spending on certain tasks. 

Let go of the unrealistic expectation that checking your email “should” take you a certain amount of time.

 

Instead, lead with neutrality. 

 

Get curious! 

 

Become your own researcher in your time and ask yourself…

      • How long does it take me to go through my email each morning? 

      • NOTE: without judgment and without shame. 

    When you are going through your day, be able to start your morning intentionally. 

     

    Look at the time! What time have you sat down at your desk that you feel fully focused and ready to dive into and open that inbox? 

     

    Be able to log that on your calendar retroactively. 

     

    Then go through your email at the normal cadence that you typically would every morning and log that time. 

        • How long did it really take you? 

        • Did it take you 15 minutes? 

        • Did it take you an hour? 

      Again, we’re not leading with any judgment or shame or guilt here. We are currently acting as researchers to understand and investigate how long things typically take us.

       

      Tips For Time Logging 

       

      When you are time logging, you also want to account for times where you are human and get distracted. 

       

      You may pick up your phone and start scrolling on Instagram or you go have a snack and take a break to make a meal. 

       

      You want to account for all of those things and when you are doing it in a neutral, curious way.

       

      It’s giving you so much data to understand where you currently are so that you can make changes from there to improve your time management and efficiency. 

      After you have a full day of data where you actually see how you spent your time, you can then reflect on that data and determine:

          • What are some areas that you can be more realistic about? 

          • What are some areas that you can be more efficient in? 

        So maybe you notice that as you were working on a certain project, you got distracted pretty often. You were answering messages from your team in the middle of the project, or maybe you picked up your phone and were scrolling on social media. 

         

        This gives you some insight on if there are some skills that need to be happening there… Maybe some mind management or thought rebuttals or cognitive reframes to allow you to stay focused and concentrated during that time to be more efficient. 

        It also prevents you from overloading your calendar for the future because if you have a much better idea of how you’re currently spending your time, it allows you to become more efficient. 

         

        It gives you a really solid idea of when you get an additional request and people ask you if we have the capacity to do something…

         

        You can look at your calendar and know for sure if you actually do without blindly saying yes and feeling overwhelmed by trying to fit it in. 

         

        A time audit can be extremely powerful to understand where you currently are. It will set you up for long-term success. 

         

        Join The Discussion:

         

        Have you ever done a time audit before? 

         

        If so, let us know down in the comments so we can hear your experience as well. If you found this helpful, make sure you subscribe to get weekly behavior change tips delivered to your inbox HERE.

        Thank you for reading, see you in the next one!

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