Assessing How You Spend Time And Your Skills To Manage It
January 2013 Insights
Happy New Year everyone! Based on the feedback I received from last months Keys to Success insights, many of you took advantage of the Values Clarification exercise I made available to you on my website. It seems a lot of you made the connection to managing your time more effectively by considering what is truly important to you. I personally have my top 5 core values written on a sticky note I keep attached to my computer. I refer to it often to help make both big and small decisions in my life. But more importantly I check in with it weekly, to make sure my values are in alignment with how I allocate my time daily. This helps to provide me with the emotional buy-in I sometimes need to motivate me to stay on task. Introspectively this makes sense but we can’t dismiss the other essential ingredients also important to successful time management.
In this month’s Keys to Success insights, I invite you to take some TIME (no pun intended) to look at how you actually spend your day and then assess your skills in managing it. Different then the Values Clarification exercise, this is a more concrete, intellectually based way to effectively manage your time because often how we believe we spend our day is not how we actually do.
The suggested exercise below will enable you to truly examine how you spend the hours of your day and whether or not it breaks down to actually support your current objectives. This way you will know exactly what adjustments you may need to make so that you are maximizing your time most effectively. All you’ll need to do is set aside 20 minutes and literally draw a large size clock. You’ll use this clock to fill in how you spend your hours in the components of an average day. For example, sleeping may fill in the hours of 11pm to 6am, food prep & eating may fill in the times 7am to 7:30 am, 1pm to 2pm and 5:30 to 7pm, physical activity 9:30 to 10:30 am and so on but consider ALL the aspects of your life that consume your day. This may include time spent with and for family responsibilities, your social life, work and volunteer commitments, time traveling to and from various appointments and obligations, household responsibilities, email/ texting/facebook/telephone exchange and personal time such as physical activity, reading, watching TV, or enjoying a hobby. You may even want to keep a time log for a few days to visually see how closely your actual day matches what you think your day looks like. Once you complete this exercise, use what you may have glean from it and ask yourself these questions:
- How well does my perceived time match my actual time?
- Why are there differences and what adjustments do I want to make?
- How does my actual average day align with my big picture of life? (i.e. goals, values and purpose).
- What are my “must haves” in my daily life? (Such as the right amount of sleep, exercise, time with children, partner, and/or significant others, time for hobbies and personal interest/development, work).
- What actions can I eliminate or minimize in my day that don’t support my goals, values and purpose?
- What impact does my average day have on my overall energy level? How or how isn’t it supporting my well-being?
Now consider your answers and write down the changes you would like to make in how you spend your days, hours, and minutes so that your actions support your current aspirations. Naturally, because nothing stays constant, I suggest reexamining how you are organizing your day every few months so that you remain in alignment with your present objectives.
The last insight I would like share with you for successful time management is the need to consider the actual skills that are required to make it happen. Click here for a Time Management Skill Assessment download. Here you’ll find a list of typical time management skills. For each skill, rate your effectiveness on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high). Once you complete it, you’ll gain greater clarity into what skills are important for you to acquire or improve. Should you decide to take it one step further, contact me for a complimentary session and together we can set up a plan that will get you on the road to greater success!
Keep your eyes open for February’s Keys to Success monthly insights, where I will address the oh so scary word called “change”.
image credit: http://muslimmatters.org