Take your day, your week and your life back with these seven tips:
1. Don’t treat your calendar like a community feast.
Your most precious asset is your time. Don’t allow others to control it by allowing open scheduling, letting them determine that you need to be at meetings “to stay in the loop” or take your time without you knowing if it’s a true priority. Ask more questions like, Do I need to be there? What can we do by email? Can we wait on this until next week? Or let me have John give you a call. Fiercely protect your time (and calendar), and use it wisely.
2. Create bumpers on your workday.
If you are an entrepreneur or in a high-volume job, the work will never get done. It’s just built that way. Decide when you’ll start and end your workday — and respect it by marking your calendar or setting an alarm on your phone.
3. Take more recess.
This seems counterintuitive, but breaks recharge our brains and make us more productive. Also, if your job requires sitting, get up every hour and move around — away from the computer. And do something different and interesting on the weekend to get out of your routine and get a new outlook.
4. Plan for one hour a week (at least) and act on it.
Pause and think what matters most this week and today. Is my time lined up to make that happen? Then start determining what can wait, what can someone else do, how to replace a meeting with sharing information through email and what can be reduced from a one-hour discussion to a phone call. Be deliberate about your week.
5. Build in more prep time.
If you have an event or meeting that might be stressful for you, build in time beforehand to pause, prepare and really feel that you are ready. Your schedule doesn’t have to be back-to-back.
6. Make an accomplishments list next to your to-do list.
We all have lots of surprises that appear each day, so you can’t plan everything. An unfinished to-do list can make you feel that you came up short and that you need to work longer to make some progress. But this is a great way to recognize that you have accomplished a lot and to give yourself permission to end your day.
7. Be active often.
We all know this, but I have seen the amazing impact it has on stress, emotional outlook and effectiveness. All research confirms it’s true. This is not an extracurricular but an essential for making us feel better and be better. Try yoga or mediation.
Time and how we spend it is the greatest currency we have to a sense of accomplishment, peace of mind, purpose and success. More hours doesn’t equate to being better. Treat the hours in your day with the utmost respect, and remember that sometimes, doing less gets you more.
Take your time back. Make it yours. It is the best favor you can do for yourself today.
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