As part of a law class, I recently took an attorney assessment. The purpose of this was to determine what skills and traits I will have as an attorney. In the report, it states that my “cognitive superpower” is hyper speed and efficiency to get things done. So basically, I’m the Flash of law students.
This is no shock to me. The number one thing I’ve learned since going to law school has nothing to do with the law. It has everything to do with time management. Figuring out how to manage all aspects of my life while keeping my sanity has become a necessity.
Luckily, I am well prepared in time management skills thanks to my former life as a scheduler and executive assistant. Sometimes things such as scheduling are so ingrained in your day-to-day work life that just become part of your personality. Let me share some of these tricks to help you maximize your time.
Schedule, schedule, schedule.
Scheduling every moment of your life sounds overwhelming and ridged. Trust me. I understand. My husband doesn’t believe scheduling anything. However, it has become a lifesaver for me. If one looks at my calendar, he will see it is covered with the most random appointments. I include everything, from working out to household chores to important work events. If I don’t have a schedule, even for menial tasks, my productivity goes way down and my anxiety goes way up.
To create this schedule, I start out each week by figuring out what exactly I need to accomplish and how much time each task takes. Then I do a thorough review of current commitments (i.e. school, work, sports) to determine how much “free” time I have available. I then begin to fit the tasks in where they are the most appropriate. If I can schedule events or tasks several weeks out, I try to do that just to give me an idea of what is coming down the road.
Be in the moment.
This goes hand in hand with scheduling as it allows you to focus on what’s happening in the moment. However, I know too well that this is so much easier said than done. I’ve found myself so worried about the things I wasn’t doing that I didn’t enjoy what was happening in front of my face! So many times I feel guilty for enjoying dinner out with my husband or playing basketball with my daughters rather than cleaning the house or reading my homework. No one should ever feel guilty for enjoying life, but I do sometimes.
Lately, I’ve made a conscientious effort to focus on whatever is happening at that time. If I know we are going to dinner or the girls have a soccer game, I analyze the amount of time I have prior to and after the event. Then I schedule my tasks in the appropriate time frames. When there isn’t time to get it all done, I just make sure I’ve scheduled time the next day to finish.
Multi-task where you can.
Sounds basic, right? It never fails that during exam time, my daughters have cheer and gymnastics competitions that take up our entire weekend. So to maximize my study time, I take note cards and my notes with me. I study as much as I can in the car on the way there. Once the competition starts, I study until it’s their time to shine. Then, all my focus is on them. While this may not be the best test prep method, but it allows me to still be present at their competitions and do a little studying.
Set a timer.
This is a new tool to me. I recently read an article about the Pomodoro Technique. The idea is to use a timer to focus on a task for a set amount of time. Once the timer goes off, take a short break and then reset the timer. The technique builds in times for distractions and time for focus.
I started using this method when I studied for finals. And I can tell you that it totally works. As most people, I get easily distracted by my phone. Setting a timer allows me to focus specifically on the task required for that time period. When I feel fidgety, I just look at the timer and know a break is coming soon.
Those are just a few ways I manage my personal and professional life. How do you managed yours? What areas of your business or life need a little more focus? Comment below or contact me to see how I can help your focus.