Who wants more time in their day?
Yep, I was one of those people who would often say "I don't have enough time." It wasn't that I didn't have as much time as everyone else, I was just not managing my time well. I knew I was getting things done, but they never seemed to be the most important items on my to-do list, or spending enough time with those who matter the most. Who else feels the same?
I came to this realization thanks to a book I read (aka listened to the audio version) as a recommendation from a previous employer. The title of said book is "At Your Best: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your Favor" by Carey Nieuwhof. It wasn't that I didn't want to complete everything in front of me, I just wasn't focused on the most important items during the best times of my day. Mr. Nieuwhof also said it best in the book - other people don't value your time because you don't value your time (I'm paraphrasing).
So often I would get into the groove of what I was working on, hyper focused and making progress, only to stop and look up anytime anyone wanted my attention. This included impromptu visits to my cube (when I still worked at HP), answering every email, chat, phone call and text message that came through as I thought it was the most polite thing to do no matter if it hijacked my focus. By the time I was able to refocus either another interruption would come through or I had a meeting to attend.
Spoiler alert: If you haven't read the book yet I'm about to go very high level into how to structure your calendar portion of the book.
Simply put, we all have Red, Yellow and Green times during our day. You can probably guess exactly which is which, but basically your Red Zones are times when it is very difficult to focus, Yellow are times when you can focus but you are not completely zoned in, and Green Zones are the times you should protect with your life! OK, well maybe not that far but these are the zones you should reserve for the items most important to you - either personally or professionally. You can complete so much more of the high value tasks during this time than you can in any other portion of your day. I've actually scheduled my own days like this as well. Here's the proof:
You can see instead of Red Zone, I've labeled this as Workout and Lunch as this is the time of day I use to really re-energize myself for the afternoon and early evening. Am I complete rigid with this schedule? Heck no! But this is a good reminder for me to save email for early or late in the day and reserve my mid-day focus for editing, content creation and most importantly client meetings! They deserve my undivided attention - so much so that I turn my cell phone off during these interactions.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels they don't have enough time in their own day, or feel the burnout approaching. I also recommend listening to the audio version of the book as well as it was well done. Another time saving tip - listen to audio books while driving, cleaning, etc. (Thanks for the tip Jamie!)
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