- I get sidetracked along the way of doing the couple minute item. For example, I was messaging someone on Facebook. As I go to Facebook, I suddenly see my feed and start scrolling. 30 min later I think, “Why did I come on here?”. It takes a minute, but I remember why I was there in the first place! Or I'm writing down what I need from the store so my mind can be clear and in the process I end up starting to clean the kitchen while I'm searching for other things to put on the list.
- I remember a bunch of other couple min things I need to do and start doing them too.
Recently I was on a Q&A Call with my Coaching Club clients and the topic was time management. There were 9 of them on the call and each took time to share some tips and tricks they use to manage situation #1 above. In addition to each person being inspired by some new ideas, and the fact that they aren’t alone in this pattern, two themes came to light.
- We are all so darn hard on ourselves and think we need to be superhuman.
- Each of us is wired differently and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. Taking time to assess your strengths and weaknesses from time to time is a good thing to do because it helps you see what areas to avoid and what areas you need support in. That’s different for each of us. Chapter 4 of my book, “Be Strategic, Be Intentional, Be Successful” has a tool that you can use to help you. So, if you have the book- this is a good time to pull it out and start using it ☺ If you don’t, you can actually
find Chapter 4 and the video that accompanies it on my website in the Free Resource section.
Situation # 2 above is different than #1 and we actually didn’t talk about that on our call. Often when I say “I just wasted 30 min”, I just finished scenario #2. I did that 1 thing that I thought would take a couple minutes and then did a few more 20 min things. As a matter of fact, I’m currently in this cycle as I write this blog post.
The "a-ha" that came to mind as I was saying, “I just wasted 30 min” was that I hadn’t. However, I say that all the time and cause myself to feel bad. I also lead those around me to think I wasn’t working (like family or my team or my clients). People think what we tell them. So, we need to change how we think and what we say. The reality is that I WAS doing work during the 30 min and it wasn’t wasted time, it was important. It just wasn’t on the list of things I had planned to do.
How do we get around this? The solution really is to stop overscheduling ourselves and to schedule buffers into our day. As I’ve paid attention to the tasks I’ve done this week, I’ve realize most of it wasn’t how I planned it to go. It also wasn’t wasted time, even though I said and thought it was. Each thing I did was something important that had to be done, often times it was something I didn’t realize needed to be done until I was in the situation.
By allowing space in our day we allow these things to be taken care of without associated guilt. We aren’t robots and our lives don’t happen in controlled environments. By allowing space in our schedules we can avoid feeling out of control when the unexpected comes up, as we know it will.
So, the next time you go to plan your day don’t schedule every single hour. Leave an hour or two for the administrative things you will need to do like checking email, returning that call, scheduling that meeting, updating that form, making lunch or breakfast, reading a book. While you’re at it, leave an hour or two that is totally blank. Something will come up that needs to fill the space and you’ll be glad it’s there. If nothing does, you’ll suddenly have free time to do something fun. How cool would that be?!