Annabel Acton, Women@Forbes
Busy is the mantra of this generation and it’s not a good thing. With time becoming an increasingly precious resource, it’s worthwhile thinking about how to protect your own time. And it starts with respect. If you respect your time, others will follow suit. Here are some golden rules to help you feel more focused, less stretched and more energized.
- Get Clear On Your Goals
It all starts with a thorough understanding of what you’re trying to achieve at work. Take some time to set some goals – write them down, make them visible on a daily basis and make sure you understand your motivation towards that goal. Without a thorough understanding of why it matters, your goal is unlikely to come to fruition. With your goals in mind, you will start to understand what meetings and projects are mobbing you closer to your goals; while getting clarity on those that are stalling and distracting you.
- Stop Saying Yes To Everything
With your goals crystalized, start to prioritize your calendar according to what will propel you towards your goals; and begin to turn down invitations to things that distract and derail you. This doesn’t mean refusing to help anyone that falls outside of your goal posts, but it means you can be more selective about the amount of these invitations that you choose to take on. As women especially, we find ourselves wanting to help each other in ways that often leave us deplete. Start practicing saying no to things, and leave the guilt behind.
- Be On Time
If you can be punctual and show that you respect time, you will send a message to others that they should do the same with you. And remember, that when you run frenetically from one thing to the next, you are jeopardizing your chances of mindful, impactful and breakthrough thinking. Being on time allows you to be fully present, mentally agile and receptive to brilliance. These are positive things that you should strive to make a habit of.
- Set Meeting Objectives Upfront
Meetings are one of the biggest time sucks in the workforce. Before you enter any meeting, make sure you are clear on what you want to achieve from the meeting, and what you need to leave the meeting with. State those objectives up front and steer the meeting back towards your objectives if it starts to veer off course. This will save time and also ensure all participants leave on the same page and get what they need from the meeting.
- Block Morning Thinking Time
Mornings are precious. Your brain is the most astute, awake and ready to roll. Rather than schedule meetings and calls, try to protect your calendar and take no meetings at all. Use this time to focus your refreshed mind on innovative, expansive thinking required to make an indent on your big goals. This way of working will help you make real progress, faster. The afternoons can be cleared for meetings, as well as getting on with the work you designed in the morning.