13 Jul 2011

Time: What’s On Your Schedule?

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Tips for Time Management

Time, some say it’s elusive. Julie Morgenstern, author of Time Management from the Inside Out, says it isn’t. Time is a tangible commodity. We agree. One thing is certain. Once it’s spent you can’t get it back. The question we wanted Morgenstern’s book to answer is this: how we can make the most of ours? This week we’re reflecting on Morgenstern’s book to help us create workable schedules that will help us reach our goals. Follow us.  

Check Your Time Perspective

First, Julie writes that checking your time perspective is necessary. Think about time as a tangible asset with clearly defined limits. She relates structuring your time to organizing a cluttered closet. Both have limited space and when structuring either good organization is necessary to be efficient and to leave you with a feeling of success at the end of each day.

We’ve got it. Time is limited. So use it wisely.  

What’s Your Time Style?

Then check your time management style. Most likely you’re one of two categories: structured, predictable and calm or work-centered, fast-paced and unpredictable. You probably already know your style from the titles, but for added clarity, here are a few traits Morgenstern shared:

Find your style in these traits

1. Keeping a balance between work and family time is extremely important to you.
2. You shift gears easily, interruptions don’t matter to you. You’re focused, quick on your feet and confident in your opinions.  
3. Your schedule is structured to support and celebrate your personality and goals.
4. After the morning rush is over you need a little in-between switching “hats” so you stop off for a cup of coffee, or pad your schedule a little to give you the time you need to get focused and ready for what comes next. You need a little space to get ready for the next rush.
5. You like your workday filled with routines and carefully placed and timed tasks.
6. Your to-do list is bare bones and others’ centered.

I’m sure you get the idea. If you like your schedule pretty simple, knowing that interruptions are a necessary part of your job and you shift gears easily, are quickly focused on the topic at hand and are pretty quick on your feet, your time management style is work centered, fast paced and unpredictable. On the other hand, if structure is important and you like carefully planned times to accomplish your well thought out to-do list you are definitely structured, predicable and calm.

Do You Have Current Written Goals?

Now that you are more aware of your style it’s time to think ahead. Do you have your goals written down? Do the written ones fit or are they out-of-date and taking up space? Have they changed, been taken hostage or pushed down with the economy?

Whatever the state of your goals pull them out, dust them off, take a good look at where you are and where you’re headed. Make revisions if you need to and get ready to create a time map to get you where you want to be.

Morgenstern suggests writing a simple 10-year plan with milestones added in along the way. A 5-year plan works better for me. In either case a plan helps you stay on track. Make sure to keep it simple. Don’t overload your plan with enough accomplishments for an entire lifetime. Limit yourself to four or five major milestones: i.e. travel, major purchases, career promotions, saving in order to spend more time doing something you love. Remember too, these days careers are made by doing what we love.

Okay it’s time to check your time perspective. See if it’s working for you and start analyzing what you spend your time doing. Identify your time management style and make sure you have clear written goals. Check back for our next time topic: identifying and overcoming time management obstacles and how to map your time.

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