Many of you may not know this about me, but I am an avid Real Simple magazine reader. The magazine contains tons of tips to help simplify your life, whether it is for work or home life. Then I came across an article, “How do you say no to people who want too much of your time?” answered by Julie Rottenberg, who is Real Simple’s etiquette expert and it really got me thinking. Julie talks about having policies in place to help manage our time.
Hmmm….Policies for time management? The concept sounds pretty silly to me. But, the more I thought about it, the more I really liked the concept. In our daily lives we are constantly bombarded by things or people who require more time and attention than we may have to give at any given moment. Julie Rottenberg calls them “Time Suckers.” Some examples may be: 1) Running into an old friend while on your way to meet a client, 2) Constant requests to join various groups or clubs for which you either have no desire or time for or 3) Television on “for noise” while working at home. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been caught up in all three of these examples at one time or another, as well as many others. It’s called life. But that doesn’t mean things can’t change.
So, I have decided to do an experiment. I am going to create and implement a few policies and for the next 30 days I will try my best to follow them. Here is what I’ve come up with as starters:
- I have a standing play date for my son every Thursday. I am going to create a recurring appointment in my Outlook calendar for the next month for this and come rain or shine, I will keep that appointment (that is of course, if my son stays healthy).
- My hours of operation are supposed to end by 5:00 pm PST. However, I tend to put certain small tasks off until later in the evening, like sending out daily reports to clients. I am going to create a daily reminder in my calendar that will alert me at 4:30 pm PST each day to start wrapping up all work related tasks and projects. This will not only force me get those reports out on time, but will show my family that I mean business when it comes family time.
- When I run my errands throughout the week, I inevitably run into other moms that I know. I say “hello” to be polite, but keep going. I know that if I stop, I’ll get caught up in a conversation that I won’t be able to get out of. My goal here is to not only wave hello, but to acknowledge the person in a way that lets them know that I do want to get together, but not at that particular time. Then call or email them later in the day with some dates/times I do have available for that long overdue chat.
What policies can you enact today to help get your time management under control? Let’s do this together and see what our results are in 30 days. Good luck!