During the past month I have had a number of clients who have brought the same issue to address: time management. “How can I be better focused so I can handle all the things that come my way every day?” “There has to be a better way for me to manage my time.” “My company seems to want me to do more with less! So, HELP, how do I do more with less?” “It seems impossible to manage home, kids, work and a life.” Sound familiar?
I call these questions, CHAOS management questions. We only have so much time. We can’t add more (unfortunately.) During the time we have each day, we each have a level of energy that we can use and allocate to our advantage. If we understand and utilize the energy we have to achieve what is important, we can better manage and enjoy the chaos that is delivered to us each day. Let me give you an example. If you have a 75-watt light bulb, are you going to get 150 watts of light from it? Of course not, the bulb only has 75 watts to give. If you have a 150-watt light bulb in a lamp, can you expect it to light all the rooms in a 3 bedroom home? Of course not, it will do an excellent job in one of the rooms and you may see the shadows of the light in other rooms, but some of the rooms will never see that light – nor would we expect this.
In order to best use our energy, we need to understand how to keep a consistent energy flow and what choices we have to keep from draining our energy. Here are some exercises to assist you in answering these questions.
1. Start with keeping a log of all your activities, both work and home related, for three days.
2. Review the list identifying what aspects of this schedule increased, maintained or drained your energy.
3. Once you see the patterns, now you can make the choices. From the patterns that drain your energy, indicate which of the following choices you COULD make (no one is asking you to take action yet.) Here are your choices:
*Take care of yourself and DO IT!: This action is for things only YOU can do. Often the action of DOING IT will decrease the stress and increase your energy.
*Transfer these tasks to someone else. Hire it or delegate it!: We often take on things that should have never ended up ours in the first place. You may resist letting someone else take over these items, but get over it!!! We were not designed to be SuperPeople. Allowing someone else to clean your house, attend a meeting, coordinate a project are not signs of weakness but signs of wisdom.
*Throw it out. Chuck it!: Sometimes we keep things on our task list that just need to be dropped. There are ways to make it less painful but for now just identify what choices you could have made to eliminate the chaos on your list.
4. The next day, review your calendar and your TO DO list before the day begins. Notice any of the patterns you’ve identified? Notice any opportunities to take action? Now is your chance to manage the chaos!
5. Make this a daily part of your schedule review. You will be amazed at the energy it saves and the increased ability you have to address the issues that deserve your attention.
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