Time management isn’t about managing time. It is about choosing how and with whom you spend your time. In a perfect world where we didn’t need sleep we might be able to accomplish everything. The reality is that we have a finite amount of time in each day.
Non-negotiable: Which tasks and events are non-negotiable? Which must get done or you will lose money, job or home? Everything else is negotiable.
Identify priorities: The reality is that you may know many people and be invited to many events. You may have to make decisions about time with one group of friends and another. Think about the most important people and events in your life. Those are the first with whom you spend time.
Time management isn’t about managing time; it’s about choosing how you spend your finite amount of time.
Instead of having three different lunches with contacts, consider scheduling one lunch with three friends or colleagues. You’ve just freed a couple hours of time! Consider calls with clients rather than face-to-face meetings to save you both drive time and gas money.
Be selective with your time: Select days and times that you are available for meetings, lunch and coffee dates and dinner outings. Stick to your schedule. (Take it from me this is a challenge at first but the rewards are amazing. I have blocks of focused time to do my work and to socialize without being worried about what isn’t getting done.)
Meetings: The people who want to meet with you will meet when there is a time good for both. That may mean waiting a couple weeks and that’s okay.
Saying no to invitations is okay. You cannot do everything. (I think as women we want to please everyone and go to every event. We run ourselves ragged and feel like we accomplish nothing. It’s time to decline some invitations and take back our time.)
Asking a lot of questions of a prospective client before your meeting is okay. You may find that you don’t offer what they need or vice versa. You save each other the time in a meeting that will yield nothing.
Create and use an agenda to keep meetings on track. This is easier said than done so make yourself accountable by mentioning to the other person how much time you have available when you arrive.
There will be days when a friend calls and needs you. There will be client or child emergencies. Life happens which is why it is even more important to have and stick to a schedule. When the what-ifs happen we can tend to them with less worry. Here’s to you choosing how to spend your time!
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