How can I make better use of my time?

So much to do and so little time!

Do you know that feeling when your to-do list seems to get longer instead of shorter and you just never feel on top of it?

Do you ever wake up in the early hours and your head is fizzing with seven hundred things you need to do and your anxiety levels are through the roof? 

Are you feeling frazzled and overwhelmed by the constant demands on your time, and there’s never any quiet time just for you?

This is something I hear my clients from all walks of life talk about. The high school teacher in a senior leadership role, who also has small children at home. The GP who works all the hours and is aware that her teenage children hardly ever see her. The small business owner who struggles to delegate the admin to her admin assistant, rather than focus on her own expertise, creativity and design. 

I believe there are three areas that we can focus on to help us manage our time better, so that we can become more effective without having to work ever harder. Power, Planning and People. Once we learn how to use these factors to our best advantage we can free up time to do the things that matter most to us, things that bring us joy and actually reduce our stress levels. 

1. Power

 That’s a scary word for some women but I don’t mean it in a forceful, overbearing way. The meaning of the word power is ‘ability’. If you have power, you ‘can’. 

But are you using your power in the right way? Many women have found themselves striving to operate in a mode of competition, achievement and perfection in order to juggle all their responsibilities and ‘do a good job’. But in the long-term this has repercussions on stress levels and ultimately your health.

What if you could leverage a softer power? Still strong and effective, but without relying on your stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol to get you through. Instead, creating great results with much more ease and flow. 

I teach my clients how to achieve this using five different sets of internal power. These contain all the ingredients needed for any specific circumstance. They are based on five archetypes, which we can all recognise within us, but perhaps over the years they’ve been dampened down and they become hard to find. Once you get to know them, these five types of power (the Women’s PowerTypes™) will bring the right energy to every task you’re faced with, so that your to-do list doesn’t seem so scary any more.

2. Planning 

“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail”. I’m not sure who said that but it’s often quoted and for good reason.  You know that to-do list that’s dominating your entire life and leaving you no time for yourself? – it’s because you failed to plan! 

If we spend time planning out the next month and then each week it can help us address what todays list needs to look like. We can prioritise effectively rather than reacting to the ‘squeakiest wheel’. You know, something that’s now become really urgent because we kept ignoring it previously?! 

Eisenhower’s Matrix can be helpful to consider how to allocate tasks based on the level of importance or urgency. “What is important is seldom urgent, and what is urgent is seldom important” – Eisenhower 34th President USA. Look it up and see if it could help you. 

There are many time management strategies out there but they often miss the point, as I mentioned in a previous blog. Grouping certain tasks together doesn’t work if they all require different energies. You end up wasting time trying to switch from one energy to another. 

I have a number of planning tools that help address this, and when implemented properly and consistently they can actually save you 4-5 hours each week. What would you do with that extra time if there were no other external demands? What could you do to spark some joy in your life, to implement some much needed self-care, to make the impact you want to make in your life? How good would that be?

3.  People

Some people can be the biggest drains on our time and energy! Others we would do anything for. And there are those people who we can’t do without in our lives. So how do you get the balance right?

Take a long hard look at all the people in your life and decide who are you prepared to sacrifice your time and energy for? It might be obvious straight away that certain people will be in the group that you would drop everything for, no matter what time of day or night.  Other people, maybe not so much. 

This is a really useful exercise I do with clients and in my workshops to help women spot where they are devoting too much time and energy. They get real clarity on where they want to draw a line. They start to spot the people who are draining – those who constantly take but never give in return. And they sometimes notice that there isn’t much of a support network there for themselves – a frightening thought if ever they were to need help.

So we need the right people around us to support us and cheer us on. We need to decide which people are in our inner circle – those we will readily do anything for. We then need to consider how to set boundaries with the people who steal too much of our time and energy. 

So my challenge to you is to find the sweet spot where you get all three factors in balance:

You’re in tune with your power and ability bringing the right energy to tackle all the tasks. 

You’ve planned ahead, you’re being proactive and tackling the important stuff first. 

You have the right people around you for support, and you’ve set boundaries to conserve your time as you see fit. 

If you’d just like to talk about some of the topics here and find out more about how to work with me, I’m always happy to chat. Just book a complimentary discovery call here.

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© Dr Jo Baldwin   |   Website by The Good Alliance