Skip to content

UXL Blog

Creating Successful Leaders

Tag Archives: Time management

hand writing on paper with coffee

Our nation is going through a time of unprecedented hardship and fear. In an effort to quell the COVID-19 virus that is spreading like wildfire, many of us are hunkering down at home and only going out for necessities. Though some of our activities might be moved into the virtual space, we all know that isn’t the same. All this alone time can feel isolating and downright scary, but it doesn’t have to be totally terrible.

You have the power to make alone time YOUR time.

Think of it this way: What other time in your life has allowed you to have so much autonomy and control over your schedule? You don’t have to make a long commute; you don’t have people popping into your office every five minutes and interrupting your work flow. Sure, you might be dealing with babysitting your kids at home or working alongside your significant other, but I would still argue that you have an unprecedented opportunity.

How will you use all your newfound “home time?”

I am a big proponent of setting aside time for yourself. Even though you inevitably have other responsibilities, be sure to allot a few minutes every day (even an hour, if you can) that’s dedicated to YOU.

Practice reflection, journaling, or meditation. Think about what you want your personal and professional life to look like after this is all over, and make plans for how you’d like to get there. Perhaps, your plans involve self-improvement steps, such as reading professional development books (I’m planning on putting together a list for my next blog post) or taking online courses.

If learning a new skill (such as coding, video-making, or writing) is part of your personal development plan, you might consider doing a little research to see what, exactly, you need to learn and how you can learn it. Reach out to those who already have these skills, and request resources. Or, you might try combing through an online course bank, such as Udemy or Teachable.

If leadership is part of your personal development plan, try interviewing leaders in your community OR start taking an online leadership course (My 10-Minute Leadership Challenge course is now 50% off to make it more accessible during this troubling time).

No matter which personal development skills you choose to pursue during this time, it is important you make a plan AND stick to it. When you’re at home, it’s easy to let the days drift away in clouds of social media or television. Don’t let that be you! I want you to emerge from this time period, feeling empowered and equipped with a new set of skills to further your professional goals.

If you’re going to be stuck in isolation, you might as well make the most of your time. You’ve got this!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
NOW LIVE: CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

Tags: , , , , , ,

busy calender good

According to this Harvard Business Review blog post, we’ve been thinking about it all wrong when we talk about time management. It’s like dieting vs. being healthy, says productivity expert Jordan Cohen. You may diet all you want, but that doesn’t necessarily make you healthier. In the same way, you can “manage time” to a tee, but this doesn’t automatically boost your productivity.

This certainly made me raise my eyebrows upon reading it. After all, the concept of time management is considered a given in business and leadership circles. But when I thought about it more, I realized there’s truth to this. Time isn’t what you need to rearrange in order to succeed. Time is the constant. When we talk about time management, then, what we’re really talking about is managing our workload. If we rely too heavily on managing our time, we run the risk of neglecting the real problems we run up against when our workload overpowers us.

Solutions to workload management are:

Saying no. You have the power to turn things down, even though this is something that is tricky for a lot of people. If you’re scrambling to get anything done, if you’re having trouble taking care of basic things in your personal life, or if you don’t have free time where you can relax, then you have over-scheduled yourself.

Experimenting with different workload management practices. The saying goes that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you consistently find yourself drowning in work, seek out new self-management approaches. Mix it up. Change your schedule. Don’t settle on one “right way” to get things done, because you need to be able to adapt and get outside of your comfort zone in order to succeed.

Keeping track of what works for you, and what needs to change. Piggybacking in the above point, we are creatures of habit, and often we find ourselves deeply entrenched in bad habits without even realizing it. If you struggle with being on time, pay attention to behavioral patterns that might be the real reason for your tardiness. Look over your week and take note of where you succeeded to meet your goals, and where you fell short. Ask yourself what you might change to do better next week.

There are many resources available to help you find work load management ideas and insights. For starters, check out the Mindtools website. It has quizzes, goal-setting resources and scheduling advice.

Have a great week!

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Human hand checking the checklist boxes

I’ll bet you can relate: It’s late evening, you’re starving, you just know that you’re about to be stuck in a god-awful amount of traffic, and the meeting you’re in is running later than you expected. What do you do? Why, you find yourself gazing out the window longingly the same way you did in grade school, just dying for the bell to ring and the day to be over.

It’s moments like these that our desperation to get the heck out of the office can take over, and we end up making the next day worse for ourselves by leaving tasks incomplete.

I know, it’s hard. I struggle with it myself. Sometimes the last place I want to be is the place I need to be, and no truer than when I’m anxious to end a long, hard day of work.

So, I’ve made a little mental checklist that I force myself to follow. I don’t set foot into the parking lot without having first checked everything off. As with anything, it took me a while to get into the habit. But soon, the ritual of it took over, and I found that my drives home became much less stressful, as I no longer worried about things like, “Oh no! I forgot to e-mail so-and-so!” or, “I hope I got that project outline in…I did get the darn thing turned in, right?” What is this end of the day checklist, you ask? Simple, and here it is:

1. Checking up on my co-workers and staff. Are we on the same page? Are we in a good place relationally? Is there any issue I need to address? Never let the sun go down on your anger, the old proverb goes, and boy is that true for maintaining a healthy workplace.

2. Checking off the tasks. Did I get everything done I planned on doing? It sounds like a no-brainer (you may be saying, “Obviously! That’s the whole point of a checklist!”), but here’s the important part: If you did not get everything done as you planned, what are you going to do to best set yourself up tomorrow? Set yourself up for success the next day.

3. Checking out of the workday. Look over your area, organize your desk perhaps, leave on a positive note with your people, and set yourself up for tomorrow. Have you done all that? Good! Now stop thinking about work! Once you set foot outside, you’re no longer allowed to worry about anything you might have missed, neglected, ignored or botched, because you know you went over the checklist. Now you have the rest of the evening to yourself.

Give yourself a pat on the back. And good luck with the traffic.

Tags: , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: