It has been said that “We all have 24 hours in a day.” Why is it some people seem so skilled at managing all their roles and responsibilities, and others seem to struggle and complain daily that they “don’t have enough time?"
This week I had a client who lamented she was exhausted, not in control of her time, her schedule or her client load. To her it felt like everyone else was controlling her day and that she could not even begin to tackle her own agenda much before 3 or 4p.
Through a series of questions we identified the following:
- She would answer the phone or reply to every text immediately when it came in. This resulted in countless interruptions all throughout her day.
- She worked from home where she was also interrupted frequently with requests from her children. Though her children are old enough to tend to most of their own needs, they were not told when Mom is available and when she is not.
- She had difficulty setting boundaries and realistic expectations with clients.
- She had no prioritization systems in place, therefore everyone’s requests felt like an urgent need.
I hear a lot of similiar responses both from those who work from home and who work full or part time in an office.
The first place we began is helping this client manage herself in better ways. That included things she could shift in her eating, sleeping and fitness. By eating more strategically, adding nutrition packed smoothies to her morning, and making physical activity appointment times for herself she began to experience more energy.
Creating a same time to bed/same wake up time, also improved her sleep schedule which also allowed for improvements in experiencing increased energy as well as noticeable lessening of her brain fog.
With increased energy and ability to think and focus better, she was then ready to tackle some of the aspects of the way she was dealing with clients and improve the efficiency of how she was running her business.
Here are some things that might work well for you also.
1. Create systems of prioritization. Since not everything can be a “10” whether you are a stay at home parent, or whether you are running a business, we all benefit from a system that prioritizes tasks, needs, and to do’s. In creating these systems and then communicating them to our family, clients etc. we can experience a breath of freedom and joy!
2. Learn to not respond to every ding and distraction. This is a tough order for many who have already trained their brain to stop and peak at every text or email or msg that comes through. By creating an “emergency system” for family and then creating a schedule of perusing texts, emails and messages only at designated times of the day, helps to minimize interruptions throughout the day. Communicating to clients and others when you check messages will be crucial.
3. Practice flexing your no, not now, or counteroffer muscles. Essentially, learning to pause before saying yes to both personal / family and business requests is essential for not loading up your plate with things that can wait. When we are not pausing long enough to consider if we can really take on one more thing, we often say yes and then later regret the added stress from our too quick yes. Sometimes giving a good no, is exactly what is needed. Other times we may offer what we can do but at a later date leaving the other person to decide if that works for them or not.
4. Make a Strategic Master Schedule that includes both home/ personal/ and work commitments. I recommend creating a 40 day schedule that includes everything you have already said yes to… your job or business, taking care of kids or an aging parent, along with any other ongoing commitments like volunteering, or date night with your sweetie. These become “fixed bricks” in your daily/ weekly schedule. Then strategically schedule other things/ people/ events around the fixed bricks. There is more to learn from this technique. If you want to know more reach out at Lesli@Livewellkitsap.com.
Ultimately, when we feel in control of our schedule we feel much more in control of our life!
First begin to manage you in a way that helps you feel and function at your best.
Then begin to look at your life and schedule with fresh eyes to see what you can tweak. Not only can you keep from feeling like life is spiraling out of control, but you can learn how to feel in control, get more done efficiently and with less stress.
And if you have difficulty doing this on your own, consider utilizing the skills of a business and /or life coach who can help. You will find them at www.livewellkitsap.com/live-well.