How to Master Your Time (and Day) as a Business Woman
Are you ‘busy’?
Think back to the last few days and weeks. Think back to a day that seemed crazy busy. Where you had non stop work or activities all day and it seemed a little hectic. Now really think about your day...did you work on the items that you needed to, to move your big goals forward?
Or was there a lot of activity without a lot of results to show for it?
‘Busy’ is the word so many of us to describe our days now and it’s almost a badge of honor. “How have you been?” you ask a friend you haven’t seen for a few days. “Oh my gosh! So busy!” she replies. It’s almost like we believe that being busy means we are being productive, or that we are living meaningful lives. Sadly, the opposite is true.
Busy-ness is often a sign that you are not in charge of your day; that you are letting the projects run your life, phone calls and email (which are other people’s priorities). When you are busy, or hectic, or frantic, it may seem counter productive but this is the time that you most need to take a pause, breathe, and revisit your goals.
How to combat busy-ness with effectiveness
The first priority of your day should be your IMPORTANT tasks which are related to your goals. Every day, you should be choosing your activities for the day based on your larger goals. A simple, yet effective tool is the Urgent vs Important Matrix.
From first glance, 1 and 3 look like they are the highest priority because they are Urgent. 1 is both Important and Urgent yet 2, Important and Not Urgent is the key sweet spot. The reason for this is that your goals should be planned out in advance so that you know what you need to complete to reach them.
Quadrant 1 (Crises) are important tasks that have gone too long and now have become urgent to the point of being a crisis. Sometimes there are cases that could not be prevented, but the ideal is to have as few projects as possible in this quadrant. They are very important and can include client projects, marketing projects and business projects, however, the ideal time to work on these it when they are properly planned for so that you aren't fighting fires.
How do you properly plan your day?
By creating a goal task list and breaking those goals into manageable tasks that can be addressed on monthly, weekly and daily actions that you will be taking.
How to reduce busy-ness and create more focus in your day
Plan your day - have a list of the 5-6 most important tasks to complete each day and address them in order of priority/importance
Create space - plan your day in hourly or even 30 minute blocks. Focus on one project at a time because there is no such thing as multitasking.
Meditate - create a calm within yourself by giving yourself time to breathe, be mindful and separate from the buzz. It may seem counter productive to stop and rest when you have so much going on, but staying calm in your head space is the best way to properly approach your day. Meditation will help keep you grounded, be able to better handle challenges and help you pause as you transition between your activities.
Learning to say No - sometimes we are so focused on the opportunities that we forget what we are saying no to when we say yes to a fun activity. As an extroverted introvert, I love having social events and fun activities with friends but when they are every night of the week, I just feel stressed out. When you say yes to a dinner out or a game night or a meeting, are you saying no to your peace of mind and mental health that you get from a quiet night in. Or are you saying no to quality time with your husband/partner/family by being constantly on the move? It's important to say Yes to yourself, and learn to say No to some of the opportunities that arise.