Successful time management is an important skill to cultivate for any business leader, and yet it’s one that nearly everyone struggles with. According to author and speaker Laura Vanderkam, we all have 168 hours a week, which should be enough time for anyone to fit in work, exercise, hobbies, family, and sleep. The key is to be honest about how we spend that time.
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
Throughout Vanderkam’s career, she has discovered that successful people have a unique mindset that helps them fit everything they value into their week. By learning to hack your schedule as they do, you can free yourself from the daily grind and embrace successful time management. She discusses this strategy in her book 168 Hours.
First, she recommends time auditing. Create a spreadsheet and track how you spend an entire 168-hour week. That means accounting not only for the 40+ hours you might spend at work but also the time you sleep, the time you spend with your family, and the hours you have to yourself.
It’s important to be brutally honest here if you genuinely want to make a change. We feel so busy because we often lie to ourselves about how long our tasks should take. We aren’t robots, so building in time for distractions or sluggishness is essential. But we also need to take note of areas for improvement.
With your entire week on paper, it should be easy to identify blocks of time you could manage better. You’re unlikely to stick with an extreme schedule shift simultaneously, so try to make incremental changes. Cut back on unnecessary meetings, phone calls, and other tasks that are not important or urgent. Delegate what you can.
Next, see what activities you can batch. Vanderkam suggests dedicating certain days to specific tasks instead of doing a little of everything throughout the day. If you need to spend time every day doing something, like responding to emails, you can still batch them by setting aside a specific block of time to accomplish the task and sticking to it.
Vanderkam also suggests scheduling time for the unexpected. Even if you plan out your week as best as possible, there are bound to be surprises. You can accommodate these surprises by incorporating flexibility in your schedule without taking time from other tasks.
Finally, Vanderkam recommends leveraging technology for successful time management. Consider which apps and software might help you get more done daily. This might be a project management program like Asana or Trello, a to-do list app, or a Pomodoro timer to keep you on track.
Vanderkam insists that the key to successful time management is believing that we have enough time in our week and then making it true. Then, with some planning and the right attitude, you can make the most of your 168 hours.
Want to learn more about making successful time management work for you? A business coach can help. If you need help managing your time and yourself, click here for a free video meeting with Coach Dave.
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