Clean Your Schedule for Better Time Management

The first outdoor hints of spring often bring with it the urge to purge house and home of winter; to do a thorough cleaning, toss out the clutter, and let a fresh breeze blow away the stuffiness.

Houses aren’t the only thing that can benefit from a good ol’ spring cleaning. It’s likely that your schedule could use a thorough scrubbing as well.

“Nothing gets filled up with useless odds and ends like a calendar,” shares Michael Hyatt. “You know the story: past commitments that don’t fit our present circumstances; too many yeses to other people’s projects; breakfast meetings, lunch dates, and dinners with clients, colleagues, and old friends you were never close with, to begin with.”

The same “spring cleaning” strategies that leave your home feeling fresh and light and breezy can do wonders for your schedule. After all, no matter who you are, no matter how you try to slice it up, there are only twenty-four hours in each day.

Use these strategies to purge the sludge and put a little “spring” back into your schedule

  1. Consolidate your calendar

An I’ve-got-it-all-up-here, finger tapping convincingly on one’s temple, approach simply won’t cut it. The most fundamental step to corralling your schedule is a calendar – whether it’s a hard copy on your desk or in your pocket, a component of your mail software, or an online version such as Google Calendar. Whatever best fits you and your lifestyle. Many folks opt for a format that will sync with their phone and other devices which puts their daily schedule literally at the tip of their fingers.

The most effective calendar time-management tip? Combine work/personal/family/leisure activities in one place. Why hassle with two, three, or four separate calendars just to see if you can spare an hour a week from Tuesday? Include everything you must remember whether it be an appointment, a deadline, or something fun. Especially don’t forget to schedule in the “fun” stuff.

  1. Consolidate tasks and locations

More hopping back and forth, either from one task to another OR from one location to another, may be happening than you realize. In our hurry-hurry world, we become accustomed to a certain degree of chaos, believing that it’s inevitable. Such a frenzied, survival-mode mentality squashes moments of reality that try to advise, “Hey, there’s a better way to do this.”

Serious, unhurried scrutinization of your schedule is likely to find tasks and activities that when consolidated will save time—not to mention stressful wear and tear on body, mind, and spirit. This goes for both work and home life.

  1. Tame technology habits

What would an in-depth look at your technology habits reveal? An obsession with checking your inbox? An over-zealous attachment to texting? Habitual, almost unconscious fascination with social media?

Sure, email is an efficient means of communication. The same goes for texting.  And social media has opened wide, promising doors for promoting anything and everything. But too much of any good thing can spoil the porridge . . . or however the saying goes. With discipline and self-monitoring, these technology-related marvels can drive your success. But when boundaries aren’t established, enormous amounts of time can be eaten up by these modern day wonders of twenty-first-century life.

Reign in the potential for technology to gobble up valuable chunks of your day by allotting specific times to check emails, check and reply to texts, and get caught up on social media.

  1. Delegate

One of the surest ways to put the “spring” back in your schedule is to pass off less important tasks to someone on your staff. Type “A” persons, however, and those bent toward perfectionism, in particular, have a rough time sharing work because “No one else can do it the way I can . . . well enough . . . to suit me.”

Begin small – delegate a twenty-minute-a-day task – and let yourself get used to accepting assistance. Next hand off a one-to-two-hour a week job. Already you’ve carved from your schedule 160 to 220 minutes each week, time that can be better spent reaching toward an important goal.

  1. Learn to say no

Even a quick glance at your schedule is likely to reveal some weak moments when, “Sure, no problem, I can handle it,” slipped from your mouth, when everything inside you was screaming, “NO! Not one more thing!”

Before you say “yes” to more work, more responsibility, more volunteer or community commitments, more time away from the family, ask yourself these questions suggested by Kristie Notto,

  • Do you have the time or energy to do that extra task?
  • Does it invade on your personal time?
  • Does it involve doing something you enjoy?
  • Does it fit in with your list of priorities and goals?

More words of wisdom from Hyatt. “To honor your existing commitments, you have to learn to say no.”

Revisit these strategies every month to keep your spring-cleaned schedule from getting bogged down – because better time management leads to a more relaxed, less stressed you. It also makes the work day more pleasant and allows for more time to do the things you enjoy.

A relationship with B. Loehr Staffing will result in you getting faster solutions to your staffing needs. Free up your time by allowing our team of Staffing Specialists do the legwork for you. Contact our office today.

Phone: 314-567-6500   Website: blstaffing.com

 

 The Best Summer Ever

b loehr - summerA couple of months ago over lunch, a friend and I made plans to get together this summer to brainstorm this idea that had mulled around in my brain for years. “I think you’re on to something here,” he’d said, encouraging the tiny spark to flicker brightly once again.

While I would have loved to get him on board and make some headway in turning this idea into something tangible, I filed the “get together this summer” comment in the same faraway place where all the other this-summer-let’s-do conversations ended up—never to be heard from again.

So I was totally blown away when in mid-May he called and announced, “Let’s get those brainstorming sessions on the calendar. You mentioned Wednesdays are good for a long lunch, right?” I mumbled something unintelligible, too stunned to form a coherent sentence. Undaunted, he continued. “Sorry I didn’t call sooner, but I saved every other Wednesday. I figure by the end of summer, we’ll be ready to make a presentation.”

Now words really failed me. But somehow the conversation had continued. The proof now stared back at me from my calendar in two-hour lunch blocks on half the Wednesdays through June, July, and August that bore the notation “lunch w/Brian”.

That first Wednesday, I not only picked up the lunch tab but thanked him profusely for making time for me in what had to be an incredibly busy summer schedule. After all, whose summer schedule wasn’t busy?

“Yeah, we have a lot going on. But this project is important to me.”

“Aren’t you coaching Little League, too? I don’t know how you fit everything into your schedule. Summers fly by so fast that it seems like I blink and it’s over.”

And then he shared his secret to making every summer the best summer ever: get it on the calendar.

“Used to be like that for us too. All these hopeful plans that never came to fruition. Then a couple of years ago we got serious about planning our summers. Now in early May—actually started in April this year—we grab the calendar and begin plotting out all the stuff we want to do. The fun things like outings to the zoo and the kids’ games as well as the not-so-fun stuff like painting the deck. We try to knock out all the major chores around the house by the end of May, so we have more time to enjoy summer.”

I’m sure my mouth hung open in a most unflattering pose as he detailed how the calendar had become their secret weapon for making the most of the summer. And thankfully, he shared some awesome time-saving tips that help them squeeze every spare minute out their summers.

  • His wife does a huge grocery stock-up the first week of June to cut back on all those annoying emergency runs to the store.
  • He hires a couple of teens from the neighborhood to help with the major lawn care.
  • They established a family chore time that has incentivized the kids to pitch in because when the job’s done, they take a family bike ride to get ice cream.
  • They offer double allowances to any child willing to take on additional, age-appropriate household responsibilities that free up some time for mom and dad.
  • Each family member gets to suggest an outing for the family to enjoy together.

On the way home, I swung by the office supply store and purchased a calendar with huge blocks for writing in summer activities. Then after dinner, I called our first “best summer ever” calendar planning session.

At B. Loehr Staffing we understand the importance of life-work balance. We can offer you a position with the freedom and flexibility your lifestyle demands. Contact us today.