You can’t make time. You can only make choices.
Everyone knows about time management and the benefits it brings to both personal and professional productivity. (But, according to Development Academy, 82% of people don’t use a time management system!) In my opinion, pop culture has watered it down so that we’re no longer inspired to actually implement it. When something like time management becomes just another term in a sea of business speak, we tell ourselves that it’s for beginners – for people who don’t know what they are doing. We, of course, know what we are doing… right?
The reality is I hear a variation of “I don’t have time” statements all of the time from many different people (and yes, for sure I hear it from the sales and client relationship teams I work with). And sometimes, I hear myself saying it! We spend our time on the ‘easier’ things to get done versus the most important, and then are surprised when the day “just got away!” The key is to discipline ourselves to focus on what’s important and choose to spend our time in a way that leads us to the end goal.
(Side note: for more information on choice management from a client relationship building perspective, read my Spectacular at Work blog!)
I know this, because I learned the hard way.
When I first launched my business, I dove headfirst into both service offerings:
- More & Forever – helping companies create enduring client relationships
- Choose & Become – inspiring individuals to create enduring success
I worked as hard as I could to ensure both were a success from the start. But I quickly established the habit of infusing all the business activities, across both services, into each day. I didn’t have a plan. I was trying to do everything–selling, designing and delivering–for both services, all at once. It was a big, tangled mess.
I quickly realized that working as hard as I could wasn’t sustainable and wasn’t achieving the results that I wanted, as fast as I wanted.
It was time to stop working harder, and choose to instead work smarter. And that’s when time management became choice management.
Time Management Tools
I knew that to manage my time and be efficient each and every day, I needed to implement choice management (aka time management) strategies. There are many out there, each with their own benefits. Here are two techniques that have worked well for me – and still do!
The Eisenhower Matrix
The Eisenhower Matrix is a popular technique that prompts you to divide your tasks into four quadrants: urgent, important; urgent, not important; not urgent, important; not urgent, not important.
The big idea with this time management technique is to prioritize your tasks. Then, focus on what’s important! For example, I know that to be most effective in my day, I have to take advantage of my mornings. Initially, that meant establishing healthy habits to start my day. My alarm goes off at 5:30am. I turn it off, and pull on a robe while my coffee maker is already brewing. I grab my already filled YETI bottle and swig it down before leaving my bedroom. Then, I go grab my cup of coffee. Next, I work out before my kids wake up so that I can be solely focused on having breakfast with them and getting them to school before I start my workday.
I choose to do this because I have identified that this is what makes me the best person I can be for myself, my husband, my kids, my clients, and my business.
Time blocking is a technique where you assign tasks to certain blocks of time.
I’m happy to share that I no longer swing between business activities based on how the wind blows. I choose to protect the most important part of my business–creating and nurturing enduring client relationships–and my weekly, and daily, choice plan is anchored by that. I created a flow for each day that allows me to focus on relationship building when I am at my best and most focused, and other tasks for later in the day. In other words, I don’t get bogged down in the mornings with time suckers (for me) like writing blogs! I carve out Saturday and Sunday coffee time for those more ‘creative’ types of business activities.
This process supports my enduring success, both personally and professionally. I get more done when it’s time to work so that I can spend more quality time with my family when it’s time to rest.
A Different Perspective: Choice Management
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when we allow ourselves to get mired down with menial tasks that suck the time from our day. Good habits go away and bad habits creep in as we react instead of prepare and plan. I encourage you to shift your mindset away from time management (the jargony business term) and towards choice management. After all, we can’t make time, we can only make choices.
To help you with this perspective shift, I encourage you to use this Choose & Become Choice Management worksheet. These are just a few techniques for deliberate action to force the most important things to the top of your to-do list.
When you get down to it, shifting your thinking from time to choices—is a first choice.
We all have the time. What are the choices we are making and why?
About Trish Kendall
An expert on creating enduring success, inspirational speaker Trish Kendall, transforms audiences’ belief of success. Trish brings candid stories, humor in the face of true hardship, simple lessons, compassion and love to all her speaking engagements. Follow her on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook and sign up for her newsletter for regular inspiration and wisdom regarding community building, belonging, choosing love, and enduring success.
If you’re ready to book Trish as your next keynote speaker or if you want to learn more about her story and her message, please reach out.
“I’m inspired by your passion to effect change and confident that you will. You were truly amazing tonight. Truly. Amazing.”