Protecting our time

One of the most valuable resources we have in our lives is time. It’s a resource that we all have the same amount of, and we are all able (to some extent) to control. Yet so often we feel like we don’t have enough time, and we feel like we’re not in control of it.

I received some coaching this morning on this very topic, and this afternoon I’ve delivered two coaching sessions both of which have referred to this (predominantly in a work context but it does spill over to other areas of life). I’ve also had a challenging conversation this afternoon about how we choose to spend our time and how we prioritise things. It certainly feels like I’m receiving a message to spend time thinking about this and sharing it. Hence this blog post 🙂

So, how do you choose how to spend your time?

Do you proactively plan your time, or are you more spontaneous?

How do you decide which things to do, and which things to not do?

Recently I’ve been reluctant to schedule too many things into my calendar. I’ve noticed I seem to be putting off some of the more important things (important to me) in favour of the easy things or things that are for other people rather than for me. Not just that, but sometimes I’ll prioritise things that are for people I barely know (e.g. an out of the blue email to respond to) over things that are for people I care deeply about. I’m not OK with this behaviour in terms of priority and focus and it’s going to change. So how can I change this?

I’m going to get back to a place where I plan and structure my time more strictly. I’m going to work out what my priorities are, and apportion my time appropriately. I’m going to review this on a regular basis and make sure I’m spending my time in a way that would make me proud. I’m going to gain a more healthy balance of being proactive as well as reactive.

Some of the things I’m going to be doing to help with this (feel free to use these if they help you too; that’s one reason I’m sharing this blog post!)…

  • Recommitting to my end of month reflection and planning to set my focus for each month (I use Your Best Year for this) – I’ll block the last working day of every month to do this.
  • Recommitting to my end of week reflection and planning to ensure I’m staying focused – I’ll do this every Sunday night and will set up an electronic template so I can do it from anywhere.
  • Planning my week and scheduling in time for the different things I’m focusing on (both specific appointments and also blocking out time for proactive priorities) – I’ll do this every weekend (Fri-Sun depending on weekend plans).
  • Honouring my own needs and protecting my time (sticking to my commitments to myself) – I’ll add this to my weekly reflection template to check that I’m doing it and if necessary make adjustments.
  • Considering where and when are most appropriate times and places to do different types of activities – I’ll test different options out (e.g. whilst travelling, working at home, working away from home).

What will you do to ensure you’re protecting your time and using it wisely?