Making the most of your time

by | Apr 9, 2020 | Leadership

Last week, I hosted the first of 4 weekly conversations about how to rise above lockdown. One of the challenges that emerged was how to make the most of our time over the coming weeks, and possibly months.

Whilst we all have the same situation of enforced time at home, the challenge varied depending on people’s situations – working full-time and finding it difficult to draw boundaries, dealing with being furloughed, or wondering where to focus in the face of a vanished income stream. And of course there are those juggling work with childcare who weren’t represented on the call because they were too busy juggling!

How are you feeling about how you’re spending your time?

The theme for the next Rising above lockdown conversation is how we make the most of our time and it’s got me thinking about the questions we would benefit from asking ourselves. There’s 3 things I think we need to pay attention to :

Values. What’s most important to you and what does that mean for where you want to spend your time? If a fly on the wall were to observe your day, what would they conclude about your values? For example, do you value time with your family, yet you’re glued to work emails on your phone?

Goals. Something else we talked about is defining what you can control at a time when so much is out of our control. What do you want to achieve in this period, particularly if your work landscape has changed significantly? For me, one of the things I want to do is to complete the first draft of the book I’m writing on confidence. Perhaps your goal is to learn to slow down and be more mindful.

It doesn’t matter what the goal is but how it helps you make decisions about how you’re spending your time in any one moment.

Energy. Time is the same for everyone. However, syncing our energy levels with our activities can make a whole lot of difference for what we have to show for our time. In her book The First 2 Hours, Donna McGeorge shares research that, regardless of whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl, 70% of people are at their most productive between 9am and 12 noon. How much more could you get done if you prioritised your most important activities in the morning before you look at your email?

As Greek philosopher Theophrastus said, “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”  Make sure you’re spending your time in a way that is valuable to you. 

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Alison Reid is an experienced executive coach who helps senior managers and directors lead with confidence and step-change their influence and impact. She works with them 1-1, empowering them to focus on what matters, communicate with impact and stay calm under pressure so they can lead themselves and others to great results. She's the author of Unleash Your Leadership : How to Worry Less and Achieve More. Download an extract or buy the book.

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