Where did my day go?
What did I even accomplish today?
I feel busy all of the time, but nothing important is getting done.
There are not enough hours in the day.
Is today even a weekday?
Do you ever feel like you get to the end of the day without accomplishing anything, while other days, everything seems to come easily?
Why do some days feel better than others?
We all have twenty-four hours in a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year.
Time is our most limited resource and our most precious asset, so we must be intentional with how we spend it.
The challenge of time was at the forefront during my cancer treatment when it seemed there was not enough time in the day.
While working full-time, leading a global team, I was so exhausted that by 3 pm each day, I hid under my desk to take a twenty-minute nap, hoping no one would catch me.
It seemed impossible to balance my treatment, my health, and my workload.
I knew that I only had a productive four to five hours to get all of my work done, so after months of overwhelm and struggle, I created a strategy to get the same amount of work done in half the time.
In the next few weeks, I will share some helpful secrets to help you master your time.
So, let’s get started!
The first secret to time mastery is drum roll…
The importance of long-term vision.
Step 1: Craft your long-term vision.
You are probably saying to yourself, “Wait, what? How does long-term planning make a difference to time in my day?”
Think of it like this, imagine you decide to take a road trip across the United States from New York to California.
You pack up the car and set off in your red convertible, wind in your hair, blasting your favorite tunes, and about an hour into the trip, your GPS no longer is working.
You get to a fork in the highway and decide to take the ramp on the left. What do you think would happen here?
Well, you probably won’t wind up in California.
A few hours later, you see the New York City skyline appear as you sadly wind up just where you started, only with less gas in the car (note the metaphor here).
Your first step to maximize your time is to create a long-term vision to identify your general direction. Create a three to five-year vision and work backward to craft your one-year goals.
Wait, don’t panic! If you can’t think that far ahead, no problem. Start with what you want to accomplish one year from now. Knowing where you are generally going, you won’t take a detour that lands you right back where you started.
Sure, you may take a random exit to see the Cleveland Music Hall of Fame.
You may even take a wrong turn somewhere entirely, but with your GPS working, you will know how to get back on track to where you ultimately want to land.
What if it’s not January 1st?
No problem. You can do this at any time you like!
For more on this topic, see my recent article How to Know Your Next Step Forward Here.
Step 2: Be specific!
Why is this important? Being specific sets you up for success by helping you become crystal clear on what your goals are.
Let’s go back to the road trip example. On your drive to California, you become so excited as you imagine your toes in the sand, feeling the warm sun on your face, and taking a dip in the ocean.
Finally, you see the sign “Welcome to California”!
You get a hotel, rush to put your bathing suit on, and run into the sea only to feel the cold water like shockwaves through your entire system.
It turns out that you are in Northern California, and it is 45 degrees Fahrenheit!
Hmm… I guess you were not specific enough.
SMART Goal Setting
A great way to be specific and measure your success is to craft SMART Goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based. See the breakdown below.
An overall good question to ask yourself is how I will know that I have accomplished this in a year?
Step 3: Break it down into three meals a day.
Now that you have your one-year vision, what’s next? Well, you need to break it down into smaller bites.
You wouldn’t eat the entire year’s worth of dinners in one sitting, would you?
First, break your goals down by month and then later by week and then by day.
What needs to happen first to make something else happen? When is the best time to do something?
If we set off in the car to California, we clearly can’t pack our bags two hours after leaving.
We also need to remember to get gas. When is the best time to even go on this trip?
Perhaps we also want to plan our trip to avoid heavy snowstorms or other events.
Yes, I know that this may seem like a lot to think through, but don’t panic! If you are “allergic to structure,” it may feel like this may either suffocate you or box you in. Try to imagine your yearly plan as a framework where you can feel free and creative.
You can even think of it as a game where you can move around the missing pieces wherever you like.
Want to make a detour that feels more exciting along the way?
The good news is that this is totally fine!
You can take the turn off, enjoy that moment while knowing you are still on track. You don’t have to worry so much when you have a general framework of where you are going. Sigh, Isn’t that great?
If you haven’t grabbed this already, download my free planner to help you Go From Stuck to Getting Sh*t Done Here.
If you would like a step-by-step vision and strategy game plan, make sure to grab my 7-Day Clutter to Clarity Course Here.
Trust me – It’s game-changing!
I am looking forward to sharing more Time Secrets next week!