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How to Gain Control of Your Free Time

By Alicia Croke

    Thu, Mar 28, 2019 @ 09:00 AM Strategy Execution

    Recently, I felt like time has been getting away from me. I am sure many of us feel like that at the beginning2 Ways to Gain Control of Your Free Time of a new year after the lull of the holidays. Laura Vanderkam, a time management expert, knows all about how we feel we don't have enough time. I recently watched her Ted Talk, "How to Gain Control of Your Free Time." 

    She looked at successful people and how they manage time. She conducted a time management study with incredibly busy women. Even the most successful people have things that completely derail their week, and they have to find time for it. Vanderkam said, "Time will stretch to accommodate what we chose to put into it, and so the key to time management is treating our priorities as the equivalent of that broken water heater."

    She gave professional and personal strategies for time management. Vanderkam brought up the dreaded annual performance review; then she flipped it to focus on the future. Imagine it is the end of this year, and you have had a successful year. "What 3-5 things would make it a great year for you professionally?" In Rhythm, this is similar to our destination postcard exercise, which helps you plan out your annual initiatives at the beginning of the year. How are those annual initiatives helping winning moves to get to your BHAG?

    Vanderkam brought up those family holiday letters everyone seems to get in December. You know the ones that say Timmy had a great year, and Sally had a busy year doing XYZ. She brought us back to envisioning the end of the year. "What 3-5 things would make it a great year for you personally?" At Rhythm Systems, we have a dashboard in Rhythm called "Sharpen the Saw" where we focus on our personal goals.

    After both of those exercises, you have 6-10 goals for the year. Now, you have to break each of those goals down over the year. For example, one of my personal goals is to run a half marathon by the end of the year. I broke each month and week down with a training schedule and placed milestones along the way. She reminded us to put our priorities into our schedule first, just like Covey does with big rocks in this video. She encouraged focusing on your weeks before it even starts. During this time, you should break down your week into three categories: personal, relationships, and professional. Then, place two-three items in each category, then plan them in across the week. I usually do this during my Meeting With Myself time on Friday.

    With these strategies, I hope by the end of next year, all the things you have envisioned have come true!

    Rhythm Systems Weekly Meeting With Myself Tool

    Additional Rhythm Systems Meeting Resources to help you fix a meeting.

    How To Have Effective Weekly Staff Meetings (With Sample Agenda Template)

    Download our weekly meeting agenda template

    Are You Having Weekly Meetings with Yourself?

    Supercharge Your Meetings with This Effective Weekly Meeting Agenda

    8 Ways to Make Weekly Meetings Strategic vs. Tactical (Video)

    Weekly Adjustment Meetings vs. Weekly Status Meetings (Infographic)

    Consider using Rhythm Software to run your weekly meeting, where the status and agenda are automatically created every week to keep you on track!

    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images  

     

    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

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