Time Management and Your Mental Health (no kidding!)

When I was in business school, a fellow student in my strategy class always had the response the professor was looking for.  It was especially impressive because the professor was notorious for assigning 60+ pages of dense reading per class. After the third class, I asked him how he did it. He said, “Pay attention. In class, she tells you the key reading. Read that; leave the rest in a big pile for someday, when school’s done.” (I hauled those readings through four apartment moves until I finally gave up.)

I’m forever grateful to this student for reminding me of the importance of prioritizing. From then on I felt prepared, and the boost in confidence was game-changing. Today as an entrepreneur/CEO, that lesson is more important than ever. If I didn’t spend significant time each quarter, month, week and day prioritizing, delegating and plowing through, I’d be at a standstill. Time management is a vast topic, but here are a few of my favorite rules:

  • Outside of your daily work, decide 2-3 goals each quarter and focus consistently on those (one should be results/bottom-line oriented). You will not grow your team and organization if you don’t move “important/not urgent” goals forward. And yes, putting aside other goals is hard, but focusing on too much leads to overwhelm and lower productivity.
  • Write a to-do list, then schedule it. And leave yourself A LOT of time between tasks. Things take longer and shorter than you expect and if you schedule it too tightly, the plan doesn’t work.
  • Plan to do less. Ending the day feeling disappointed saps way too much energy. When you put less on your list you are more likely to end the day with that happy, skipping feeling, and that builds momentum.
  • Do it. Don’t let “not fun” get in the way of doing things. You will lose out on the feeling of accomplishment.
  • Measure and celebrate your success. Every day I take a few minutes to review what I am grateful for from the last 24 hours, including 2-3 accomplishments. The shift to my well-being, and reduction in my stress, is immediate. To learn more about this, see “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor.
  • And finally, make a Whole Life To Do list that includes personal and work. I learned this from Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Personal things that take mental space are like a tire with a slow leak; you can’t fully concentrate and work things take way longer.

Nothing matters more than your well-being, and taking good care of yourself leads to much greater productivity. If you want to have a conversation about time management, click here to book a complimentary call with me.


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