Can you imagine mastering time? The term “time mastery” seems like a crazy concept, doesn’t it? We all wish we had more time, just like we all wish we had more money. What if I told you that with just a little focused energy and some organization, you could free up HOURS of time and be able to repurpose that time doing the things that add value to your life or business? Well, that’s exactly what I intend to do in my column today, by teaching you the 2 lessons that I have learned about time mastery.
The first lesson that I learned: “If it’s not in your calendar, it doesn’t exist.” I’ve been alive for around 33 years and I am just learning how true this is. Gone are the simple days of 4 hours of classes at Stockton, followed by 4 hours of serving at a restaurant in AC, followed by… whatever the heck I wanted to do!
These days, my life is filled to the brim with meetings, appointments, school functions, training, reviews, p&ls, soccer, social media, events, important phone calls, swim, and a ridiculous myriad of other things. If I neglect to put something into my calendar, there is about a 6% chance that I’ll remember to do it, simply because I have too much going on in my mind. I feel like I am losing my marbles most days, if I’m being honest! Many of us do. Adulting is no joke. We have work, and families, and homes, and sports, and chores, and bills, and oh so much more. We become overwhelmed and we have no idea how we got there or how to get out. One simple shift in your life can lead to freedom from overwhelm: live by your calendar.
Put every single thing that you want to accomplish in your calendar. Then follow your calendar every single day. Make it a habit! Take time each Sunday to plan out the week ahead, so that you know what is before you. You will undoubtedly go into your week feeling at ease and prepared.
So how exactly do you live by your calendar? Well step one is prioritizing, which leads me to the second lesson that I learned: Budget your time like you budget your money. Once you decide to commit to following a calendar, you’ll get a pretty solid picture of where your priorities lie. One Monday morning, I sat down to my computer, took a deep breath, and realized I felt completely off. My vision was blurry, I felt like I had complete brain fog, I felt shaky, and anxious.
I stopped what I was doing and went right home. I knew what it was. I hadn’t taken a real day off in months. I had been living according to my calendar during the week, but my weekends weren’t planned. They were open. And instead of filling them with the things that mattered most to me, like church and family, I filled them with hours upon hours of work. I hit a wall. I felt depleted, because I had not been feeling up mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.
My business coach addressed it on our Tuesday afternoon call. She made me plan out my weekend (with time OFF), plan my family’s entire Summer, and even plan one full week off to spend with my family in the Summer. This seems pretty simple, but it was revolutionary for me. I had to purposefully alot time to my family and to church, and to rest and relaxation. I teared up as I looked at my entire Summer, planned and perfect. The Mom-guilt dissipated and I felt unstoppable.
A friend of mine, Michael Burnette, Executive Pastor of Lifepoint Church in Clarksville, TN once taught me to budget my time, like I budget my money. Interestingly, I had recently forgotten those wise words, until I came face to face with burnout. In financial budgeting, you allot specific amounts of money to specific expenses, which usually are grouped into specific categories. You tell your money where to go. It is the same thing with time mastery. YOU tell your time where to go… or in this case you tell your time who is boss! (By the way, that’s you, you’re the boss. Okay let’s press on.)
List the things that must get done each day in order for you to feel as though you have “won” the day and can feel good about checking out for the night. Decide how much time you have in a day. Now, begin to decide how much time you must allot to each priority task. Divide your day up into blocks of time, with each hour (or two or three) being given a specific purpose. This works for CEOs, stay at home moms, and everyone in between.
Once your priority tasks, whatever they may be, are written out on paper and organized into a specific time of day, follow the schedule! This will enable you to give super focused attention to one thing at a time. Not only will you achieve your goals faster, but you will experience freedom: Laying down at the end of the day knowing that you accomplished all that you had intended to.
Don’t forget to schedule time for rest, relaxation, and family. The whole purpose of living by your calendar and budgeting your time like you budget your money is to live your life by design, not by default. That means living your life purposefully, with an aim and an intention, instead of simply letting life happen and getting caught up in the process. When you live a life by design and not by default, you, my friend, are unstoppable. Until next week, Shore Locals, I am sending you peace, love, and good vibes! Now, go become a Time Master!