Women are all that and a bag of chips at multi-tasking. It’s amazing to witness, really. This badge of achievement has been slapped on our chests over and over again because we’ve earned it. But, why is cooking dinner, having a phone conversation, checking homework, and skimming the latest Brendon Burchard book the norm?
Moms everywhere are doing at least 3 things at the same time. Right now, I’m typing this blog post, signing my daughter up for girl scouts, and contemplating what cute, comfy outfit I can throw on for this impromptu lunch date my husband just invited me to 5 mins. ago. *Ding* And, there goes my phone…
So, what’s with the hustle and bustle?
You’re doing a gazillion things at once because (1) you’re a magpie, (2) you aren’t planning in advance, and (3) you were never taught how to be a time ninja or as Senator Maxine Waters calls it reclaiming your time.
1. Resist the urge to jump ship every 15 mins.
A magpie is a bird who’s attracted to shiny things. You, my friend, are a magpie. When a BOGO Free or Last Call email pops into your inbox, you click on it right away. This is called Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). When a new book arrives on your doorstep (or on your Kindle), you download it and dive in. This is called zeal. But, when we do this, what happens to the other book we’re halfway through? What happens to the current task we’re performing? Everything is demanding our attention RIGHT NOW, but when we keep abandoning current priorities for newer, shinier things, we interrupt our process and veer off our goal pathway.
How to get started:
Create a special ring tone for the hubby, the daycare/school, and your siblings & parents and let everything else go to voicemail.
- Set two designated times/day to check & respond to email.
- When you reply to email, do so in a succinct and complete manner. Your goal is to receive a reply you don’t have to respond to.
- Create folders for articles you want to read, people you want to reach out to, and programs & books you’ve purchased. Then put these to-do’s into your calendar where you have availability.
- You might be in a profession where people expect you to be available at the drop of a hat. Take a note out of this realtor’s book & retrain them.
- When you’re making dinner and you remember the two pairs of shoes in your Carter’s shopping cart, don’t let the dumplings burn while you find your credit card and make the purchase. Make a note to purchase them later.
2. Think x3.
We’re always doing 10 things at once because we’re trying to save something we have so little of – time.
So, how do we create more time? Planning.
You should think about something a minimum of 3 times: 1)At the start of the week 2) The night before, and 3)Right before you do it.
When I prepare at night, my mornings are nearly seamless. And, if the snooze button is hit a few more times than we can afford, we can still get out of the door in one piece and internal peace because of the work we did the night before.
How to get started:
- Set aside 1 to 2 hours on Saturday to plan the next 7 days. Think about what you want the next 7 days to look like. An ice-cold glass of lemonade on the porch while barefoot?
- Plug that into the calendar. A family game night? Plug that in. Date night? Plug that in. But don’t stop there.
- When you make your grocery list, jot down all the things you need (in addition to the groceries). A new scented candle & lighter for your Sunday night bubble bath? Snacks for family game night? Jot it down.
- The night before, glance at your calendar and imagine the day. My job is in a high -traffic area and sometimes it takes me 5 mins. just to exit the parking lot. From there, I pick up my 24 mth old. then my 7 year old. By the time we get home, the baby’s starving and tired and the 7 year is still talking from when she woke up that morning at 6 AM. So, I’m always thinking of how to maneuver because it could all go wrong very quickly.
3. Reclaim your time.
Successful people know that in order to be productive, they must guard their time. And, it’s not just about task completion. It’s about protecting your state of mind. Or as Steve Harvey put it in his memo to his employees, “It is for the good of my personal life and enjoyment.”
Have you ever walked into the office and before you could get to your desk, someone stopped you to chat?
Has someone ever asked you if you had a minute and a half-hour later they were still there?
People wear the shirts “But, first, coffee…” because they’re saying, “Don’t bombard me when I walk into the room. Let me sit my bag down, hang up my coat, have my coffee and review my schedule for the day. THEN, you may speak with me but I’d prefer you make an appointment. Thanks!”
But, this goes against social norms. When an email arrives, respond. When someone calls, answer it. If someone asks for your help, give it. And, if you’re a solopreneur, you better answer because you work for yourself and you have all the time in the world. (Wrong!)
People don’t manage their time well so when others ask for advance notice, it’s off-putting.
Notice I said strict time management is off-putting to people who don’t manage their own time. You’ll never meet a CEO who asks for 5 mins. and takes 30 or pops up unannounced. And, you won’t find his/her team behaving that way either. Their success depends on having time-integrity and the moment you try to excel at life, you’ll realize that your success depends on it, too.
How to get started:
- Tell people what you’re doing. Don’t assume they’ll pick up on your new behavior.
- Share the benefits so they, too, can be more efficient with their time.
- Be consistent with your new time-rules. If you don’t respect your time, others won’t either.
- Systems. How should they go about making an appointment with you?
- Carve out 1 hour/day for people who might want/need to speak with you right away. Some entrepreneurs call this their office hours.
I know you have a lot going on and only 24 hours in the day. And, I also know that you can be present, have peace, and enjoy your day and all you have planned without rushing and chronically multi-tasking.
To dive deeper into your personal time-management issues and come up with a personalized solution, schedule a power hour call with me.