What does your week look like?
And I mean that quite literally.
Pause for a moment and glance at your schedule.
Cast an eye on today, this week and – while you’re at it – next week as well.
Hand on heart, are there any ‘free’ gaps or have you scheduled yourself to the max?
It’s natural to fill those time slots.
We want to be productive.
We want to do it all.
We want to feel like we’re squeezing the most out of each day.
Sadly, the result is that we often end up feeling exhausted, frustrated and stressed.
We don’t understand why we’re not keeping to our plans, or why we’re not making better progress towards our targets and goals.
Sound like you?
You’re certainly not alone. When I’m working with clients to develop their time management skills, one thing we do is analyse how their time is allocated.
Not surprisingly, most people I work with over-commit themselves without leaving an ounce of breathing room.
So why do we do this to ourselves?
I believe it’s because when we’re mapping out our weeks, we’re planning from a one-way street.
We’re scheduling our time based on what we intend to do, without taking into account what the outside world might – and will! – demand from us.
Whether it’s an unexpected crisis, a series of last minute requests or even a new opportunity – if we haven’t schedule some buffer time in our day or week, something will have to give.
We’ll either forego our important high-level work or catch up by stealing hours from our personal leisure time to fit everything in.
Now, imagine if you had an unscheduled ‘contingency’ day that would allow you to absorb all those unanticipated glitches during your week.
Could you spare one full day a week? Half a day? A few hours?
Even with our best intentions, plans are fluid and can change minute to minute.
Your unscheduled contingency time is there help give you the space to handle what the week throws at you.
Time to schedule some unscheduled time.
Your action point for today is to review your diary and ring-fence whatever you feel you can afford to give yourself some much needed bandwidth.
Use the time to catch up, to work on something new that comes in, or to get ahead on that meaty project that’s been sitting on the back burner.
And if you feel inclined to unplug and go out for a leisurely coffee, I strongly recommend that, too.
You’ll have built-in time for some spontaneity, and your business and well-being will thank you.
Do you need help scheduling that unscheduled time?
If you need help in planning and managing your diary so you can be more productive and less stressed, I’d be delighted to help.
Have a look at my Time Management Programme to see how I can help you develop your time management skills, or connect with me directly for a chat.
Call me on +44 (0) 7590 069 900, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a call using my online scheduler here!
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