Our lives as parents are constantly changing as our kids age, so that means our time management has to change too. So how do you evolve to fit your family’s ever-changing needs?
Friend, no matter what stage of life you’re in, the answer always comes back to values – and that’s exactly what I talked with Christy Keating about on The Heartful Parent Podcast. Check out the episode here, or read on to see what I mean.
Time Management Can Be Learned
You might expect that, as a Time Management Coach, that prioritizing, scheduling, and productivity came easily to me.
Sorry, friend, but you’d be wrong.
I was the “late friend.” So much so, that at one point in my life, I was written up at work for being late 17 times in a quarter. Can you say “mortifying?”
Plus, I know the feeling of being overwhelmed. After graduating from LSU with a public relations degree, I kicked off a 10 year career in crisis communications and government affairs. You name it, and I’ve probably escorted someone down a secret freight elevator and into a back alley to avoid reporters with TV cameras waiting out front.
As you can imagine, living in constant crisis mode began to take its toll: I was overwhelmed, exhausted, and suddenly, I was the crisis that needed to be managed.
Get Clear on Your Values
After much struggle, research, and work, I realized that time management doesn’t start in the pages of our calendar. It starts with getting crystal clear with your values – with what matters most to you.
When you get to the heart of what matters most to you, you can consider that to be your vision for the future, your core values, and your purpose. Articulating your vision – what you want your life to look like – is the first step to real change.
Categorize Your Priorities
After you get specific about what you want your life to look like, then you can plan your Ideal Week. To do this, I like to start with a blank slate. Start with a new, blank calendar in Google Calendar or a blank planner, and title it “My Ideal Week.”
From here, determine what your priorities are. You might feel like everything is a priority, but the truth is, not everything is equally important. The Pareto Principle states that 20% of our inputs give us 80% of our outputs. Meaning, some stuff is just more important than other stuff.
So, break your priorities down into 3 categories: boulders, big rocks, and pebbles. This will give you more clarity about how to plan your Ideal Week.
Boulders, Big Rocks, and Pebbles
Boulders are important, but not urgent. They keep you at your best self. This might be self-care activities, time with your kids, date nights with your partner, or professional/personal development. Because they’re not on fire, it feels like you can put them off… but the more you neglect them, the more likely they are to catch on fire. So, boulders should be placed on your calendar first.
Big rocks are important and urgent. They’re project-based with deadlines, and are things that move the needle in your life and your work. It could be planning your kid’s birthday party, planning a vacation, or working on a presentation for work. These should go on your calendar second.
Pebbles are all the other little things that have to get done. It might be making a dentist appointment, going back-to-school shopping, or taking the dog for a walk. Pebbles can easily take over your entire day because they’re small and easy to accomplish… but they don’t actually move the needle.
So if you ever look at your to-do list and say, “This one big task (a big rock) looks hard, so I’m going to do these 10 easy things (pebbles) first…” that’s how pebbles can take over. Schedule these on your calendar last.
Want more? Listen to the full episode here.