How you spend your days is how you spend your life.
If you want to cultivate a life of intentionality – one where you’re spending your time on what matters most – you have to start by getting crystal clear on your vision and values. In this episode of the Live By Design Podcast, I chat with Kate House about exactly how to do that, plus my three favorite time management strategies from my new book, Time Management Essentials!
Check out the episode here, or read on for a summary. And if you enjoyed Live By Design, check out Kate’s interview on the It’s About Time Podcast here!
Determine Your Vision and Values
Time management isn’t copy-and-paste. Instead of trying that productivity hack you read on a blog or attempting that influencer’s morning routine, the best first step to better time management is determining your values and vision for your life.
To get started, zoom out and ask yourself this big-picture question: What do you want your life to look like? What’s your vision for the future?
That can be an intimidating question, so instead of getting stuck pondering the next 80 years, just think about the next 6 months or year. One year from now, if you’re living your best life, what would life look like? How would you spend your time? Would you wake up early and meditate? Would you feel energized because you meal plan and cook healthy food? Once you have that clear vision, you can make decisions today for how you’ll spend your time to get there.
That will help you determine your values. Your values are the things that matter most to you. Maybe that’s family, faith, authenticity, and honesty. In Time Management Essentials, I walk you through exactly how to create a list of core values that serves as your north star for all of your decisions going forward.
Personally, legacy is one of my core values. When I say “legacy,” I mean the legacy I want to leave for my daughters – not just in terms of a business or financial security, but what kind of example as a wife, mother, and leader I’ll leave.
Once you have your vision and values in place, decision-making becomes so much easier. Suddenly, you can filter all your decisions through that lens, and it becomes clear whether you should take that new job or say yes to that volunteering opportunity!
3 Time Management Strategies
Once you have your vision and values in place, here are three of my best time management strategies to try out:
Organize Your Priorities
Get really clear on your priorities, because our priorities drive how we spend our time. So often, everything feels like a priority, and that makes decision-making feel difficult.
To categorize priorities, I think of them as boulders, big rocks, and pebbles. You can find out more about boulders, big rocks, and pebbles here.
Time blocking is the OG time management strategy, because it’s so basic! The strategy of time blocking means taking your to-do list and giving it visual space on your calendar.
This is the secret to creating a realistic to-do list. When you have 37 tasks on your to-do list and a clear day on your calendar, your brain is going to think you’ll be able to do all of them. But when you start estimating how much time each will take, you’ll realize you can only do 7 of them… and that’s okay!
Time blocking is huge because it will change the way you feel about yourself at the end of the day. When you only have space for 7 things on your calendar – and you realize that’s realistic – you stop feeling defeated by your to-do list.
Weekly Planning Session
This is the single most important thing you can do every week! This is a meeting with yourself to look at the week ahead and identify any roadblocks. You’ll look at things like:
- What events/meetings do I have going on this week?
- How is this week going to feel? Will it be calm, or frazzled?
- What are the potential problems and how can I fix them now?
- What decisions can I make in advance to combat chaos, like:
- Can I plan meals based on my evening plans?
- Can I plan for a slow-cooker meal on a busy night?
- Can I make travel plans between events now, and include buffer time?
- Can I coordinate with the other support people in my family (partner, older children, etc.) to overcome potential roadblocks?
- Bonus: can I check the weather and set out outfits for the week accordingly? This is what I do for my girls each week!
Want more? Listen to the full episode here.