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I am fanatical about how I use time. Yes, time is money, but time is TIME…one of my greatest assets—in addition to good health—and my fastest diminishing resource. I don’t like wasting it, and I like it even less when someone else wastes my time.
I thought I’d share these time management tips and strategies with you because as publisher of ICONIC LIFE, I feel that making the most of our time contributes to Living Beautifully.
There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Those seconds don’t accrue to the next day, and once they are gone, I can’t get them back. I thought I’d share these time management tips and strategies with you because as publisher of ICONIC LIFE, I feel that making the most of our time contributes to Living Beautifully.
While I haven’t written a book on time management techniques, I do feel—as Liam Neeson says—”what I do have is a very particular set of skills.” And I use them in my own action-packed life as an entrepreneur, publisher, mother and woman who wants to have a bigger impact in this world. So, here goes! I truly hope you find this valuable, and of course, if I missed something, please share. As you can see, I am quite passionate about this topic.
MINUTE BY MINUTE
My son and I were working out on the two ellipticals we have at our house. The goal was an easy 30-minute cardio workout. At the 23-minute mark, he said “Mom, I’m going to get off now.” Quit seven minutes before a goal? Is this really my child? As it relates to the management of my time, my tip is to not even allow myself to think I can quit early.
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My question to him was, “If you are going to step off early, what are you going to do with that seven minutes of your life, and how valuable is that to you?” He spent another three minutes telling me what he could do with that time; I used up about two minutes more in rebuttal as to the value of Xbox over a workout, and by the time we discussed when we would work out next…alas, together we hit 30 minutes.
Did you know that we spend six months of our life (24 hours of each of those days) waiting at red lights? Did you know, by the end of our life, we will have spent three and a half years waiting in line? We will have spent an average of six years eating—for my son, I bet he is on the very high side of that average.
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FIT THE BIG THINGS IN FIRST
There is a great narrative about time management strategies, and it goes like this. A college professor asked his students in geology class to fill a jar with rocks, pebbles, sand and water. They had three minutes to meet the challenge. Three minutes later, none of them had accomplished getting everything into the jar.
The professor said, watch me. First you put the big rocks in, then you trickle in the pebbles, so they fill the spaces between the rocks. They you pour the sand in to fill the then smaller spaces between the pebbles. Last, you pour the water in to fill the microscopic space between the sand, and alas it all fits in the jar. He pointed out that the student who had attempted to put the rocks in last found they had no room for the rocks.
That’s how our day goes…If we start out by checking social media and answering emails, by the end of the day, we’ll have little time to get the big proposal or project done. This time management tip is all about doing the most important, biggest things first. Fit in the most important things first, and the little things will follow.
MOST IMPORTANT THINGS
I start my day with a list of MITs…Most Important Things. It’s a list of things I must complete before the day is over, and I keep my attention focused on them first, because they are the items I MUST complete. Trust me that this list is not all work related—
school pick-up used to be my most important appointment of the day.
This only works if your list is truly THE most important things. There are other lists out there for all I have to do, calls and personal to-dos. Your M.I.T. list should be three to five items, and you should always complete that list before you end your day.
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I use as many time management tools and techniques as I can to maximize my time (it’s a bit different during quarantine, but you’ll get the gist). Here are a few tips from a woman who clearly values every minute of the day:
• I work from home on Mondays to get a quick, uninterrupted start to my week—my longest-standing time management tip on this list.
• Google Calendar is an amazing tool for business appointments, but even more to schedule my week and what needs to happen each day. (Tuesday at 5 pm, visit Jimmy Choo to shop new collection.)
• I use my iPad mini with a personal hot spot to return emails when I have a few minutes here and there, where I’d otherwise be waiting.
• WIFI on the airplane is/was one of my favorite things…when we were traveling all the time. I can get so much done with no interruptions. Don’t upset me by putting me on a plane without WIFI. And if you sit next to me, I probably won’t be chatting the whole flight, as I am a time management tipster who practices what she preaches.
• My team uses Slack for one-stop messaging, so we don’t have items on email, text, voice messaging.
• We also like FLOW to organize our team tasks and my own. It also lets me know where items are in progress without calling everyone all the time and keeps me organized…or maybe that is my team keeping me organized.
• I have been using Zoom for at least four years already. So, when everyone started Zooming, we were already up to speed. I like it for meetings that I don’t have to attend in person. In fact, I always ask myself, do I need to be there in person? How can I save time here?
• I use services that come to the house as an integral part of my time management strategies: meal delivery, Door Dash, UberEATS, grocery delivery, farmer’s market delivery, dry cleaning pick-up and delivery, auto detailing, water delivery, dog food delivery, AmazonPrime (don’t get me started), online shopping, online bill pay, mobile groomer, massage therapy at the house and a housekeeper that does the laundry. A few years ago, I was going to market a list of businesses that come to you, aka Renee’s List.
• I work with an amazing team that is self-motivated, who I trust. That is worth so much, and it saves time. If I haven’t said thank you to my team today…thank you!
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• I do a 20-minute, intense non-stop muscle-building work out twice a week, in addition to my regular work outs…who doesn’t have time for that. I’ve been known to talk on the phone while pedaling my Peloton, too.
• I do a daily 7 am huddle call with my MVP so we can discuss important business items outside of “prime time” for business development and closing sales.
• I schedule all my meetings to come to me, so I can have more meetings in a day, and I do them in a row. The exception is: if you are MY CLIENT…I go to you…always. (During these times, I use the same thinking for my Zoom meetings.)
• I take my computer to hair appointments, and sometimes meet my PR team there—double-dunking my time management tips.
• I listen to a motivational podcast while I drive
• I catch up with a friend at a nail appointment.
• I cluster phone messages to return at one time.
• I return text messages with voice dictation.
• I participate on a conference call while I’m walking outside. During these times, I love talking and walking with friends by Facetime.
• I return phone calls between meetings.
• I group my “in town” meetings on one day each week. (If I am going to drive 30 minutes from my home office, I’m going to have three meetings.) The next day, I work from home all day—time management strategies 101.
• If I have a dinner, I schedule a client meeting for a late afternoon coffee before the dinner. I’m heading out anyway.
• I meal plan, so I don’t have to drive around picking up take out or grocery shop more than once a week.
• Instacart! Instacart! InstaCart!
• It takes a village! I have a personal assistant who runs errands for me so I can use my time doing what I do best. That includes car maintenance, Amazon returns, consignment drop offs and some gift pick-ups.
• I work with an amazing travel agent who makes all travel easy and time efficient.
• And finally, I use my best time of the day for the most important stuff. I’m most fresh in the morning, so I do my writing and big thinking early; I don’t run to my bank, for example, until end of day. And I save fun conversations with friends and family for the end of the day, when I can focus on them and enjoy the chat.