Balancing life takes time management


POSTED: Friday, March 27, 2009

Is it possible to have a job and have a life, too? Creating a balance between work and personal life is one of life's major challenges.

Here are some basic steps that can help you to be highly efficient whether at work or home. How many are you already doing?

1. Start with a plan. Spend the first 10 minutes of your day reviewing what needs to be done, which items are most important, who could and should do some of the work, and when you will do the important tasks.

2. Write out (or print from a computer) your prioritized Daily Action Plan—a mental plan doesn't count or work.

3. Eliminate distractions and time wasters. Is your workspace (or home) cluttered with piles? Set them aside and out of the way until you can deal with them.

4. Check e-mail and your in-box only at designated times, not throughout the day.

5. Follow your plan unless something more important comes up.

6. Establish a set time to leave work. We all work better with a deadline, and leaving work on time is one way not to shortchange personal time.

7. Before leaving work, get loose ends off your mind by writing down your to-do's for tomorrow.

As for when to do your work, Dan Carroll, founder and president of the Strategic Coach, offers a different way to work: the “;Entrepreneurial Time System.”;

“;Of the 365 days a year, there are only going to be three different kinds of days: 'Focus Days,' when you're producing the really best results, 'Free Days,' when you're rejuvenating, and 'Buffer Days,' when you're preparing—handling the backstage of your work.”;

Each is a 24-hour hour day. “;Focus Days”; are meant to be tremendously productive, with 80 percent of the time spent on the three most important moneymaking activities. Carroll claims that productivity is three to four times greater when focusing for a full day.

On “;Buffer Days”; one can do anything related to business. It's a time to eliminate messes, clean things out and prepare to have great free and focus days.

“;Free Days”; are completely free from work. No business paperwork or phone calls are allowed. Carroll has found tremendous rejuvenation in taking a full 24-hour day off, compared with a little free time over 10 days.

While this system might be easier for entrepreneurs to follow, I feel it can be adapted to the corporate world. Perhaps two hours of the morning can be the buffer period with two hours being focus time, repeated in the afternoon. Or set aside a half-day buffer, with the other half for focus. With meetings and appointments, the remaining time could be divided into buffer and focus time. And, of course, one 24-hour period would be the “;Free Day.”;

If what you're doing now isn't working, dare to try something new!

The bottom line is to get important work done, tie up loose ends and have a balance so you can have a job and a life, too!

See you in two weeks!