The mainstay of time management, to help avoid distractions is the to do list. We include important things that must be done with the dates to do them. Is your list only business or are you, family and friends on the list?

Every time I do  a presentation, talk to my clients or read anything, including my e-book, about time management, there is a theme. Look at what you are doing and what needs to be done, then create the system to do it.

The first step is always spend time analyzing how you spend your time. You will uncover a picture of what you do, for how long and when.  Once you have this the next step is using the Eisenhower Time Matrix to list what is urgent, important, can be delegated and can be deleted.  The urgent and important sections look at what needs to be prepared and planned (important/not urgent) vs. what needs to be done now ( urgent and important)  The best analogy for this is the fire department. I had the good fortune to deliver numerous programs to the LA County Fire Department. Every time I was at one of the stations  I saw people working on the equipment and learning procedures. The equipment included exercising , making sure they were healthy and fit for the strenuous work because they too were part of the equipment. The minute there was a call they were ready. They did the prep work and planning.  A colleague of mine had a saying “proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance”

Using the matrix look at what you can delegate, which serves 2 purposes; it frees you to focus on  more of the work in your job description, and it develops others. Both purposes are key to improving performance of individuals and companies.

The 4th quadrant in the matrix is not urgent and not important. It’s getting lost in the reels on Facebook, scrolling Instagram or any other distraction that enables you to procrastinate.  I am certainly not telling you to stop doing the mindless tasks, I am saying set time for them. an example might be work for a solid hour on a project then take a 10 minute break to do something mindless. Set an alarm  to avoid getting lost in the rabbit hole.

Once you looked at the matrix and figured out how much time to allocate to specific tasks, select set days and/or  times  when you will be completely focused on specific tasks and do not want to be disturbed.  Try 2-3 one hour blocks on different days  Identify the best times for you to work. I know for me it is usually not first thing in the morning; most often in the afternoon.

Getting back to my initial question are you on the list?  Have you put your name on your calendar? Too many people, usually women, haven’t done this. If you are not at your best for you, how can you be at your best for the company or yourself.  Getting back to the fire department, they work schedules that have downtime.

I have a client who was working well into the night running a business and taking care of the family. She was overwhelmed and eventually wasn’t able to get as much done and the revenue was affected. I made her take a 45 minute nap 4 days a week  I told her   JFK, Winston Churchill and many top executives insisted on taking naps to energize themselves and perform better. If they could do it so could she.  What have you scheduled on your to do list that is just for you? That does not include errands or tasks for others  it is just for you

I have just skimmed the surface on this topic.  A helpful tool is from Peter Drucker, make a list of what you will stop doing, start doing, and continue doing. After all this is your life, enjoy it.

If you want more ideas or tools, just email me