“If I only had an 8th day or a 25th hour I could get it all done.”
Has that thought ever crossed your mind? It has crossed mine. When it does, I know it is time to revisit my calendar, my commitments and my priorities.
We all get the same number of hours in a day. It is the one equitable resource we share.
24 hours each day. 7 days in a week.
We have 168 hours of life to live every week and if we are getting enough sleep, we have 112 hours to actually accomplish things. No one can manufacture time, so how we spend it really matters.
That is why when the thought, “If I only had an 8th day this week” crosses my mind, I know it’s time to gut-check my calendar. Gut checking my calendar means looking through how I spent all the hours in a day or week and asking myself, was this time well spent?
The exercise doesn’t take long, but it has been invaluable to me over the years. Whether I am looking over the day I just had, or the previous week, I discover ways in which I was wise with my time, and ways in which I was wasteful, and I make adjustments.
When I work with people who are trying to re-calibrate their pace and productivity, I start by asking people to print out their calendar for the previous week, and we go back over it with a fine tooth comb. I call it the Calendar Gut-Checklist. Here it is:
The Calendar Gut-Checklist
Step 1: Gut-Check Accuracy
· Does the calendar capture what you actually did?
· If not, try to fill in the blanks and make adjustments to the calendar so that it represents what actually happened, not what was planned.
Step 2: Gut-Check Decisions to Not Honor the Calendar
· Notice the differences between what was planned and what actually happened.
· Why did those adjustments happen? Were they smart, necessary decisions?
Step 3: Gut Check the Time Spent
· What did you actually do in each hour?
· Was it worth it?
· What impact did your presence have in that meeting? Were you an important contributor?
· Did you give yourself adequate transition time and travel time?
· Which hours were most effective, and which were least effective? Why?
Now that you know where the time went, and how effective you were with your time, it’s time to get analytical. What do you need to do differently so that you can be more effective with your time?
Make a list of 5-10 changes you can make to your calendar that will make you more effective. Pick your top 3 and makes those changes to your future calendar. You can save the list so that the next time you find yourself wishing for another hour in the day or another day in the week, you can take it out and make another couple of changes to your calendar.
I wish you many hours of time well-spent!