1. Design Your Week Your Way
Okay, so remote working has proved we can indeed be effective without physical presenteeism but boy has it triggered intense virtual presenteeism as it’s easier than ever to schedule a ‘quick catch up’. 12 hours of Teams/Zoom calls all day and then having work to do is simply untenable. Don’t do it. Take responsibility for your own schedule. I have 4 children, 3 businesses, 1 mansion and 1 dog. I’m single and there are only 24 hours in a day. I need sleep, to cook wholesome food and to exercise. I am energised by people and by creative output. Therefore my weeks cannot simply comprise video calls. Now, the invites are there in abundance but it’s up to me to decline, postpone or delegate where I can. It’s up to me to block out time for school runs, dog runs, treadmill runs and food shop runs. And so I do. My calendar is a blend of work and personal all carefully organised even down to my planned evening agendas and yes Lavender Bath goes into my calendar. With clients and colleagues in Singapore and LA I could literally be on calls all day and night so I schedule my down time like I do my work time.
2. Check In Mid-Week On How You Feel
So you may have perfected a fastidiously designed calendar which creates time to deliver your goals for the week — personal and professional — and have plotted in your down time but keep checking in with yourself as you progress across the week. You maybe have been too ambitious, others may have missed deadlines so you’ll miss yours, you may have a cold, your kids might be struggling. Check in and reprioritise constantly. Check how you feel physically, emotionally and mentally. Different aspects are ourselves undulate constantly. “What matters most today?” is my daily waking thought. Yes there are extrinsic factors that impact us, but intrinsic balance is always what matters most and it’s up to us to personally take responsibility for that in how we flourish.
3. Invent New Productivity Methods
Can you do your calls in the car? Can you listen to that podcast whilst you’re working out? Could your teenager take responsibility for the food shop or cook one meal a week? We are in the Age of Agility so recreate your home and work flows to suit you and your family. My dog now comes on the school run with me and 8–9am we go for a 10k run along this stunning Surrey hilltop whilst I do my first couple of calls. I come home and decompress 9–10am whilst I shower and rejuvenate for the day ahead. It works.
As life demands have become seriously intense this past year, I am more dedicated than ever to filtering out the whirlwind of time stealer meetings, tasks, email requests, play dates (and even people) to ensure I only do something if I can wholly see where the effort will impact the broader business/project/children/life outcome. If I and it will add value then it’s all systems go. If it can be approached another way, delegated elsewhere, or rejected as a ‘to do’ then away it goes. Push back intelligently, intuitively and sensitively and watch delicious gaps appear in your calendar.
5. Growth Mindset
Own a growth mindset with a meta-view — focus on strategic personal and business goals by stepping out of the minutiae of daily deliverables. Who do you want to spend time with and why? Where do you want to be when and why? Ensure the raison d’etre of every thing you do ladders up your longer term ambitions and intentions. It’s by connecting in to the higher purpose we find motivation and inspiration to continue along our paths.
It all sounds so obvious really. Just takes a bit of mindful adoption. And unbroken resolution of course. Put it into practice for yourself and enjoy your transformation of time suddenly seeming more abundant!