Recently I attended a women’s esteem workshop for coaches. At the end of the day-long intensive, the facilitator asked each of the attendees to share their most powerful takeaway. I was surprised to hear a consistent refrain: the challenge of upholding personal boundaries for better time management.
It seems regardless of how up to speed we are with goal setting strategies, this is one area women still struggle with.
Why? For one thing, it can be hard to say no. Our culture promotes the notion of women as caregivers, as in other-focused. We feel guilty when we prioritize ourselves, especially where our families are concerned.
This is often one of their biggest challenges faced by my coaching clients as well. Despite the fact that they’re working hard to build careers and businesses, if they’re not reporting to work outside of the home, it’s assumed they’re always available.
The conversation usually goes something like this;
“Hi Amy, it’s mom. I need a ride to the doctors’ office tomorrow at 10, I’ll be done by 11:30 so afterwards we can go have some lunch.”
“That’s not a great time for me mom – I’m working on updating my resume and online profile”.
“Oh. Well since you’re not working, I thought you might have a little time to help me out, but that’s okay. What’s that car service called again, Youber?”
“You don’t need to call an Uber Mom, I’m sorry. Of course I’ll bring you. Lunch sounds nice”.
The result? A whole morning gone as your boundaries are once again trampled, leaving you feeling deflated and derailed.
Now to be clear, I’m not suggesting you tell your mom to skip her doctors’ appointment or neglect your friends and family. Instead I’m suggesting you create boundaries based on your priority goals and structure your time accordingly.
To maximize your productivity while still allocating time for the people in your life who need you, use bestselling author Daniel Pink’s research* as a guideline.
4 Time Management Tips for Getting Things Done
- Guard your Sweet Spot! Studies show that the morning hours, between 8 and 11 am, are when most people are most energized and focused. Think of this as the sweet spot in your day. This is most likely the time you’ll get your best work done, so guard it with your life! Create a boundary around those 3 hours and use them to work on your top priority goals.
- Maximize Mondays! Mondays are ideal for launching new projects or tackling challenging tasks since you’re less likely to get derailed by competing priorities so early in the week. Whatever your routine, get the big stuff done on Monday!
- Create consistency. Designating certain days for specific activities. Think of it as chunking. Are there some tasks you need to do every week to build your brand or your business? You’ll get more accomplished when you give yourself time to find your groove and keep going than you would by stopping and beginning again on multiple days.Personally, I designate at least 2 mornings each week for writing. My clients often devote specific mornings to LinkedIn outreach or social media marketing.
- Forecast Fridays. Designate Friday afternoon for planning your schedule for the following week. This is wind-down time, where you can review what you accomplished, reflect on your direction for next week, and prioritize accordingly.
Creating boundaries around your ideal work time and using the right productivity tools to make the most of it will make a huge difference in how much you get done. It’s hard to say no to others we care about. So instead of saying “no” to the people in your life who need you, now you can reply “sure, pick any time this afternoon!”
Is the timing right to step into your dream job? Take the quiz!
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel H. Pink, 2018