A sign of the times.
It’s that time of year again. Resolutions. Goals. A fresh start. I personally have made a goal to focus on the one thing that affects everything – absolutely everything in life -- time.
If you have more time or focus on how you spend it, why you spend it, where you spend it, and what’s important about it – this “time” is going to affect both your work life and home life in an amazing and positive way.
I browsed an article in Business Insider article with Jeff Bezos entitled, “Stop aiming for work-life ‹balance› — here›s what you should strive for instead.” The main takeaway for me is that if you are in a job that you like or love, then you can blend the two with certain boundaries.
There are days filled with meetings and days filled with busy-work. I do try to achieve some level of balance; on meeting days away from the office I do take the time to get coffee, read a little news, to recharge myself. If the meeting is between 9:00-10:00 a.m. starting time I will go from home, to the meeting, so my mind is fresh and untangled to face what I am working on with the client or ownership of my company.
On those days I also grab lunch before heading back to the office, and in general enjoy being outside. It provides some fresh air, perspective, and a shift from the four walls I spend most of my work days with. When I am looking to be creative- I desperately need this time out of the box.
On days I am in my office the full day- and I often don’t leave my chair other than to use the facilities--- I know I won’t see outside, I may not eat lunch until way after lunch time, and if a project demands it- I may not leave until the parking lot is empty but for my car. But I also won’t leave until the project is done- or to a point where I’ve done all I can without further input. I’m fine with the demands- but within boundaries that there is give and take for both sides of my life.
How do I know what matters? Sometimes, it’s “who”.
We all could do better with important relationships, if we are better at how we spend our time. The most important thing that people valued in outside relationships was simply to be deliberate about staying in touch. This meant that even if it was a simple quick message or email just to say “hello”, it was of high importance. Think if this is true for you? It is for me.
I do try to work in those moments- an email, a text, a post on social media. I also know I keep a close eye on birthday lists, close friends’ milestones, and family events. Keeping track of co-workers events and milestones will engage you beyond the typical ‘all work’ exchanges, and make for a more pleasant use of your, wait for it, time in the office.
If anything- it maintains a level of personal connection that can’t be replaced by sharing the coffee pot or leaving a sticky note. That’s good for maintaining strong and long-lasting business relationships, as well as building an amazing social support system.
Are you putting a value on your time?
I know I have personally been guilty of looking for the free or less expensive option at the expense of a lot of my time, or waiting to find the least costly option; “let’s just do that since it doesn’t cost us anything.” The reality is; “No, it does…that’s X hours of your time -- which is ridiculously valuable to the company.”
I recently updated a computer- and lost an app in the process. When I went to update and reinstall, I found that the app was outdated, and the software/support was gone. No way to put it back into commission. I started looking for ‘free’ options to do the same job- and there weren’t many. Or they did it half-way.
I came up with an idea to replace the old process, and pushed forward on it- new and better. BUT, I left the old process in limbo, and figured the new option being fabulous would negate any wait there was. Wrong. In the end- I bit the bullet, bought a similar app for a reasonable price, and accomplished the old-process of the job in less than an hour. I’m still moving forward, but now there is no limbo for the past process in the interim. Lesson learned.
Want to know the value that you’re putting on your time? Here’s an example of the analytics that will make you think about how often you’re in meetings. Take an actual calculation of the different types of meetings you have and what are you doing during your scheduled time. Then, look at where your meetings are. Is a call more productive than driving around? Is a virtual meeting better than one in a room where the focus can wander repeatedly?
Next, take into account, who are the people that you’re spending your time with? If you aren’t working on something positive with someone, be it personal or professional, what are you doing with that time? The more you value time and are aware of how it’s being spent, the more you will make better decisions about how you can get more bang for the buck.
Begin to be very deliberate on how you spend your time. Notice and watch who you schedule your time with. Begin to ask yourself the deep questions about time. Don’t let these important thoughts go unheeded. Think about this – this is an asset – and we can never get it back.
You don’t have to go insane here – and no micromanaging yourself. I’ve learned that making slight adjustments and valuing my time, has made a dramatic effect both on my happiness and how I perform at work. And, it’s also made those people around me happier as well.