Time Awareness matters. I want to write about time. I’m gonna break it up into a few blogs. There are some pieces to the time puzzle that are worth looking at individually. As I was organizing how I wanted to deliver this to you I realized that to coach you to make the most impact on your life and your time we need to start with an increased awareness. So I want you to do a little self-assessment right now:
During my second year in college, I was fortunate to be introduced to a concept. It has helped shape the way I’ve thought about my time. It really set me up to be more productive with my time than many people that I know. I don’t say that to knock how other people are doing life. It’s completely possible that some people are just as deliberately doing things their way as I am doing things my way. But I’m going to share the experience that I had, what I took from it, and how I do things now because of it. For me, it all began with increased awareness. Understanding why time awareness matters.
In my sophomore year of college, I offered a position at a major corporation. It was in a unit that was made up of seasoned professionals. Most of them at least twice my age. Here I was this college student who apparently interviewed well enough, with a skill set that matched the opening they had. I was both extremely excited and completely unsure of what I was walking into. The group proved to be friendly and helpful as I navigated my way into this new setting. There was one person who took a special interest in helping me grow as a leader and a professional.
One day, after following up with me on a project I was heading, she talked to me about my schedule and how I was managing my time at work. I remember at first being a little hesitant about her bringing this up. I’d been pretty pleased with my progress on the project I was working on and it seemed my team had been impressed.
But as I listened to her, and asked some questions, I began to open up to what I can now see was actually an incredible compliment. She was expressing that she had seen what I was capable of producing and could see my potential to grow. She could also see that I had an area of opportunity to level-up my time efficiency. So she invited me to do something that really planted a seed for how I approach time management. And because I specialize in coaching on overwhelm, time and scheduling, and getting things done it comes up a lot.
Now, I’m not going to go too far into my system on scheduling right now. It’s an art that I can coach you to mastery on. Right now I want to share with you the first step. It’s the awareness that keeping a productivity journal offered me. My productivity journal was broken down into 30 minute periods. The first week I just filled out the journal on my lunch and before leaving each day as a record of what I’d done up to the point I was filling it out. So if I was at lunch, I’d fill out everything I’d done from 8-noon.
At the end of the first week, we sat down and looked at the journal, assessed the week’s progress. I did the same exercise the next week and during that second week, something happened. It was gradual, but I started to think in terms of 30 min increments. I could visualize the documentation process in advance.
I was becoming more aware of my time and it was changing how I thought about spending it. Because time is a lot like money. How you spend it, how you utilize it, is an indicator of your relationship with it. As I became more aware of how I was allocating my time, I became interested in directing it and being more deliberate. So I finished out that second week, reviewed my week, my production, and my progress.
And then it all started to click! I looked at those weeks on paper and began looking at them from a different facet. In addition to documenting my production and when it was done, I began looking for where, just within the workday, that I could have adjusted something, or done something differently. Exploring ways I could have delegated something to have had more space in my day.
I highly recommend that you give this a try. As you’re looking at your log at the end of the week, you’ll find valuable data to use as you go into the next week.
Some things to keep in mind as you’re following up with yourself are to take note of how long, on average, it takes to do common procedures. How long it takes to do a crown? Not how long the patient is in the chair, but how much doctor time it takes. And this, by the way, is really helpful for you in communicating with your staff about scheduling. When you’re clear on what you need, you can more clearly communicate with others who are putting things on your schedule.
How often are you intermittently training staff? Would a schedule for that be more efficient? What are you doing that could be delegated out to another team member? We’ll dive in a lot more about delegation later, but take a look at that piece and keep it in mind. What are your overall thoughts on how your week was spent and what would you like to see go differently next week?
Here’s the thing, your time is valuable. And deciding where and how you spend it is where you get to create and direct. Honor that! Value that! Use it to become more of who you want to become. Use it to design your life to be the way you want it to be. It all starts with having an awareness. Becoming aware of the way you’re using your time opens up opportunities to decide where else or how else you may want to use it. And you don’t have to change anything about the way you’re doing things, but so often we get weighed down with the demands on our time and what I want to offer you today is to notice where you can make adjustments if you want to.
Remember, time is valuable. If you are mindful of it, it can be one of your greatest tools to create the results you want in your life. And similarly, if you’re not intentional about how you use your time, you are electing to let it pass by you unconsciously.
I’m offering you an invitation to be in the conscious world of valuing your time. I like to use the analogy of a water bottle. Imagine that you have a big bottle of water that’s filled to the top and you’re really thirsty. You’re gonna drink your water. You may drink a lot of it, but when your thirst is quenched, do you take your bottle to the sink and pour the rest down the drain? Or do you hang onto it, recognizing that the whole bottle offers hydration?
Now compare that to your bucket of time. You get 24 hours each day. We all do. Certain things are going to be planned into your day, or placed on your schedule. But there are blocks of time that you’re the sole director of, and then others that you have influence over. And being more clear about where time is being poured down the drain, or leaking out of the bottle, will help you decide what adjustments you want to make and how you want to rearrange things so that you are maximizing your valuable time.
I am still grateful for the wonderful awareness that was offered to me and that I now keep at the forefront of my mind. I value my time. As I continue to maintain my awareness and make conscious choices about how I utilize my minutes and hours I am continuing to build the exact results that I want in my life. I want that for you. So take me up on it and become more aware.
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