Time Management – Balancing Personal and Business
“Time Management refers to managing time effectively so that the right amount of time is allocated to the right activities.”
Effective time management allows individuals to assign specific time slots to activities according to their priority level. Time management refers to making the best use of time because time is finite and always limited.
This is an area of my life that I have had to learn through hard knocks in life and burning myself out because I did not manage my time correctly. For far too long, I did not say “no” to people or tasks and would find myself running out of time, not accomplishing the tasks given and feeling stressed and frustrated to the point of exhaustion. Sound familiar? Hopefully, these next words will help!
When I first started out in business I was really good at scheduling other people’s time throughout the week because that was part of my job, however I could not do that for myself. When you don’t manage your time properly, you will find that not only does your career life suffer but your personal life does to because inevitably, one will overflow into the other which will cause problems. For me, it was my personal life that suffered; I would work all the time trying to make sure that my tasks were completed by the end of the day which meant that while other people were leaving work at 5:00pm like normal, I would stay until my last task was completed so that I could start fresh with new tasks the next day. What this meant for my family was that I wasn’t home to help my wife, I wasn’t home to have some time with my kids and put them to bed etc. and that I wasn’t giving myself some “down time” in between work days. After years of this, not only were my wife and children frustrated but so was my mind and body and I ended up having a nervous breakdown which took me away from work and my family because I was so exhausted that I couldn’t work and couldn’t provide my family with the care and attention that they needed. The natural next step after this was for me to figure out how to manage my time more efficiently and effectively so that I could not only be successful in my career but more importantly, I could be the husband, father and man that my family and friends needed. Here is how I did this.
I started by first taking a look at my weeks one week at a time. I usually did this late Friday afternoon and went from Saturday to the following Friday. For each day, I would look at the tasks, appointments, family appointments and other commitments I had each day and would then highlight each one with a colour of my choice to help categorize them (for example – Green = Family; Blue = Work; Purple = Personal; and Yellow = Free Time/Flex Time). For work, I often had appointments with clients during the normal work day (9-5) but I also had some evening appointments in order to accommodate my clientele. For family, because my wife and I have busy schedules for work and we also have four (4) children with busy schedules of their own, I would put in their commitments as well as ours as a family. For personal and free time/flex time, I would work those around the work and family commitments. The personal time scheduled became something that was not flexible; if I scheduled something for myself such as a golf game with a friend, or a lunch etc. I would not alter these at all because my own personal health required time with my friends etc. For my free time/flex time, I would schedule this for the sole purpose of having openings in my week where I could re-schedule things; specifically, client meetings and work related things. Below is an example of what my calendar would look like at a glance:
As you can see, I do my absolute best to balance my work time and my personal/family time so that neither creep into the other’s “world” and I can enjoy a healthy balance of both. While I would like to say that this system is fool-proof and I never run in to issues, that would not be the truth. What I can say, is that with proper time management and effective use of the time you have to accomplish your tasks at hand, you will usually find that you can have the ability to alter your time slots and/or meetings to accommodate things that may creep up and have a higher priority level.
I hope that you have found this useful and should you ever need some help with Time Management, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email or by visiting my website.