I get questions from subscribers and participants all the time about random things that relate to leadership, presence, energy, collaboration, dealing with their mom, changing something that they're afraid to change, etc. All sorts of Qs. I try to respond to every single one. Sometimes these Qs inspire articles. Sometimes an exercise. Sometimes a post. You just never know...
Today I thought I'd start sharing some of these in simplest form with the intention that there just might be something gold in here for you. If this is helpful to you, and you like this format, let me know—like it, share it, whatever your fancy—and I'll keep doing it.
Q: "My biggest issue is my daily time management. I can get scatterbrained when it comes to prioritizing. Would love to hear your thoughts regarding your daily schedule."*
A: My thoughts on my schedule...what a dance! Mostly, my current thoughts are all about compartmentalizing and "getting in front of it" as far back as I can go—all the way to how I've set my body, mind and environment up to support me. I find the system shifts as my life does so it needs a reboot quarterly, sometimes more frequently, sometimes weekly (ha!)—and it needs mental and emotional flexibility—but setting myself up with intentional structure helps a ton.
Here are some of the things I do...
Get in Front of the Week
I spend 30-60 minutes almost every Sunday "getting in front of my week" with the calendar. Setting intentions, looking at what the most important things that need to get done are, etc.
I prep clean food and such on Sundays to make my energy the best possible and to support low "brain fog" throughout the week so I'm clearer on what the priorities actually are. Bad food, crappy fuel, feeling disconnected to nutrition—these things all have a huge impact on scatterbrain and decisiveness. (I really appreciate Dave Asprey's work, Bullet Proof Executive, in this area. The coffee alone does wonders for clarity.)
I do my best to get my closet, refrigerator, calendar and office organized and fine-tuned so that my environment supports me. (This again, is way a bigger deal than people realize.)
And I practice my own IEP (Intentional Energetic Presence).
I find doing these things saves me a ton of time and I go into the week more peaceful and centered. (All of this together takes way less time and energy than you might think, especially once it's a habit. It saves a ton of time on the other side—so it's way worth it to me.)
Compartmentalize Your Schedule
On my schedule? I compartmentalize as much as possible. And I allow for flexibility as needed.
For example, right now I have things intentionally chunked into days:
- Monday/Wednesday: Client care and fulfillment/project stuff
- Tuesdays: Biz development, team meetings, outreach and marketing
- Thursday: Teaching/thought leadership/interviews/writing
- Friday: Catch-all for loose ends, appreciation, advisory support to people I mentor and my board, etc. (I might even sign out early on Friday to do "mom stuff" with the kids.)
There are also certain times I book for "conscious chaos"—when I know stuff is just going to need flexibility to be messy. And I keep myself to a schedule as much as possible—with flexibility, space, a ton of intention—so that I honor it and am as productive and present as can be. I find this frees up a lot of mental energy to focus where I need to focus. And the flexibility and breathing allows me to "go with it" and not take myself too seriously. (Though that doesn't always work out! Just ask the girlfriends I spent 3 days in Tahoe with.)
Finally, as much as possible, I also block a 3-hour chunk of time every 2 weeks for "random stuff" that needs attention that drains my mental energy if I think of it everyday. This is the stuff I can't necessarily delegate to my team that needs my eyes on it. Though as my team grows, more and more of this file is becoming a "delegation" file. My job then becomes to delegate with intention and clarity. I literally have a file for "random stuff"—and putting this stuff into it clears my brain so I can be present with what needs attention now.
Be Intentional About Your Energy
I find that really being intentional about energy is key for all of this—way more so than about managing the time or prioritizing. If I take really good care of myself (sleep, nutrition, creating an environment that supports me, etc.), then I'm more connected to what's important, then I can see what needs the most attention (truly) and I can plan for it more easily. At that point it becomes about focus, action and flexibility...
Bonus outcome of all of this: I show up better for my team, kids, clients, etc. because I feel more present, centered and connected to purpose. This is a win-win-win-win-win.
I hope this helps! These are just some of my tricks that I'm finding work for me right now. Of course, the flexibility for when it all blows up, and the recovery to reprioritize, is key too!
So much of your question has to do with "getting in front of things" and setting yourself up for success proactively (and then being able to recover when life moves into reactivity!) IEP is key to this.
- Check out more about IEP and my philosophy.
- Want to dive into this in real time? Check out these ways to engage with IEP!
- Start rocking your IEP now - register for IEP School.
*Thanks to Dale Spencer for posing this question and inspiring me to look at the systems I have in place!