People told me time would continue to speed up as I get older. I heard it my entire life but, as my wife would say, I apparently needed to experience it for myself. As I’m getting older, I’m really starting to notice it. Responsibilities are piling up, and I seem to keep jumping at more opportunities, which tend to be accompanied by more responsibilities. This has caused me to think about the way I spend my time at almost every point in the day.
This is why I started this segment. It’s meant for those who want to jump ahead and start spending their time the way they want to. Today I am writing about calendars and how much of a life saver they are. I live and die by the calendar, and anyone who knows me knows that if we plan to do anything together, let’s get it on the calendar.
This isn’t me being a control freak. I simply like doing a lot of different stuff and the 24-hour window seems to be getting smaller and smaller. When you start going intensely, you need a way to keep everything in check. A way to make sure you are working towards your goals. Keep in mind, going hard without intention is simply laziness.
So I would like to share with you my weekly regime and how I treat my calendar. Below are a few steps on how I manage my time to guarantee that I am using it as wisely as possible.
Step 1) What do you need to accomplish – The first step to owning your time is being intentional with it, so this is an exercise that everyone should be doing. At a minimum, you should be asking yourself what do I need to do this week to make this a productive week. I say at a minimum because it’s even better if you can look out to a month or even a year but that takes practice. Once you have figured that out, it’s a simple matter of determining how many days are needed to get it done. For each day needed, set targets and objectives required to be completed on these days to make the proper progress.
Step 2) Keep your calendar – It doesn’t matter if you go digital or analog, a calendar is your best friend. Keep all your targets on your calendar and make sure to mark off appropriate time slots for each of your activities. If you need to read, mark your calendar for time to read. If you need quiet time to work on a presentation, put it on your calendar. Setting aside these time slots is so critical in the process. It causes you to plan your day according to your priorities which will result in you getting exactly what you want to get done, done.
Step 3) Stick to it – If it’s time to read, make sure you are reading. Do not just work on something else in another task’s designated time slot. If something comes up like an urgent email or the boss asks you for something, add it to your calendar. If it overlaps with something else, determine the highest priority and reschedule the other one. This is important because I see a lot of people make two critical mistakes here. First mistake, is this new task as urgent as we think? People often assume they need to do something now when it might be acceptable for it to wait until tomorrow. If that’s the case, schedule it for tomorrow. Second, if it is the newest #1 priority, don’t forget to reschedule what you reprioritized. This will increase your chance of not getting it back on your priority list.
As a principal, you should leave the office every day feeling like you accomplished something. If you don’t consistently feel that, you might not be owning your time they way you should. A calendar with proper execution will absolutely get you there.
I wanted to add one more quick thought because it is a major pet peeve of mine, but it doesn’t quite flow within the article. As someone who keeps a very clean and intentional calendar, I have a tough time with people who cancel time with me at the very last minute. Sometimes it is unavoidable I know, but I have often had to wait while others wrap up a prior meeting only to end up canceling it all together. If you are running behind and you have a meeting you are late to, it’s your responsibility to leave on time and schedule a follow up if needed. Please don’t assume others can just wait on you. Time commitments are commitments and keeping your commitments describes your professional integrity. Don’t be that guy/gal! Mini rant over.
I hope this helps you towards owning your time. If you have any other pet peeves, I would love to hear about them in the comments below. Thanks!