Time management is a topic I will never get tired of talking about, not just because it’s one of my favorite topics ever, but because there are so many more layers to it than people really think. And that is exactly why so people actually time manage wrong. It’s not just about planning and scheduling and organizing and time blocking. That is only one part of it all. But what’s the rest? That’s where the secret lies …
Today we are going to talk about the REAL secret behind the most effective time management. Once you are done with this episode you will have a crystal clear understanding of what steps you are missing, and exactly what you need to do to start seeing the results you desire.
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
The 3 step process behind effective time management
Why having a clear vision is so crucial
The 3 actionable tools to manage your mind
Why you need to start asking yourself power questions
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
Hello, hello, welcome to Happy Productive episode number 26. I’m Jennifer Dawn, a business coach and founder of the Best Planner Ever. The Happy Productive podcast is your go-to resource for learning how to bring awareness into your productivity, your goals and your time management practices, so you can set yourself up each and every day for as much love happiness and joy as you can possibly handle.
Today, we’re going to be talking about the REAL secret behind effective time management. And this was actually taken from a talk that I did last week at the Lead 2 Impact Summit. And they asked me to come in and talk about effective time management. And, of course, it’s one of my most favorite ever topics to speak about. And I wanted to share a few of the tips that I shared in that talk last week with you here today.
So when we talk about effective time management, one of the biggest mistakes that I made for so many years of my life, and that I see so many others making is that we think time management is about planning or scheduling or organization. And absolutely those things are very, very important. And if you get better at scheduling and better at planning and better organized, yes, you’re absolutely going to see some results from this.
But you might find that you don’t quite get the full results of what you are really, really after. And the reason for this is that the planning scheduling organization, that piece is actually step number three, in a three-step process. That’s right, it’s the last thing that we want to do. The problem is that most people put that first. And they think that if I do the scheduling planning organization piece, that that’s going to solve my time management problem. And it might solve it a little bit, but it’s not going to solve it for good or as well as you might like. Because it’s just not going to be as effective if you don’t do step number one. And step number two first.
So what are steps one and two? So step number one is aligning with your heart. Step number two is managing your mind. And step number three is the taking of the action. That’s going to be the scheduling, planning, organization piece, okay, that’s actually step three. And here’s why step number one is aligning with your heart. Because before you ever get busy, right, get busy, busy, busy, you want to get crystal clear on what you really want in your life. What do you want? Who do you want to be? Who are you in this life? Right, taking the time to really get clear on these things? Because otherwise, what are you working so hard towards, if you haven’t taken time to get crystal clear on what you really want.
And many people don’t take the time to do this work. Why? Because it’s hard. It requires us to sit down it requires us to really think it requires us to really look at our lives and look at things that are going on that we may not like. And then of course take the action to do something about that. For some people that can be really, really hard to get outside of that comfort zone. Many of us also might find ourselves in these roles, where we are doing what everybody else thinks that we should be doing. But we’re not really aligning with our own hearts.
And to step out of those roles, we, we might be afraid that we’re going to disappoint people, we might feel guilty because we were letting them down, right? All of these things that we kind of pile on ourselves to make up all the reasons and justifications for not really living the life that we want to live. And so this heart-work can be a little bit difficult, but it’s absolutely crucial. Because you get to decide who you want to be in this life.
Do you want to be a people pleaser? Do you want to be somebody who never says no? Do you want to be somebody who’s always feeling guilty? Do you want to be stretched thin and frazzled and overwhelmed and exhausted stressed out all the time? Or do you want to make a different choice about who you want to be? Do you want to be calm and organized and efficient and effective and live your life on your terms? And this is where you get to make that choice.
You can have everything that you want. But the first step is you deciding and figuring out like, hey, this is who I want to be and this is what I want. That’s the very first step is making that decision and doing that heart-work.
I was on a client coaching call a couple weeks ago and I was asked the question, can you be a good mother and good at business? And my client had been working with another coach previously. And when they asked him that question, they the coach said, no, you can’t be good at both. Well, when they ask me the question, my answer is YES. And it’s not about the other coach being right or wrong or even me being right or wrong. It really comes down to our own personal truth, whatever we believe becomes our truth.
And so for the first coach that they asked this question of her truth was no, you couldn’t be a good mother and good at business. When they asked me, my truth is, yes, absolutely, I can be a good mother, and I can rock it in the business world. And in fact, I think I’m doing my children a disservice by not getting out in the world and living my life and setting a good example for my children. And so that’s my truth.
And this is what happens with ourselves individually is that we have to determine what our truth is. And we have to spend time thinking about what that’s going to be for us. And that’s what I mean when I say align with the heart. Now, a couple of actionable tools that you can use to do this would be a vision statement, and a vision board.
So inside the planner, my Best Planner Ever, there are blank pages at the beginning of the planner, why? Because why never, I didn’t have a, I couldn’t find a planner out there that had these blank pages for my vision statement and my vision board, like built into the planner, which is why I put them in mine. Because if I want to be effective at time management, I have to first align with my heart, who I want to be what I want my life to look like, I have to get clear on that first, and then take the time to write this stuff down in either a vision statement or a vision board with pictures. So that it’s a great reminder, right? Because we get caught up in the day to day so easily. And we need these reminders to get aligned with where do I want to go.
You would not take a trip, you know, across the country or even for some of us if we live in bigger cities across town without setting a destination in your GPS, right? It’s the same thing here. The vision statement is the destination for your heart of where you want to end up. And that’s why it is the first and most important step. When we talk about effective time management. Is it effective to get in your car and drive all over without the GPS set? No. We get clear on where we want to go. We pre-programmed that into our GPS so that we can get there in the most efficient manner possible. It’s no different for our life.
Okay, step number two is about managing our minds, right? Our minds are one of the most powerful tools in the world and think about this, like we’ve used the power of our minds, to put a telescope into space, we’ve put a man on the moon, we’ve built skyscrapers, we’ve cured diseases, right? And instead, well, a lot of us are putting our minds to things that are petty and silly and judgmental and hurtful. I mean, think about this right now. You know, how much of us spend our time with our minds?
Like, you know, does my butt look back that in these jeans, right? We’re obsessing over our physical appearance, or worrying, what will you know, fill in the blank, think about whatever I’m doing this could be, you know, a husband, a wife, a spouse, a partner, a business partner, and employee, a client, a vendor, whatever, right? Friends? What will they think about whatever I’m doing, right? It’s all about judgment.
Or maybe we’re just beating ourselves up and telling ourselves I’m no good. I’m a failure. What’s wrong with me? You know, so, what are we doing? We’re beating ourselves up and we’re feeding those limiting beliefs. Or maybe if we’re business owners, we’re comparing our business to other businesses. Well, his revenues are at blah, blah, blah, well, why can’t I ever get there, right, comparing ourselves to others.
So, so many of us are using the power of our minds for things that are very, very self sabotaging, and your mind unmanaged is truly like a two year old running around the house with scissors, it’s not a good idea. So if you really want to get to effective time management, you’ve got to master the mind management piece. And there’s a lot of different ways to do this. I’m going to share three with you on the on the podcast today.
So some actionable tools here one you can ignore thought, two you can identify and reprogram your limiting beliefs, and three, you can start asking power questions. So number one, I will dive into these. Ignoring a thought. So here’s the thing thoughts are going to happen, right? They happen without any interaction on our part, they will just happen. Thoughts are basically energy. That’s it, they pop in there, and they can pass through if we choose to let them pass through. The beautiful thing about our thoughts is that they can also be directed right, we can actually direct our thoughts and that’s a choice that we can make.
We can also choose to ignore a thought. So if we have a thought that pops in and it’s very self sabotaging, and we know it’s self sabotaging, we can actually choose to just ignore it. When I first learned this, it seems so obvious, but it was like wait a second, just because it’s a thought in my head does not mean that I have to act upon it. I can choose to ignore it. And I can also choose to redirect that thought.
So for example, if you have the thought all the time, I never have enough time. I never have enough time. There’s not enough hours in the day, right? This goes straight to time management. So you might have those thoughts and they might pop in, okay, fine. But you could choose to ignore, I never have enough time. And you can choose to redirect your thought to, I have all the time I need. Feel the difference in your body when you think the thought there’s just never enough time. versus when you think the thought I have all the time I need. I don’t know about you. But I feel that difference in my body, there’s like a shift and a release when I think I have all the time I need. Okay, so this is a great way that we can choose to ignore a thought. And we can choose to redirect it to a much more positive place.
Number two, we can identify and reprogram our limiting beliefs. And this is part of just paying attention to that self-talk that’s running through our heads, we can use those affirmations to like reprogram that self-talk. And we can also use journaling to journal out our negative emotions. If you’re filled with negative emotion, it’s going to literally like fill up your head. And it’s going to make it hard to think because you’re walking around with all this negative emotion. Journaling, Best Journal Ever. This is why I created it, right? Because we can take some time, we can journal all that crap out of our heads, get it onto the paper, and then rip it up and throw it away and let it go.
So when we talk about mind management, it’s also about emotion management, so that we can clear our heads, we can be in a better space, and we can start we can start to tap into the higher emotions that really, they’re there. They’re underneath all the crap. And so if you can just start the process of journaling out that crap and getting through that layer, you’ll then be able to bust into those higher, more positive, more warm and fuzzy emotions. And those are the ones that we want to take with us as we go through our day.
And number three, we can start by asking power questions, and I’ve done other podcasts on this topic. I love power questions, they are so so vital for us to put our mind to work for us. Okay, so if you haven’t heard a power questions, when you think about it, as you go through the day, if you find yourself asking questions like, why does my life suck? Why do I suck? Why does my business suck, right? Why is all this stuff happening to me? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get my act together? Right? When we ask questions like that our mind is going to answer them for us because our mind is very powerful.
So our mind says, Oh, you want to know why you suck? Well, let me tell you why you suck. Because you did this, and you made that bad choice. And over here, you screwed up and you said this thing you shouldn’t have said and blah, blah, blah, right? Our minds are going to answer the question. So what we want to do here is you want to take back our power, and start asking questions that put the power of our minds to work for us.
For example, ask the question, What will it take to get something done? What will it take for me to change this habit? What will it take for me to achieve this goal? Put your mind to work on answering that question. That’s a power question. Or you can ask how can I make fill in the blank happen? How can I make this happen? When you start asking that question, your mind is going to go to work. And it’s going to start giving you answers and you want to be listening, okay? You want to be listening. And that’s the key that when you put your mind to work for you listen to the answers that it comes up with. So those are power questions.
So we’ve got step number one, which is aligning with our heart, taking the time to get clear on who we want to be where we want to go in this life. And then putting that into writing through like a vision statement or creating a vision board that we look at and we align with every single day. I read my vision statement every day I timed it, it takes me a minute and 43 seconds. If I’m tempted not to read it. I remind myself, Jennifer, it takes a minute and 43 seconds to get aligned with your heart. Are you really not going to read it? And of course, the answer is no. So I get in there and I read it and that is step number one to super effective time management.
Step number two managing the mind right are thinking if I find myself saying oh, I just don’t have enough time today, I immediately switch this to I have all the time I need. And you know what I do when I align with that belief and I manage that thinking I end up having all the time I need It’s beautiful.
Alright, step number three. Now this is the part where we take action, right? We’ve gotten clear with our heart, we’re managing our mind and now we take action. Okay, this is the part where we do our planning. We do our organization, we do our scheduling. And for this part, we need to choose a tool. It does not matter what the tool is just make sure that you pick a planning tool that works really well for you. If you’re trying to use a system that doesn’t work for you, which I want threw so many of them, and they just didn’t work for me and get out there and do a little research and find a system that will work for you.
There are so many out there to choose from. And I say find a system and a planning tool that really, really works for you. It’s so funny with the planner, I will hear often, where people will say, Jennifer, your planner, it works so great when I use it. That’s the ticket right there, okay. You can buy a planner or have a planning system. And if it’s collecting dust on your desk, it is not gonna work for you. So whatever planning system that you want to use, use it and commit to using it every single day.
In your planning system, and you can do this any way that you want. But in your planning system, make sure that you have tools in there to align with your heart right, remember for your vision, your vision board, quotes, affirmations, make sure you have room in there to manage your mind this would be with like weekly reflection or space to journal. Room for self-care, so you can take care of yourself, it’s much easier to manage the mind when we’re taking care of our bodies in our in our spirit.
And then also gratitude. Gratitude is of course another wonderful tool to help manage our thinking in our mind. And finally, the third feature that you really want to have in your planning tool is your actionable list. But make sure that your list is prioritized, right? Don’t just work from a massive list. Take your list and ABCDE it this is what we do in the planner. And this is why in the planner on the to do page, you’ve got ABCD, okay?
A is your high priority that’s going to move your vision forward. B are those important things that we absolutely have to do. C are the things that we can do as we’re able, they can be procrastinated. D is delegate, we can’t do everything ourselves. And E is eliminate, right? This works on any to do list. So even if you just for take five minutes and look at your to do list for today, run through that list and ABCDE it. It will immediately make you more effective with your time.
For some people, they have a hard time figuring out what the A-task should be. Well, the A-task is a task that moves our vision forward. And often it will put us outside of our comfort zone or we might want to procrastinate it because again, it puts us outside our comfort zone. That’s really where you want to be to move the vision forward. If you have a vision and you want to achieve it, it will require you to change and change is going to be uncomfortable. That’s a good thing. But you’re not going to get that vision if you don’t make some changes in your life. And so that’s why that A-task is so important. Because it takes us a step closer to that vision.
We have a saying Best Planner Ever, an A-task a day keeps failure away. So you always want to make sure that you’re setting aside time every day, to do at least one thing to move your vision forward. It’s not so much about the quantity of things you’re crossing off your list each day, it is really truly about the quality of what you’re crossing off your list each day. This will also help you at night to go to bed feeling far more satisfied and fulfilled versus I did all these things today. And I made no forward movement in my life, right? We want to go to bed every night thinking I got the right things done.
You’ll never get it all done. It does not happen that way. Especially for us business owners, there’s always going to be another project, there’s always going to be something that needs our attention, you won’t get it done every day. And that’s okay, make peace with that. But what you want to do is just focus on getting the right things done every day. If all you ever did was aligned with your vision, your heart, right very first thing dealt with any head trash, right got out of your own way, and then completed in A-task took positive board action on your life. It would change your business, it would change your life. And it truly does not have to be any more complicated than that.
All right, you guys, just a quick little recap. The true secret, before behind effective time management is to do the work, to align with your heart, manage your mind, and then take those action steps each and every day towards the thing that matters most. That’s where your time truly starts to be effective. Effective is not about getting gobs and gobs of things done. And then at the end of the day going, ah, what did I even really do well, nothing you did a bunch of busy work and you have an incredible work ethic. So that’s fantastic. Let’s redirect it on the right things so that you can really end your day going holy cow, I didn’t get as many things done today but I got the right things done. And look at all of the results that I’m seeing now in my business and in my life.
Okay, if you guys need any more help with this, of course reach out to me. You can visit my coaching website, which is jenniferdawncoaching.com. If you need a better planning tool check out the Best Planner Ever. You can see that on our website bestplannerever.com. Thank you so much for listening. I know your time is valuable. I hope you’ll take at least one thing away from this podcast today and implement it in your life. If you have any problems figuring out your vision statement or your goals, or dealing with right the mind trash, get some help. Just reach out. We’re here to support you. I love each and every one of you. Thank you again for listening. Now go out there and have a Happy Productive day!