Although having a flexible schedule can seem like a dream, it can soon turn into a nightmare! That's why as a time coach and trainer, I recommend people set up a structure that helps them to align with their priorities.
- Decide on Start and Stop Times: Not only will setting your hours keep you from feeling guilty, but also it will keep you focused when you are working because you have established a time when you are free to stop.
- Set Your Top Goals: Each week, review your top priorities and write them at the top of your weekly calendar or put them in a visible place on your digital calendar. This will keep you thinking about what's most important.
- Time Block Your Projects: To keep moving forward on your goals each week, "soft schedule" blocks of time when you will complete projects or devote time to certain activities. For instance, you could block out two hours on Wednesday to write up a proposal or set aside one hour each morning to answer e-mail.
- Plan Your Day: Each morning, make a quick list of your meetings and your top tasks. Number your activities in order of importance and write down how long you think it will take you to do each one. Then start moving through your day, moving from one project to the next in number order. If a project is taking longer than you expected, reevaluate whether you should continue with it or move on to the next task on your list.
Time blocking is so effective because it:
- Gives you a clear outline of what needs to get done and when you can complete it so that you feel less overwhelmed.
- Keeps you moving forward on key priorities on "autopilot" instead of procrastinating and stressing out about big projects at the last minute.
- Turns your days into quick sprints of work instead of never-ending marathons.
- Allows you to feel good about what you accomplished
- Helps you realize when you've overcommitted and need to scale back.
- Gets you back on track quickly when unexpected activities arise.
If you've got a flexible schedule, use these strategies to enjoy the flexibility more and stress less.
About Real Life E
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E a time coaching and training company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished. She is an expert on achieving more success with less stress. Real Life E also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through training programs.
McGraw Hill published her first book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress. Harvard Business Review recently published her second book How to Invest Your Time Like Money. Elizabeth contributes to blogs like Lifehacker, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and the 99U blog on productivity for creative professionals and has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox.