Lately, I find myself blaming my tight schedule for just about everything. When I double book something, it’s because it’s not on my schedule. If I run late, it’s because a meeting wasn’t on my calendar long enough. Or if I miss a meeting, it’s because I didn't see it on my schedule in general. Does this sound familiar to you?
I was driving my boys to pre-school the other morning, running behind as usual, when a calendar reminder popped up telling me that I had a coffee meeting. Thank goodness for my calendar at that point. I made it on time, but I realized in that moment that I'm not sure it’s my schedule that's the problem. The problem instead might be how I'm managing the schedule.
When I take a step back and honestly look at why these things are happening, I can see some things to do to make life just a little bit easier:
Identify what has changed: The reality is, life is a constant evolution of change. You need to adapt to it and realize that the systems that worked in the past might not be as useful today. On the home front, I have three-year-old twin boys who just started pre-school and a nanny who just had a baby. At work, we have staff positions that have changed and two magazine launches. All of these contributing factors have changed my schedule dramatically.
Admit that it’s okay to try something new: I have been living in a state of chaos for a while now and for some reason it was that day that got me to finally realize that I may need to find a new way to manage my schedule. I don't have an answer yet, but now that I'm open, I know it will come. Suggestions are welcome!
Use your calendar more effectively: I thought I was really good at this, but I am coming to realize it can be used more effectively. How often do you block off planning time or allot time to do critical parts of your job? I find that I only use my calendar for scheduled meetings. But what about time to prepare for those meetings, drive time if necessary, and follow up. Where does that fit in?
Plan ahead: In my earlier years, I had a better memory, but having just celebrated a big birthday, I am accepting that my memory is not as strong as it used to be. So, at the end of the day, block time to prepare for the next day or get up early and review the day ahead. I don't suggest spending too much time on this because I think it can be a time waster, but when I find myself not looking at the next day until I’m on my way to work and that's simply too late.
Maybe you already have time management all figured out, but I know I'm not the only one who’s still learning. Change is inevitable in every business and for every employee, but the most important thing is how we adapt when it arises. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
Written by: Kasie Smith is West Michigan Woman magazine's publisher. She is a Michigan native. She was born in Traverse City, and now lives in Grand Rapids. She enjoys golfing, spending time in the sun, and watching romantic comedies with her very own leading men, her husband Jason and her twin boys.