Curious about how a work/life balance coach and successful entrepreneur organizes her day? In recent newsletters, Elizabeth has given readers the inside scoop on her own personal time management techniques. (Find out how she wakes up with an inside peek at Elizabeth’s morning routine!) Below, Elizabeth describes the second part of her a.m. agenda, her brilliant morning planning schedule.
I’ve had complete freedom over my schedule for more than half a decade.
During my first couple of years as a full-time entrepreneur, I didn’t set boundaries on when I worked and what I did when.
Deciding to limit how much I worked and when I worked really changed everything. (I did experience withdrawal symptoms when I first started this process: Step away from the computer Elizabeth!) But I persevered in setting boundaries, and since then, I’ve been able to “let go of work” mentally and emotionally and enjoy free time without guilt.
One of my bedrock routines that gives me a sense of peace and control is daily planning and processing described in detail below. But first a few notes:
See below for an inside look at how I start my work days…
When I start my day, especially if it’s a Monday, I don’t know what needs to be completed for the rest of the day. But I know that by the time I finish my routine, I’ll have found clarity and feel in control. I have many clients who are super techy (which is awesome), but I’m not. So my tools and methods are relatively simple.
On Mondays, I look over my Google calendar to make sure that there are no appointments from the prior week that I need to move or follow up on and that all of my current week’s appointments are in the calendar. Then I make a pdf of the current week’s calendar and print it out.
I know this may make some paper-free people shake their heads, but I find that having a custom printed out schedule of the week makes it much easier for me to visualize my schedule and priorities. So I do what works for me.
During my Monday weekly processing and planning, I also:
One of my time coaching clients shared these thoughts with me, which I’m sharing with his permission, about why initially adopting these planning and processing habits is so hard:
“I’m getting more disciplined about time blocking (progress!).
But one of the things that good time blocking does is make you aware of how little discretionary time you actually have. So, then I started thinking about “Where can I cut back on something I’m doing?”, and immediately I thought of exercise. Most of my workout sessions (when you include travel, changing, showering, etc.) are 1.5-2 hours. But then, almost instantly, I said to myself, “No, that’s not negotiable. I’m not going to cut back on exercise, because it brings me so many benefits in terms of my energy level, my long-term health, and even the emotional value of the assertion of self-worth.” Then it hit me — I’m struggling to “find the time” each day to purge my index cards, time block my day, and to do good weekly reviews. But I’m not talking about hours a day:
I find the time for exercise. Why not time management?
I thought of a few reasons:
1. At some level, I’m still not convinced that I’ll see the deep benefits. Rationally, I believe there will be benefits. But since I haven’t experienced the higher state, I don’t have enough evidence to have a deep emotional connection with the benefits.
(Note from Elizabeth: I hope my deep emotional connection with the benefits encourages you in this area! They will come with experience.)
2. I’ve worked at exercising for years, and seen the benefit of exercising, and the negative results of not exercising. I know how big the benefits are of exercising because of the contrast at various times. I haven’t had the same history and experience.
3. I know how to exercise, and I’ve done it enough that I’m good at it. It feels good, and I feel good about being good at it. I’ve got lots of things down to a routine, and set up to make it easy. I own enough exercise clothes that I don’t have to worry about laundry. I’ve had my workout routines designed by a fitness center trainer so I’m confident I’m doing things that will work. I have my checklist for packing my exercise clothes, and it’s part of my daily routine. I know what times of day I can usually fit it in, and part of looking over my daily landscape is figuring out when to fit it in. I don’t really question whether or not I want to fit it in; it’s a “given”.
With time management, in many ways I’m still a novice, don’t feel like I’m really good at it, and just don’t have enough history and experience as to how to respond to the various challenges.
Doesn’t he do an awesome job of describing the process of lasting behavioral change with time management?! I’m so happy for and proud of my clients when they share these ephiphenies with me.
I hope that seeing how someone whose mastered daily planning and processing gives you insight in how it could happen for you.
Your time coach,
P.S.-If you need help in making this happen, reach out to me and we can set up a time to talk.
P.P.S.–Thanks so much for all of your fabulous feedback last week! Feel free to send me your thoughts on this week’s newsletter and to comment on last week’s morning routine posted on my blog.
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 through an exclusive Schedule MakeoverTM process. Real Life E® also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through custom training programs.Elizabeth has appeared in Inc magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and on NBC. She was selected as one of the Top 25 Amazing Women of 2010 by Stiletto Woman and as a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Mashable, and many other media outlets.
Elizabeth’s time coaching clients have the opportunity to go through her exclusive Schedule MakeoverTM life transformation process through phone coaching and custom action guides or in-person training.