Recently, I had a great conversation with one of my favorite people. On our walk to get coffee, we talked about the difficulty of saying “no” or “later” to a new project.
We both like to say something like, “given everything on my plate right now, I can turn to this on X date” — and either hope they’re good with the later date or, in some cases, turn to someone else.
But here’s the problem: Due to people-pleasing guilt, we often throw out a date that will only work if we work nights/weekends on our current projects to make ourselves available. Time we’re sacrificing from our people we want to spend time with.
Whether you’re an attorney managing a partner or client’s expectations or an entrepreneur managing those of a client or collaborator, you know what I’m talking about.
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Planning doesn’t always work out. Obviously, sometimes life throws you curveballs. And sometimes plans don’t work in more subtle ways.
In my lawyer days, I used to workout first thing in the AM. So after my daughter started sleeping through the night, I recovered from months of sleep deprivation, and I got my early mornings back, I scheduled working out for that first-thing-in-the-AM slot. After all, that’s what had worked for me for years.
But, while I had no problem getting up at 5am, I found myself consistently ignoring that “Quick Workout” calendar alert. Me! The person who harps on and on about your calendar.
Instead, I wanted to work — to research issues for clients, to work on my online course I’m releasing next year, etc.
When you find yourself consistently ignoring a planned activity, it’s not a sign planning doesn’t work or that something is wrong with you. It’s just a little nudge that the activity is either not scheduled at the right time or may not be the right activity for you in the first place.
My new time management advice: pretend you have a toddler. You know what makes you think twice about saying “yes” to any invitation or new opportunity? Having to spend time finding childcare to cover you for the event, pay $15-18/hour for that coverage, and not only pay for the hours you’ll be at the event, […]
“That won’t work for me.” It’s an easy and convenient way to dismiss a new concept you hear about. I’m so guilty of this — “My life is totally different from hers; that won’t work for me. Dismissed. (Nevermind that what I’m currently doing ALSO isn’t working for me.)” Marie Forleo’s book challenged me on […]
I had a client recently who announced in this “can you believe what a mess I am?” tone, “I don’t think I’ve ever finished a to-do list.” As though this was some deep character flaw. Most to-do lists are dozens of items long. Some of those items take hours or days to complete. And life […]
What 2-hour period of the day do you get your best work done? For me, it’s 5-7am. Pre-kids, I used to get that window all the time. Pregnancy and then a kiddo under 1.5 years old made me have to adapt because … there was no way. For a while, that “works best” window was […]
My best guy friend passed away when we were 29. In high school, we’d bonded as the new kids together sophomore year and, as adults, we were lucky enough to end up living in Boston at the same time. He was probably the best person I knew — kind, hilarious, fun-loving, brilliant, compassionate, friends with […]
As you know, I love time-blocking. And I love time-blocking everything, from time to accomplish business projects to family-time to setting up the coffee machine the night before to reminders to start renewing my driver’s license. (Granted: you need to set up your calendar to accommodate this with tech strategies to avoid calendar overwhelm, but […]
Lately, I’ve seen more articles and even social media comments ragging on time-blocking. The main reason seems to be that people think that putting everything in their calendar would constrain them and force them to live a regimented, work-work-work life. That’s not at all how I use time-blocking in my own calendar or with clients. […]
When I was a brand new attorney, I felt like everyone else got this “how to adult” memo I missed (or maybe it got lost in my paper piles). I left school and immediately got overwhelmed by managing a career, family, friends, dating, even the run-of-the-mill medical things, financial info, etc. I basically ignored my […]
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Realistic time management designed for professional working women
I'm a former big law attorney who got overwhelmed as a first year and slowly pieced together a time/task management system that actually reduced my stressed, helped me stay on top of it all (and know it), feel confident drawing boundaries, and soak in time with my family and friends. I'd love to get you there, too.