“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 this — when you feel yourself having that knee-jerk reaction, substitute: “HOW can I make this work for me?”
Here’s an example. There’s a time management strategy where you corral your meetings to certain days of the week or block at least one day a week from meetings. I love this strategy and use it often with clients, particularly those in the corporate world where meetings will overrun your days if you let them.
That said, the strategy doesn’t easily work for me. My schedule is different week to week. I only take clients on days my husband isn’t working in case our daughter gets sick and can’t go to daycare (we don’t have family nearby, so there’s no backup). His schedule is totally different each week — so mine is too. Hard to have consistent “meetings” and “no meetings” days.
So I started thinking, “how can I make this work for me?” The whole point of the strategy is to protect focus time for deep work. I work best in the mornings. So how about I just protect my mornings for focus work?
So, now I take non-client meetings any day of the week, but not before 1pm if I can help it. (I do book clients on any day my husband is home — mornings included.)
And I LOVE IT. It takes some discipline as it’s hard to stay firm when someone is like, “I can’t meet in the 1-3pm slot until 2 weeks from now.” But you’ll be amazed at how often it works out, and it’s completely worth it. I’ve been doing it for a month, and I’m moving the ball forward on my work priorities so much more effectively than I did before.
The takeaway: when you hear something that makes sense to you on some level but that you don’t think fits your life, get creative and figure out ways it could work. Time management-related or not. You might discover an even better solution for you.
I walk through other strategies for protecting time in my time management program, if you like this kind of stuff.