Policies for Time Management-UPDATE

A month ago, I was inspired by an article I read in a Real Simple magazine called “How do you say no to people who want too much of your time?” written by Julie Rottenberg. So, I wrote a piece on time management policies. I also started an experiment and came up with three policies that I wanted to implement into my Work at Home Life. To recap they were:

• I have a standing play date for my son every Thursday. I am going to create a recurring appointment in my Outlook calendar for the next month for this and come rain or shine, I will keep that appointment (that is of course, if my son stays healthy).
• My hours of operation are supposed to end by 5:00 pm PST. However, I tend to put certain small tasks off until later in the evening, like sending out daily reports to clients. I am going to create a daily reminder in my calendar that will alert me at 4:30 pm PST each day to start wrapping up all work related tasks and projects. This will not only force me get those reports out on time, but will show my family that I mean business when it comes family time.
• When I run my errands throughout the week, I inevitably run into other moms that I know. I say “hello” to be polite, but keep going. I know that if I stop, I’ll get caught up in a conversation that I won’t be able to get out of. My goal here is to not only wave hello, but to acknowledge the person in a way that lets them know that I do want to get together, but not at that particular time. Then call or email them later in the day with some dates/times I do have available for that long overdue chat.

I encouraged all of you to come up with, and implement, some of your own policies as well. Now, it’s time to share our results!!! How did you do?

I was able to implement 2 out of 3 of the policies I started out with, with no problem. My husband on the other hand, needed a few reminders when it came to the end of my work day. Clients would periodically call after my working hours and I refused to answer the calls, which would force them to leave me a message. My husband thought, “It could be important, you should answer that.” Well, he was partly right. All of my clients and their needs are important. But, so is my time with my family.

The one policy that I was not able to fully keep up with was the standing play date for my son. I did put the recurring appointment in my Outlook calendar and like clockwork, the reminder popped up each week. However, the first Thursday of my experiment, my son came down with a really bad cold, so I kept him home. The following Thursday, my son’s play date partner was not able to make it due to prior commitments on her mother’s part. I did however, keep the blocked time on my schedule and my son and I painted pictures together. The third week was a winner! I was able to keep the appointment and met my son’s friend and her mother. The kids had a great time and I was able to catch up with a wonderful girlfriend over some much-needed coffee. The last week, however, was a bust. I ended up scheduling a training session for a client because that was the only time that was available.

What I learned from this experiment is that our time is important, not only for business, but for our home life, as well. The days that I was able to keep all my appointments and still follow my policies were the most productive. Not only that, but I was more at ease and didn’t feel pressured for time. So, I am going to keep working on the three policies that I implemented and slowly add more as I go. I also realized that it will take some time before the policies become second nature to me and I will have days that I slip, but that’s okay. It’s the end result that I’m after!