Make It Happen: Time Management
Today, we're talking about time management. Some of us have always felt a little overwhelmed, especially these days, with the sort of aimless feeling that we are stuck in a hamster wheel of constant doing. Or, you might have a tendency to procrastinate and can't even take the first step on your to-do list.
There's always going to be more to do, and especially for creatives and entrepreneurs, it seems like the work never stops and there is never enough time to accomplish everything we want to.
If you're a bit of a perfectionist, like me, you might feel everything has to be perfectly organized and ready for you to take action. You have to have the bullet journal set up, your vision board in the right spot, and your color coded calendar up to date. You have to do certain tasks every single day or it doesn't count. You've feel like a failure. You tell yourself it's a lack of discipline, but really you've created an unmanageable, impossible system that makes you feel ashamed and disappointed in yourself when you can't sustain it.
Time management really is about creating a framework and a structure under which we can play. Rather than a rigid, militaristic check list, this approach allows some flexibility for when life always throws us curveballs and unplanned obstacles, without allowing them to completely derail our progress.
I will be the first to admit it, I don't always get this right. No two of my work days ever look the same, and I can't anticipate everything that might happen. For example, an audition come in with a quick turn around. Or, a coaching client reschedules and now I have an hour completely free.
If I'm not structuring my time in a way, these changes can really throw me off. It took me a long time ease up on my perfectionism, and being caught up in the expectations of how the day should go. Creating a routine that is open and flexible to unforeseen events has allowed me to limit my stress, overwhelm and "analysis paralysis" when things change.
Who would want to work with a coach who's in a constant state of stress? If I can't walk the walk, how can I talk the talk?
Because time management is a living, breathing thing and it shifts as our lives shift, I’m going to share with you the different ways of how I currently manage my time.
Being clear about your goals.
If you've never really gotten clear about your goals, then take a little time to do a goal assessment. Break it down into increments, you can work from small to large timelines or vice versa.
When I create a goal, I always want to make sure that it's S.M.A.R.T. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time based.
Right now, I have a six month goal that I'm focusing on: I want to make six figures in my business. I know the smaller action steps are to get enough coaching clients and teach enough courses. To make that happen, I need to create the course, market to new clients and network to reach a wider audience. This all feeds into my long term life goal of starting a family and becoming a dad, but is only accomplishable once I break it down into smaller steps.
A goal is not so much about reaching the destination, but it's more about creating the path on which we follow. When I create a measurable goal, it gives me something specific and concrete to work towards.
Create goal-based schedule.
I have worked with clients who have a huge resistance to time blocking, they feel overwhelmed and lost on how to start.
One of the strategies I like to do is creating a schedule based on the life that you want. Time-blocking along with bullet journaling has become the best way to keep on top of everything that I'm doing.
Think about all the different projects and areas of your life that need your time in a given week. This could be training or education, your day job, business development, auditions, team meetings, family time, health & wellness, house work or leisure time.
Go to your calendar and begin by blocking off certain days and times of the week for these areas. You can do this on paper with a planner, or with Google Calednar or iCal. You can color code, make lists or set reminders in your phone. Whatever will make the most sense for you.
For example, on Thursday afternoons you will take course on leadership, or each weekday morning you will do yoga. Saturdays are for audition prep and vocal coaching, and Monday nights are for family time. Create time for every single area of your life you would like to nurture during the week.
Then, think about one of your bigger goals. If my goal is to book a Broadway show in a year, then I need to have at least three callbacks. What are the shows that I could be called back for? Do I need to be working more on my singing or dancing? Do I need to strengthen my acting more? Do I need to find time to do all three?
These are the specific things that we put into our schedule. We create blocks of time to take care of them, or they won't happen. You are creating space in your life to work on your goals, and creating an ideal deal week for yourself.
What I like about time-blocking is that this helps me see exactly where I want to go, it gives me a sense of direction. It allows me to see my blind spots, and if I'm really giving enough time and effort to the things that are important to me.
A bullet journal is my analog way of looking at my time blocking. At the beginning or end of every month, I will create a list of all the things I'd like to accomplish for that month. A lot of times, there are things I have move over the things that I didn't accomplish last month. This helps make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
At the beginning of every week, I divide a full week across two pages. I take my calendar from computer and write out all the events to my bullet journal and color code it. Yours can be much simpler, but this is what works for me. I then look to see if there are any other tasks I can add from my monthly goals that will help me progress to accomplishing them. The goal is to get me just a little bit closer each week. Once I've seen my week on the page and my week digitally, I can see that my to-do list and my monthly goals are scheduled and actionable.
In addition, I do commit certain days to certain things. Mondays are my administrative day, where I catch up on emails. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday are pretty much all coaching clients. Friday is Broadway Husbands Day, where Steven and I spend all day working on our content, podcast, blog, and reaching out and pitching to brands. Sometimes, other things come up, like teaching a masterclass or a workshop, or a Facebook or Instagram Live with a collaborator. But I've created a framework that allows me to get it all done without feeling burnt out.
The art of saying NO.
I recently started learning more about the concept of essentialism. It is all about discovering what we truly need, and why saying no to what we don't need is so powerful.
Sometimes, we're afraid to say no. However, when we're clear about our goals and we've created our schedule, it is so much easier to say no to the things we don't want or need. You're not only saying no to what you don't need, but saying yes to giving space to work on what you truly need to.
Sometimes, it is not a no forever. Sometimes, it's a “right now is not the best time, because I'm focused on achieving another goal."
Time management is all about holding yourself accountable to achieve the things you want to achieve. Simply start by writing down your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then try the other tools I've outlined in this glob. Remember, if a goal is not written down and lives in your head, it is a daydream. Get out there and make it happen.
If you’re looking to gain some new tools for your time management toolbox, you might want to consider joining the BroadwayLife Community Facebook Group. If you need help committing to your decisions, and want to meet our community of artists that are more than willing to listen and lend a hand. We talk about new habits and create ways for all of us to continue to move forward as leaders in our industries.
PS. If you’re looking for even more FREE information visit my YouTube channel, Bret Shuford subscribe and don’t forget to click on the notifications button so you don’t miss my weekly videos.
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