Health & Wellness

HOW TO MAKE TIME: What can you do to manage your time better

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The pandemic gave us back time that was wasted commuting to and from the office and, if we are honest, we were all doing too much anyway. Yet working from home created another challenge of over-working because we lost sight of the structures and signals that told us work was finished. We somehow got our times mixed up, literally. 

Our work and personal life became one big ‘mush’ of overwhelm. The result? We were producing more work than we did pre-pandemic, causing unintended burn-out, lack of enjoyment and generally low levels of overall well-being. 

Knowing that a hybrid way of working is here to stay, Jessica Lightbourne and Lorene Phillips, co-founders of ICLI coach training and leadership institute, share time management tips to help align your time with the life you desire: 

List priorities every morning, or before you go to bed at night. Ask yourself, if I could only get one thing done today, what would that be? Then ask, if that thing was done, what would I do after that? Write your top 3 tasks down and post them where you can see them. 

Say “no” to the task while still saying “yes” to the person by redirecting them to someone who can help. Many of us lose time because we have been programmed to say “yes” to everything. Start a new habit of saying “yes” only to your defined priorities. 

Fill your cup so that you can be more efficient. You already know that you get more done when you are rested, fed and happy. That includes making sure you take breaks throughout the day. Even walking around the block can help you reset and launch the rest of your day. 

Embed structures to ensure you keep on track. Put all activities in your calendar, including meetings with yourself. Set alarms first thing in the morning to enable you to jump from one activity to the other, in accordance with your calendar. Create an “hour of power” with a peer where you meet, check in at the beginning of the hour, work on your individual projects and then check in at the end of the hour. 

Set an intention for the day, morning, hour, 20 minutes or even a minute. For tasks, determine what you will work on, then set a timer for a set amount of time. When procrastinating, set a goal of 5 minutes. It is likely that you will get into the flow but even if you don’t, you win. 

Shorten meetings, knowing you will still be just as productive. Cut that 1-hour meeting in half and see how quickly you cut to the chase. 

Integrate areas of your life. You need to fit in exercise and you need to meet with your direct report? Why not have a walking meeting either together or while on the phone? You can take any area of your life and double or triple up. 

Adopt a “media diet”. We spend countless hours numbing ourselves in front of the screen. Take a break from all media, social and otherwise, to earn back hours into your day and week. 

Consider an app: We recommend Asana for productivity and Insight Timer for re-centering. 

The ‘great resignation’ has supported what we knew all along. We cannot do it all, we no longer just want to ‘survive’ the day, and knowing how to manage your time well can be the difference between anxiety and calm, coping and not coping. 

Jessica Lightbourne and Lorene Phillips are both ICF credentialed coaches, corporate trainers and facilitators, locally and abroad. For more information go to 

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