The 3 Skills That Will Improve Your Time-Management.Jul 21, 2023
Time is the great equalizer.
No matter what goals we hope to achieve, learning how to manage our time is central to our ability to achieve the goal. Whether you're focused on launching your business or finding space for work and life as you scale, you need time on your side.
In this blog, you'll learn the 3 skills every entrepreneur needs to develop in order to create better time management habits.
Continue reading or check out the video replay from Instagram above where we discussed this topic live.
The CIA Method for Time-Management
There are 3 primary skills we need to develop to sustain good time management habits. Most time-management advice brings us back to a tool - planner, to-do list, time blocking - that is supposed to help us create time for what we value. These tools can be great, but they often require a certain foundation to be laid. If you've tried planners, to-do lists, and other time-management strategies and it hasn't helped you consistently use your time for your desired goals, you may be missing one or more of these 3 skills.
The 3 skills are:
Together, they make up the CIA Method for Time-Management. These three skills help you to get radically honest about how you utilize your time and identify how to align your time to lead your most fulfilling life.
Clarity is about understanding the behaviors that clutter our time.
Oftentimes, we have a very limited view of what we actually need to do in order to create time for what we value.
Here are some common pitfalls related to clarity.
Pitfall #1: We focus on a singular behavior.
For example, we think, "oh, if I need to better manage my time, maybe I should stop scrolling on social media". That is something that will probably benefit you in creating more time because that time spent on social media is time you could spend doing something else. Here's the catch - more often than not, there's more than one action that might be keeping you from creating time. A lot of times it is a category of behaviors.
Scrolling social media could be a sign of a behavior of overindulgence that clutters your time. That may include but not be limited to social media. It may also include overeating, emotional shopping and/or overworking. Limiting our clarity to a single activity is not expansive enough to create time for what we desire.
True clarity requires us to identify the category of behaviors that clutter our time, not just one singular action.
Pitfall #2: We think clarity is about identifying what we want to do.
It absolutely benefits us to know what we want our time to look like, but that is not clarity (spoiler alert: that's alignment). Clarity is about understanding what behaviors clutter our time, which means that we need to identify what we're doing today to fill our time, not what we hope to do tomorrow.
Before you can make a change, before you can shift the way that you utilize your time, you need to actually understand what is keeping you from spending time on the things that you say are important to you. When you're focused on where you want to go, but don't understand how you are cluttering your time, you don't know where to start.
If I say, I would like to spend more time playing the piano, dedicate more time after work to my business launch, deepen my connection with friends and family or go to the gym, I need to know what time I have available to me. Where will I get the time to plug in the activities that will support my goals?
Pitfall #3: Stopping at "I need to manage my time better".
Knowing that you want to manage your time better is a great start, but what does that mean?
What aspects of your time need to be better managed? What does "better" look like?
This statement may feel like clarity, but the reality is that it leaves us with too many questions. We need to dig deeper to obtain true clarity.
What happens when we don't have clarity?
Without clarity, we lack capability.
Lack of clarity leads to using "hope" as a strategy. Hope as a strategy is like throwing spaghetti without knowing there's a wall. We'll try any and every solution in hopes that something will work out. This creates too many options and not enough results. After a while our arm gets tired and we wonder, "Am I capable?".
Questioning your capability slows your progress and diminishes the likelihood of consistency. Instead of consistently using our time how we desire, we find ourselves stuck in a cycle of executing the behaviors that clutter our time.
It doesn't help me to think that I'm not capable when I'm trying to launch a business so that I can ultimately leave my nine to five. It doesn't help me to think that I'm not capable when I'm actively managing a business and also trying to make time for my personal life. If I think I'm not capable enough to launch, I won't. If I feel like I'm not capable enough to juggle both, I'll probably dive deeper into workaholism instead of having some kind of balance in my life.
Clarity is huge because it is the ball that gets everything else rolling.
When you understand what behaviors are actually holding you back, then you can say, "okay, now I know what to do to free my time".
What do you understand about the behaviors that clutter your time?
The second skill in the CIA method is intention.
Intention is about understanding what behavior is going to replace that behavior that clutters our time. In other words, we need to identify the behaviors that will declutter our time.
This is where what we would like to be doing with our time comes into play.
One common misconception about intention is that we should focus on the tool that we're going to utilize. We start asking, "What am I going to buy ? A planner?", "Do I need a better to do list?", "Should I get an app that helps me to track my time?". A planner is a great reminder of how I use my time, however, it will not stop me from overworking.
Eventually, we will need a tool to support us, but intentionality should be a focus on behavior not tools.
What happens without intention?
Without intention, we lack direction.
We spend our time focused on gathering some resources to better utilize our time. Those resources can be extremely helpful, but they will not actually change the behavior that we want to change. Just because I buy a planner, does not mean that I'm actually going to start executing my time better. The question is not, what do I need to buy to better manage my time, it's what do I need to do?
What behaviors will help you align your time?
Alignment is the tooling piece of this puzzle.
Alignment is about identifying how to bridge the gap between what clutters our time and what will declutter your time.
Let's review a couple common misconceptions about alignment.
Misconception #1: Alignment is simply about creating space for something.
We declutter our time and think, "Great, now my time is freed! I finally did what I said I wanted to do". Then, days or weeks later, we find ourselves frustrated because doing what we said we would do starts to feel like a fluke.
Alignment is about repetition.
We don't just want to create one post on Instagram about our business, we want to launch and build a sustainable business.
We don't just want to spend time with friends every blue moon, we want shutting our laptops to connect with others to be a routine in our lives.
We don't just want to go get a massage and care for our physical well-being every so often, we want it to be a lifestyle.
Misconception #2: We think we only need a time-management tool.
Finally, we've reached the skill in this method that focuses on a tool. That tool could be a planner, a to-do list, or even learning how to time block, but this is not our only tool.
We need a behavior management tool just as much as we need a time-management tool.
The time-management tool will be a reminder of what we said we would do.
The behavior management tool will sustain the actions that declutter our time, even in the face of stress, anxiety or overwhelm.
While time-management tools have been created to support the masses, your behavior management tool will be personalized to you. It will help you to identify the exact steps you need to take to stay on target with your time management to facilitate repetition of your desired uses of time.
So where do you get this behavior management tool?
You create it (or you work with Nacho Average Fro #shamelessplug).
What happens without alignment?
Without alignment, we lack consistency.
Lack of consistency means lack of confidence. Lack of confidence eliminates sustainability. If you want to sustain better time-management habits, you must believe you can do it. Consistency will create the confidence you require.
What tools will sustain the alignment of your time?
Learn how to improve your time management.
Have you mastered the skills of clarity, intention and alignment?
If not, join the 'Achieve Any Goal' email community to learn more about our upcoming workshops that will teach you how to utilize this simple 3 step process to declutter your time so you can launch and scale the business and life you desire.
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