A new year, for many, means new resolutions (or old ones revisited). For me, time is of the essence. In fact, in a recent video interview, I mentioned that being present is critical to success. Take time to enjoy the beauty of life and count your blessings with an attitude of gratitude.
Be present with a grateful heart and I think we’ll have the best year we’ve ever had.
USANA President Jim Brown wrote an article late last year about this notion of time. In it, he offered several insights on time management and creating an optimal work/life balance.
As I’ve done with previous articles in this “engagement series,” I wanted to share some of Jim’s thoughts with you here.
“Working from home is the new norm for hundreds of employees at USANA,” Brown says. “We’re also connected 24-7. Our work/life balance is more challenging than ever, and I worry your days don’t stop.”
Brown recognizes that companies need to have tools in place to make sure employees are balancing workloads. Without them, it can be easy to slip into 10- or 11-hour workdays — especially when working from home. A set system or schedule can help you manage your time and stay productive.
Below are several excellent time-management tips, courtesy of Jim Brown.
Plan Your Productivity
I use Outlook. The calendar and reminders keep my day on track. And I set alarms on my phone, so I never miss a meeting. I also schedule downtime, time for me to just sit back and read a book, to learn and grow.
A simple pad and pen work for me, too. I keep my daily action items on it and take them into my meetings so that I can write notes. I put an “AI” next to action items. If I don’t keep track of them, I’ll forget to do them. The list sits on my desk.
My administrative assistant, Irene Howell, also helps me organize my events. She has access to my email and can add items to my calendar. She’s always looking ahead for me. It’s nice to have that extra help. She does a lot to help USANA move forward.
Fine Line Between Work and Life
I’ll look at my phone before bed to check if anything has popped up. But even if it’s urgent, I take care of the issue the next day.
Working from home, you get to decide if you’ll take a break or run an errand. Your inner voice may make you feel guilty for going to the bank or hardware store. But if you’re good at time management, and you’re knocking action items off your list (whatever that may look like), you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time for yourself.
Sit down and look at your time. Make that work/life balance happen.
It’s Your Time
Some companies have implemented companywide initiatives to block out hours when employees can’t schedule meetings.
We don’t have any such plans. USANA shouldn’t be blocking out hours, you should. And this goes back to time management. Develop your own schedule. Say you need to pick up the kids from school or help them with homework — that’s your downtime. I don’t want you to lose that because the company has scheduled hours for everyone to follow.
Yes, we all have big days that require long hours, but this shouldn’t be the norm. Our normal is a very stable work week where we effectively give to the company because USANA gives back to us.
Time management takes extra effort and attention to detail. It also goes beyond calendars and to-do lists. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of your day.
1. Look Ahead
For some people, it’s helpful to always look a day ahead. I keep an eye on my whole week. Managing your calendar in advance gives you the flexibility to modify your schedule for both your business and personal needs.
2. Take Time to Reset
Free time is important. I’m trying to exercise a little bit more now, so that helps me. At night, my son and I play video games together. It’s a great way to spend time with him. I also just love gaming. Call of Duty or Madden is my way to take my mind off work.
Everyone procrastinates on some level. Though it’s not something I have much of an issue with. I have a lot of other things to work on, like my impatience.
Procrastination usually happens if a task doesn’t excite you or is something you don’t want to do. But the longer you wait, the worse it gets. It’s better to tackle these things head-on.
And if you have control over your time, you can afford a little procrastination.
4. Say No
I honestly don’t think any of us are good at saying “no.” When something lands on your desk or you’re asked to take on a task, look at your priorities. If you don’t have the time and it’s reasonable to do so, say no.
Delegating is a great way to get stuff done. It’s a chance to help others learn something new and inspire them. The higher your position, the more important it is to delegate. If you’re building a team, they need to be prepared to move up as well.
Delegation is a tool for growth. Look at it as a teaching tool. If you’re just using it because you don’t want to do stuff, (and I don’t think we have employees like that) then you are not using it right.
6. Set Your Phone Aside
I never actually shut my phone down. But when I finish work, or when I come home, I’ll set it down to take a break from the texts. I typically put it away so that I can spend one-on-one time with my wife and son, too. That way, I can give them my undivided attention.
I’m not always perfect. If that phone vibrates, I’ll pick it up and look at it just to make sure everything’s OK. But sometimes putting it to the side is all you need.
7. Take Vacation
I struggle to use my vacation hours. Sometimes I take a Friday off or go to Lake Powell for a week. But most of my vacations are extensions of my weekends.
Vacations help us wind down and take a mental break from work. I understand vacations look different right now, but it’s important to take time for yourself.
The Value of Time
In the end, the one thing we’ll regret most is the time we didn’t spend with our loved ones.
With good time management, you’ll spend less time working and still get just as much done. Schedules make you feel prepared and productive. And they can help you enjoy work — and life.
To view additional articles in this series, please click here.