Reality Check: How much time do you really have?

Wishful thinking can sometimes, okay, often, get in the way of a ‘great day’. Great days are subjective and very unique to each one of us. In my experience of helping people with their time management, a great day often comes down to having achieved what it is you feel you should have. And often, wishful thinking is a culprit in ‘failing’. That and not planning.

I’ve seen clients who are scrambling to get things done, have lists that are roads long, and are piling on the harsh self-talk on themselves (lessening their capability). But then, they show me their calendars and I can see immediately that they don’t have the space for half of what they wanted to get done. They haven’t allowed for the amount of demands already on their time. School pick up, meetings, appointments, lunch, urgent-drop-everything-requests from the boss.

This is their reality. And there’s nothing quite like getting a visual on your reality to bring home some truths. Planning ahead and using your calendar to account for all that you have going on helps you understand just how much time you actually have left to play with.

Think about a day this way: what time are you starting and finishing work? Take some time out for lunch (everyone needs lunch and a break!). Now add up the time that meetings will take up and minus that from your available work hours. Minus some time for interruptions (estimate based on your experience). What are you left with? Now that you know that reality, look at your to-do list and estimate how long each task will take. Looking at what tasks are most urgent and important, now consider what will fit in the space available? That’s your true reality.

This exercise gets you away from wishful thinking. Calculating your available time like this can be confronting but also liberating. It helps frame your day in a way that makes it realistic and assists you in making the most of the time available. Try it and see how you feel. Please reach out if you need to! 

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