Not the prettiest of images and it definitely doesn’t end well for the birds. But there’s a good time management skill embedded in these words. And that’s layering.
Not to be confused with multi-tasking (which doesn’t work for a lot of people), layering is about meeting two goals at once while being completely present. A client of mine was telling me about her week recently. She’d agreed to a coffee catchup during work time with a friend the day before. She had justified it to her by recognising that she didn’t have much downtime scheduled for the week. Plus she saw the opportunity to run a business survey past the friend to add to some homework she had to complete.
I congratulated her, “Well done! See what you did there? You layered your time! You met two goals in one time slot. You fulfilled your friendship bucket and also got your survey completed.” She was surprised that I was giving her kudos for this but as I went on to explain, that decision had given her the biggest return on her investment of time. And I was proud that these skills were becoming more natural for her.
To up the ante of your own layering skills, grab a copy of my Holistic Organising Life Audit (HOLA) exercise and have a think about the requirements of each of your life categories. What HOLA does is take everything that we, as humans, have to be across and break it down into eight broad life categories. These categories combine many areas because, let’s be honest, it’s easier to manage and monitor your time across eight areas rather than many individual ones. Of course, you could decide that you need less than eight, but I wouldn’t recommend creating more.
Put it into practice
With these categories in mind, decide what your big picture goal is for each area. And then it’s time to get into thinking about how you are going to get there. What activities do you need to do in order to satisfy each area?
So under Health and Wellbeing maybe your goal is to live a healthy lifestyle and exercise at least three times a week. Under Family and Friends you recognise that at least three catch ups a week keeps you balanced and connected. Throw your new Time Management skill in the mix and you can work towards both goals at once, how about a walk with a family member or friend? Boom! That’s layering done well.
Layering becomes very handy when you feel short of time. Or if two options have come up at the same time. Take the above example, say you’ve got the idea in mind that you will go for a run on the weekend, but something crops up and your partner needs you to look after the kids while they’re attending to something urgent. You park your running idea and decide to take a bike ride with the kids. There you go! Not only are you being flexible but you’re still satisfying both your Family and Health and Wellbeing life categories.
Layering is just one of many awesome Time Management skills at your disposal. We dive into them all in my Holistic Time Mastery Program. After the program you come away with skills that help you live life a lot easier and get to all the things you love doing.