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Having Time Management Problems? Then You Must Do One Thing to Avoid These 3 Consequences If you feel you don't have enough time to do it all, you're not alone. But doing this one simple activity every week can and will change everything for you.

By Amy M Chambers

Key Takeaways

  • If you don't take time each week to strategize and plan your calendar, you won't be able to connect to your goals or core values, you won't know when to delegate and your calendar will fill up with other people's priorities, rather than your own.
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Nearly everyone wishes they had more time. One of the biggest challenges facing most of my clients is finding enough time to "do it all." We have more time-saving tools and resources at our fingertips than ever before. Many of them come in the form of electronic devices that exist to serve us. Yet, most of us report having less time than ever before.

Ultimately, time management is just self-management. Those of us who do it well experience much higher levels of satisfaction and success in every area of our lives. My advice? Carve out 1-2 hours early in the week to strategize and plan your time and calendar. Many of us don't make time to do this (because we feel we can't), but that's a mistake. Here's what happens if you don't do this every week.

Related: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Learn Time Management for Your Business

1. You'll never connect to your wildest goals and your core values

When you don't regularly make time to check in with yourself, you rob yourself of opportunities to identify what you're passionate about, where your talents lie and what you were put on this earth to do. You'll start to forget your "why." The things that must be done today will always feel more urgent than the things you'd like to do tomorrow — but the latter is often far more important.

Without alone time to focus on the future, it's incredibly easy to get sucked into the day-to-day minutiae or whatever deadline your boss gave you that's fast approaching. Without intentionally pulling yourself out of the daily grind, you'll never develop a true plan for where you want to end up in five or 10 years and what you stand for. Without that, it's nearly impossible to take the right actions this week to manifest your future self.

If you have an idea of what you'd like to be remembered for, it's imperative that you spend time now crafting that specific vision and how you plan to make it happen. It won't happen on its own. This is also a chance to ensure you're living in accordance with your core values. Many verbally say things like "family is the most important thing to me," but then don't back those words up with action. If you take time to remind yourself of your most important values on a weekly basis, you'll have an easier time prioritizing and committing to them.

2. You won't know who to empower and what to delegate

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Strategy time doesn't add more hours to your week; it only takes time. It doesn't allow your plate to become any bigger, but it does allow you to decide how you'll remove things from your plate. A weekly strategy session allows you to figure out what can be automated, delegated or eliminated. Ask yourself: Is there a way I can use technology to make this process faster? Is there someone around me who is better suited than me to complete this project or task, and who would also view it as a great growth opportunity? Do I have the right people on my team? How am I helping them become ready to take on more?

When you make time to ask questions like these, it's amazing what epiphanies you'll have. Private strategy sessions are a great place to make plans for who you'll ask to do what and why it's the right decision — not just for you, but for them. In my days as a senior leader in financial services, I'd use my strategy time to make careful decisions about which direct reports I'd ask to lead our weekly conference calls and monthly meetings, as well as who I might tap to complete special assignments. Until I made this shift, these were all things I felt I had to do myself. It was incredible how many hours I was able to free up on my calendar once I realized that empowering the talent around me is a key part of great leadership.

Related: What Are You Wasting Your Business Time On?

3. Your calendar will fill up with other people's most important priorities instead of your own

When you make time to strategize and plan each week, you get to load the things that matter most (to you) onto your calendar before others have the chance. As Stephen Covey said, "Act or be acted upon. It's easier to say no when you have a greater yes in mind." It's true. It's much easier to turn down an invite for a meeting or an event when you already have a conflict scheduled on your calendar that feels more important to you. Saying no becomes far less personal.

Taking time on Sunday night or Monday morning to map out your week and give your most important priorities a place to live and breathe on your calendar strongly increases the chance that those things will get done. It's amazing how much metaphorical gravel and small rocks will fit onto your calendar (between all the cracks) once you schedule your big rocks first. This allows you to be proactive instead of reactive. If you've already been intentional and deliberate about what you want to get done each week and where you feel your time is best spent, you'll be able to articulate those thoughts more easily in the heat of a moment when someone spontaneously asks you if you can spare time for them.

If you already feel that you don't have enough time, I understand that making time to strategize around your biggest priorities, plan for the future, and calendar your week feels nearly impossible. But remember: Time is not found; it's made. Don't be a slave to time. Practicing this discipline does take time, but this practice returns more time back to you, especially in the long run. This process will help you (and everyone around you) become stronger. If you consistently make time for this activity on a weekly basis, you'll eventually find that you're ahead of whatever is coming down the pike and you've got time for all the things that matter most, both professionally and personally.

Amy M Chambers

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Executive Coach, Life Coach, and #1 International Bestselling Author

Amy Chambers spent 21 years in financial services and has 15 years of experience in leadership, leading over 500 people to success. She's the author of the #1 international bestselling book, The 7 V.I.R.T.U.E.S. of Exceptional Leaders. She completed her undergrad at Notre Dame and her MBA at USC.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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