Conquering Your Work Calendar
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Ask yourself, if you feel like you’re always busy but never seem to get anything of major importance done? If so, it’s time to conquer your calendar, improve communication with co-workers and carve out space for priority projects. Conquering your calendar means shining a light on what’s important to your work and to lead by example. If your crammed calendar looks more like a battle plan than a focused, realistic schedule, you’re not alone. Here are some tips for ensuring your days provide the space you need for opportunities, growth and success:
- Cut the clutter from your to do list. Starting each day with a packed list of to-dos can give you a false sense of efficiency. For a list to work, you need to be specific and identify when and how you’ll accomplish each item. Keep only those key tasks that would make you feel really successful at the end of the day or week.
- Delegate to others so they can learn and you can focus. We often think it’s easier to do all the work ourselves but having others assist can bring a new perspective to a task, help another person grow and provide you time to focus on goals.
- Schedule down time to think, reflect and plan. Downtime is critical and can foster creativity. Talk a walk, meditate or simply do something you enjoy that clears your mind. Many people find they come up solutions to issues during this time away. As Natalie MacNeil states in her book, The Conquer Kit, “Goals need space to expand”.
- Sometimes it’s ok to settle for good enough. Having a perfectionist personality can leave you feeling continually anxious about what needs to be accomplished. The desire to work harder and accomplish more and more can leave you exhausted and miserable.
- Get things done in chunks to be more efficient. Science says that working in 90-minute intervals with a 20-minute break may be more beneficial. This may be due to our ultradian rhythms. Ultradian rhythms roll in 90–120-minute cycles; specifically, those of our individual brain-wave frequencies. Try to focus on one project for 90 minutes at a time and don’t let e-mails and calls interrupt.
- Be flexible and understand the realities of the retail world. Keeping your mind clear and your calendar uncluttered is a lofty goal but the fast-paced retail environment can certainly derail your best efforts. By not overscheduling yourself, you’ll be able to adapt more easily when unexpected issues and needs arise.
Ultimately, your work should bring you more joy than stress. Stream-lining your calendar will keep you in the flow - excited to get up and work, knowing that you can successfully accomplish what you must do.