Woman checking watchRemember, we are using a definition of a pocket as being a protected space that holds something tangible – or intangible.  Pockets of time are somewhat intangible, but their benefits…wow!  You want to pay close attention this week!

Since I do seminars and workshops on topics related to productivity, time management (which is a misnomer, by the way), getting your “stuff” organized, etc., I am continually studying these areas and interacting with people in my seminars as well as via email and phone.

I never hear ANYONE say, “Gosh, I have so much time and no real idea what to do with myself.”  HA! It is of course, the opposite. We are all saying, “Yikes, I have way more to do that I can possibly do!” And this is said day after day after day. It’s not an isolated feeling.

For this week’s Keys to Keeping Chaos at Bay, here are ten ideas to help you put in some pockets of time:

  1. Use a planner. When you write in a commitment of any type, add time before and after that commitment. It might be 10 minutes on either side or an hour on either side, just depending on the type of commitment.
  2. Use just one planner. Put everything that you and your family do on that calendar that might have an impact on you. For example, if your spouse has an evening meeting, even though you don’t have to attend, you should place that on your calendar. It might affect you because you’ll be responsible for the children, you’ll be responsible for making dinner, you won’t be able to take your spouse to another event, etc.
  3. Just because there is a space open on your calendar does not mean you have to fill it. Don’t feel a compunction to schedule every moment. Just as a beautifully landscaped yard looks better (and can be appreciated) when there is space between the plants, so too, does your calendar.
  4. Prepare some stickers/labels that you can put on your calendar that designate “pocket” time. Once the sticker is on that spot, call it an appointment and don’t schedule on top of that time.
  5. Schedule what I call “clearing” or “recover” days. I put these special pockets in place on the days after I have been out of town and need a day to clear the decks or to recover from the travel. It’s not a day off, by any means. It’s a day to clear out the mail and email, to get my wash done, to return phone calls that couldn’t be returned while on the road, to get all my “stuff” put away. A clearing/recover day is a day to clear the decks or to recover so you are ready to hit the ground on the following day.
  6. When you are creating your “to-do” list, estimate the time it takes to complete each task and then double that time. It may not take you twice as long as you thought, but it will definitely take you longer than your original estimate. If there is extra time, it’s your pocket.
  7. Don’t forget to schedule time to clean/organize/pay bills/etc. Living in a clean and well-organized environment is good for everyone.
  8. Leave for all appointments (meetings, get togethers, etc.) at least 10 minutes before you think you need to leave.
  9. Talk to your family about pockets – for them. Kids don’t need to be rushing about when they’re little. Call it “quiet play” and make sure they have several times a week for this important activity. Adults need time to read, think and plan and so do children.
  10. I’m not a huge believer in the setting-your-clocks-and-watches-ahead idea, but if it works for you, then do so. Move all of your timepieces at least 10 minutes ahead. Or, as another idea, move some of them ahead 5 minutes, some of them ahead 10 minutes, and if having no pockets has really been an issue in the past for you, then move some of them 15 minutes ahead. Give yourself a visual that you need to get a move on!

Are you safe? Do you have time, energy, and attention thieves lurking around you – ready to rob you of your most precious resources?

If that sounds like you, and you’re ready to banish those burglars once and for all, you will love this practical and specific Get a Plan! Guide® to Thwarting the Thieves of Your Time, Energy, & Attention. If you like reading and having a document to refer to, you may purchase and download this 47-page, full-color Get a Plan! Guide®. You’ll be glad you did!