Time management strategies gain their power from your skill at setting boundaries Only when you firmly say no to old pastimes can you truly say yes to new ones. But saying no can be hard, especially to those whose cooperation you’d like! Here’s a helpful tip:
Setting successful time boundaries = Setting specific time boundaries.
Change can be a challenge, and it’s a lot easier to navigate new territory when the parameters are clearly defined. So when you inform others that you’ll take time for yourself, spell out the time frame you have in mind. Others will appreciate having a frame for the change that you are initiating.
Knowing that you have clearly set aside uninterrupted time will help you feel more relaxed, too. Then you can put the time you have regained to better use.
Setting clear-cut time boundaries sends 5 important messages:
1. I intend to follow through with this boundary.
2. I’ve given this boundary plenty of thought.
3. I know that my time choices affect you.
4. I respect you, and offer clear parameters I’ll work within.
5. I can be trusted. My boundaries are easy to see and understand.
As you prepare what you want to say, put yourself in others’ shoes. The more time you spend understanding their point of view, the less likely you are to try to push past important issues they may wish to discuss.
3 guidelines for setting boundaries successfully:
Do a bit of homework before each discussion:
1. For new enterprises, see how realistic an estimate you can create.
Figure out how much time you will need to plan, get supplies, solve problems, and complete your project to your satisfaction. Writing it down will help you picture each step in your mind, so you can mentally walk through it.
2. When planning time, it pays to be generous, so remember the Times 2 Rule!
Schedule twice as much time as you think you will need. Think of how good it feels to finish ahead of schedule. Compare that to running the risk of inconveniencing others when your project spills over its allotted time.
3. Assertiveness will help you ask for everything you need, the first time around.
Setting clear time boundaries may require extra time to plan and estimate. And asking for the full measure of time you need may call on you to be extra assertive. Is it worth it? Absolutely! You will be able to use your time far more effectively if you’re not trying to shoehorn a lot of work into too little time.
Constructive time boundaries are one of the most empowering time management tools you will ever encounter. Start small to get practice, and work your way up. Your success setting modest boundaries will encourage you to exercise still more positive power over your time, so you enjoy an upward spiral of success.
Now, what is your very first step to set the kinds of boundaries that really give you back your time?© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.