The holidays are just around the corner and time for work, family, and self is of the essence. But how do you squeeze in the extra things to do (fun things) along with the ‘have to do’ on your list. To my students, I share my five ‘S’ system to manage their time effectively, efficiently, and mindfully.
The five “S” to strategic planning can be applied for project management, goal setting for personal and professional, and for time management for new ideas.
1. Space refers to the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social space that you need to create, block off, and keep tight boundary. Claim a physical space that is your for your study, for your meditation, and for your family/friends. A emotional and intellectual space is needed for yourself to grow independently. A social space is where you can connect with others. When you have different spaces allotted for different purposes, it allows you to feel less guilty about declaring your personal space for clarity because you know you have space for the other things and people in your life.
2. System refers to finding a system that work for you based on your characteristics. Are you a morning person – then working out at the gym, doing your best writing, and/or working on the garden is your system. Or if your energy level is at its highest peak in the afternoon, reserve that precious time for your creativity muscle. Find mentors to examine their system. For example, if you’re a writer, read a biography of your favorite author and analyze their writing process. Would it work for you? Modify the parts that makes sense to you.
3. Schedule refers to blocking out chunk of time to focus and drive through the resistance to focus. Minimize factors that get you to lag, delay, or be distracted. A recommended schedule of time is to block 25 minutes to work, and then a 5 minute for a break, and the recycle the process again. Don’t forget to schedule time for fun, exercise, and meditation. Don’t think of these are ‘time-waster’. When you are unhealthy, unfit, and tired, you are wasting more time to regroup your mind and body to get things done effectively. Schedule at least 7 hours of sleep, planned meals, and drink water throughout the day.
4. Support refers to your immediate cheerleaders to get your through the distraction toward your plan (i.e. your term paper, your project, or book). For school, your study group may not be the same group of folks who you are skiing with. For writing your book, you may want to join a meet-up group in your local neighborhood who will hold your bottom to your seat and fingers glued to the keyboard to get you through the writing process.
5. Self-Evaluation refers to a periodic check-in with yourself. Reflect on your baseline, your timeline, your system, schedule, support, and space. Did you achieve what you wanted? What were the successful factors? Were there any barriers? If so, why? When you are trying something new, give yourself time to learn and evolve with these tactics. Do a weekly check-in (i.e. Sunday night for an hour), or a monthly check-in (i.e. the 1st of every month).
Having the five “S” in my strategic roadmap allows me to lay out the time, space, and effort needed in achieving my goal. With this map, I can anticipate whether I have the time to say ‘yes’ to things to do (the have to and the fun things to do) or to say ‘no’ because according to my five “S”, I have neither the space, system, schedule, support, nor self-evaluation tool to assess it.
Don’t forget to enjoy the journey, the road bumps, and to roll down the window to enjoy the view toward your success.