I was recently interviewed on a podcast “Holly Springs Deep Dive.” We chatted about managing our time wisely. One question my interviewer posed was “what’s one easy thing we can do to increase our productivity at home?” Easy answer: Executive Time. You really can transform your life with Executive Time.
What is Executive Time?
The big boss in the corner office has to allow time to plan for the direction the company will take. New products, mergers, increased sales. These things don’t just happen. Similarly, we need to allow ourselves “executie time” to plan the direction of our lives. After all,
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”-Anne Dillard
Sound overwhelming? How do you plan the direction of your life? Well, you certainly can’t tackle any existential questions unless you’ve got a handle on the basics.
That’s what I’m here to help with. Let’s get super productive about the boring stuff, thereby allowing you to have time for the dreams that will live the life of your dreams. (At the end of the post I’ll tell you how I use my Executive Time to tackle the “how I want to spend my life” question.)
Executive Time allows you to plan for and tackle the everyday basics with ease.
Executive Time is time you set aside to plan the week ahead. Sunday afternoon. Friday morning. Wednesday at midnight. The timing is up to you. The amount of time you need for executive time will depend on your life situation.
What should I do during Executive Time?
Each family is unique. Therefore what you do during Executive Time is unique. Some ideas include:
- Meal Planning (whether just dinner, or breakfast/lunch/and dinner)
- Generating a grocery list
- Clipping coupons
- Generating an errand list
- Reviewing appointments for the week
- Setting up a carpool schedule
- Deciding what the top 3 priorities are for the week
- Planning your workout schedule
- Brainstorming fun activities for the kids or the weekend
- Catching up on email
- Planning personal goals for the week
These are just a few of the activities you could incorporate into your Executive Time. The goal is to “get your ducks in a row” so that the week ahead progresses as smoothly as possible. Life happens but with a plan you’re much more likely to get back on track quickly.
You must have your calendar near for this planning time. Learn some great ways to use your calendar effectively in “Learn How to Use Your Calendar the Right Way.”
Why I started my planning time
Not surprisingly, I am person who enjoys order. When my kids were tiny I often felt like I was a chicken running around with it’s head cut off. (That’s a phrase from my mama, who grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. Apparently, it takes a bit of time for a chicken to realize it’s head has been cut off. So horrible. But anyway…) Living in that near constant state of chaos and exhaustion was no way to live. It had to stop.
So I chatted with my husband and told him for an hour (ish) each weekend he was in charge of the kids-outside of the home. I used this time to menu plan, make a grocery list and review my calendar. I put activities like “feed the ducks” and “storytime” on the calendar. Simple but oh so effective. I realized I:
- Never had to stress about “what’s for dinner?”
- Always had the ingredients I needed to make dinner
- Realized I had more time than I thought I did
It’s true. Take care of the basics and your relationship with time will be transformed.
Executive Time will change over….well, time
Your planning time when you have small children will look very different than your planning time as an empty nester. It’s best to ask yourself every once in awhile “Is how I’m spending this time working for my life now?”
Now that I am an empty nester I don’t meal plan as much. What I do use my executive time for is planning the 3 most important things I need to do for work each week. I estimate how much time each of these tasks will take and find time for these tasks in amongst my appointments.
Use this time to plan your dreams
At the conclusion of my planning time I have a calendar that includes all my appointments, errands, and the major tasks I need to accomplish for work. What I’m left with is the time I have to binge Netflix.
What I’m left with is the precious hours I can use to forward my dreams. Go outside and use my DSLR camera. Practice yoga. Needlepoint.
Because it’s those hours that make up a life. My life.