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Reclaim your Time and Live a More Intentional Life

[fa icon="calendar"] 2/8/24 12:33 PM / by Deb Cullerton

iStock-1357880802In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to get caught up in a constant cycle of reactivity and back-to-back meetings, leaving little room for personal growth and reflection. But it doesn't have to be this way. By taking intentional steps to carve out dedicated time for ourselves, we can break free from the chaos and make space for what's truly important. In this blog post, we will delve into various strategies to reclaim your time, including deep dives, sprints, creating a "not to do" list, and setting meaningful goals for the future. So, let's embark on this journey together and discover how to prioritize our time and create a life that aligns with our deepest values and aspirations. Now, let's dive in and explore these transformative strategies for reclaiming your time and living a more intentional life.

Create space for what's important.

If you've fallen into the habit of being completely reactive or stuck in meetings, the first thing to do is stop the insanity.  Go block off non-meeting, non-reactive time every week until the end of the year.  I'd suggest 20% of your week, but if it feels completely impossible, start with 10% for now and then increase it as you begin the new year.  This may mean planning it further into the future and not waiting for what's left after everyone else has carved up your calendar.


Deep Dives

Now that you've freed up a little space, use some of it to take a deep dive into an area that has been holding you back.  Deep dives are interruption-free chunks of time where you dig in and either create, problem-solve, or learn in a massive way.  Remember studying for finals?  Get your coffee, go to your happy place, and surround yourself with everything you need to really dive into something.  Do yourself a favor and save the last 15 minutes for your action plan.  What did you learn that you can take action on? 



Sprints are a little different than deep dives.  Think speed over depth.  Setting your intention to move through a quantity of work in a set period of time can also be invigorating.  If you have work that’s been hanging because it feels less of a priority but now it's built up into a mountain, you need to get after it so it doesn't kill your morale.  This might be audits you're responsible for or catching up on your expense reports for the year.  This might even be performance appraisals or end-of-year planning.  For sprints to work you need to set aside a chunk of time and a concrete quantity goal.  For example, 3 performance appraisals in an hour or auditing 5 accounts every day for a week until all 25 are done.    Make it fun!  Challenge yourself to crank it out and then reward yourself with some of the work you enjoy the most.


Create your "not to do" list.

While everyone is creating their to-do list, do just the opposite.  You know what the most impactful things are that you do.  The challenge is making more time for it and it means saying no to your lowest-impact things.  What can you delegate to others or flat-out refuse to do?  As a young engineering supervisor many years ago, I felt bogged down by a bunch of administrative work and couldn't convince the company I worked for to get me help.  I knew that I could accomplish so much more if I had the time back in my day.  I felt so strongly about it, I hired a temp out of my own pocket to work at my condo every Saturday for 5-6 hours.  I wish I'd had better influencing skills back then, but I refused to let that stop me from succeeding.  Do what you need to do!


Set your goals.

Now is the time to create your plan for 2024 if you haven’t already.  People who know where they are going and what they want to accomplish are just more focused.  That's the simple truth.  I have been doing this for 35 years and honestly believe it's been the most important element in living the life I want to live.  My goals are sometimes audacious and sometimes completely realistic, but they have always made sure I was heading in the right direction. 


Mark Cuban wrote. “Time is the most valuable asset you don’t own. You may or may not realize it yet, but how you use or don’t use your time is going to be the best indication of where your future is going to take you.” 


Topics: Productivity for All, Leadership Matters, HR Executives

Deb Cullerton

Written by Deb Cullerton

Managing Partner at PMA and passionate about developing leaders