One of the basic time management principles is to schedule about 50% of your day  – leaving the other 50% unscheduled to allow you to handle emerging priorities.  Of course, this is a guideline; depending on your life you may choose to schedule more or less than 50%.

One of my clients recently shared with me that he really struggles with what to do with the unscheduled time. Most days, he has A LOT of emerging priorities, in which case, he doesn’t have ANY white space in his calendar. However, every once in a while, he’ll find himself with an open block of time on his calendar and finds himself just staring at the computer. Or clicking through Facebook.  Or chatting with a friend.  Or . . .

He knows he could use the time more effectively, however . . . he’s paralyzed by indecision.

His solution?

Create a menu of tasks for whenever you’re faced with some extra time.

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When creating your menu, I recommend putting a variety of activities on it.

  • One that takes limited brain power (for when you are mentally drained)
  • One that takes LOTS of brain power (for when you revved up to do some strategic thinking)
  • One that takes 5 – 10 minutes (for when you only have a short amount of time)
  • One that takes 90 – 120 minutes (for when you have a larger block of unscheduled time)
  • One that is “one step from the money” (for when you want the cash register to ring NOW)
  • One that is “2 – 3 steps from the money” (for when you want to work on filling your sales funnel)
  • One that is proactive (for when you want to “get ahead of the game”

(Take a look at these posts for more guidance on this process using Covey’s Four Quadrants.)

By creating a list of a variety of activities, you have the ability to choose an activity based on the resources you have available to you at the time. And you’ve limited the activities down to a manageable number to choose from. No more overwhelm and indecision!

Here are some of the activities on “Sonny’s” list:

  • Identify potential “fires”
  • Work on a potential “fire”
  • Catch up on invoicing
  • Call a potential client
  • Call a past client for a referral
  • Strategize how to use his resources more effectively
  • Go to the gym
  • File “completed” emails in the inbox
  • File “completed” projects

Now it’s YOUR turn! Think back over the last month or so – when have you been faced with “white space”?  What tasks can you put on your menu? When you plan now for the potential “white space” time you will be able to use those unexpected free times productively!

If you find you often have that “white space” in your schedule, let’s talk about ways to more effectively schedule your time.  Apply now for a Discovery Conversation!

(Important!! My complimentary discovery conversations aren’t for everyone!  They are only for people that are eager to make a change, willing to invest in the solution, and ready to move out of their comfort zones.  If this describes you, please click the link below!)

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(Image credit Stuart Miles)