How Your Proactive Time Choices Help You Optimize Your Time

your proactive time choices
Your time is yours…

Your proactive time choices put you in charge of your time. And in a very real sense, when you’re in charge of your time, you are in charge of your life.

But positioning yourself to make proactive time choices may not come naturally. And the path to making proactive time choices is not always clear.

Life is busy and in all likelihood, you have many competing priorities.

So when you’re super busy with no end in sight, you may feel like you actually are NOT in charge of your life.

Does this sound familiar:

  • Do you feel like you spend most of your time putting out fires? 
  • Or do you respond to other people’s priorities, leaving your own on the shelf? 

Stop for a second.  Think about ways that you are being reactive in your decisions about your time. 

Reactive Time Choices-the 3 D’s

Bottom line, if your choices around time are reactive it will always be hard for you to create a plan and stick to it.  You are being reactive if you lose your own priorities and get snagged by other people’s 3 D’s:

  • Demands,
  • Desires, and
  • Difficulties

Reflect on these 3 D’s for a moment. What can you do when you are faced with one or another of them? 

Your Proactive Time Choices ADD to Your Time

First, don’t let someone else’s tone or urgency automatically overrule your own priorities.  Take a deep breath, pause, and ADD it up for yourself. Remember, you always have the power to make choices. So here are three steps to help you slow down, take stock, and take charge:

  • Assess,
  • Decide, and then
  • Do.

Don’t confuse being proactive with being rigid. When you take the steps above, you are walking a path that is the only path of flexibility. And, on the flip side, don’t confuse being reactive with being flexible. You may be reactively doing what someone else wants, but that is NOT flexibility.

Practical Tips for Making Proactive Time Choices:

These tips dive deeper into the three steps outlined above.

  • Listen to what others say, but give yourself permission to wait before responding.
  • Assess for yourself the importance or urgency of the issue.
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by individuals who are highly verbal, have strong personalities, or may just be crisis junkies.
  • Try saying, “I’ll think about it and get back to you.”
  • Reserve the right to set a boundary for yourself.

Maybe you work for someone who thrives on last-minute adrenalin rushes.  Your boss comes to you after lunch with an “urgent” job.  You could say:

“I can see that you feel (X) is very important. I just want to let you know that if I do (X) now, I probably will not have time to do (Y) by the end of the day. Which of the two do you prefer I do first?”

In this way, you:

  • Acknowledge the request but do not react,
  • Convey the consequences of not setting priorities, and
  • Give your boss the opportunity to make a choice.

People make time choices differently, depending on their values. To be more proactive, start by setting some reasonable boundaries for yourself.  Experiment a little.  Discover how proactive time choices can help you find time in your life right now.

For more help…

Time is pure potential. You decide how to use it; and once you do, it’s gone.  That’s why it’s so important to build on your best time choices.  If you feel like your time slips through your fingers, then you’ll want to claim your copy of my complimentary “Daily Choices Template:  Proven Strategies for Tracking Your Best Time Choices Today, Tomorrow & All Year!” There’s no time like the present – to start moving toward the future you envision for yourself.

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