It’s OK to Be Selfish With Your Time


DavidCo blogger Kelly Forrester has some great tips on how to create personal time in a work environment. If you feel like you don’t have any time to process meeting notes or your own personal inbox, try blocking out times on the shared calendar for meetings with yourself. Literally.

Consider blocking your own calendar for meetings with yourself. I know many people & teams that do this just to create some protected calendar time for processing email at the beginning and end of day. A good guideline for how much time you need is about 30 seconds to process each piece of input you get (paper or digital). For most people that comes out to about an hour to hour and a half per day for their own processing time.

Personal time is a sacred thing, especially in a corporate environment. Taking every little chance to create more “me” time is going to greatly benefit you and the organization.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Kim of Kim & Jason September 18, 2007, 12:56 pm

    Yes! It’s amazing how powerful the act of scheduling something can be. If it’s on your schedule (even if it’s your own email time), it’s not going to get bumped. It’s taken me a while to realize that inbox (email and paper) processing should be a part of my daily routine that doesn’t get bumped. If those inboxes are full, then my mind is also, which leaves no room for thinking of new creative ideas. But somehow manages to leave plenty of room for the distractions from stress.

  • Pamela September 5, 2007, 7:28 pm

    Greats ideas. I already tried some and they work well for me, especially the personal meeting with ourself.

  • Erin September 5, 2007, 6:12 pm

    Great tip! Since I work from home, people assume I am free ALL of the time for phone calls, drop-ins, etc. This will be a great way to balance.

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  • Helen September 5, 2007, 12:40 am

    It’s a wonderful tip. I also struggle during those busy hours and it would be great to find a way to deal with it. Thanks for sharing this.

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  • Brian September 3, 2007, 5:57 am

    One thing I do every morning is process contractor invoices – something I need to focus on and during which have as few interruptions as possible.

    I have two in-person coworkers and four others who work off-site – and the in-person coworkers know this is time for me to concentrate – the people off-site aren’t as respectful of this time.

    I’ve resorted to setting my IM status to “Do Not Disturb” and using the message “I’m doing invoices. Be back online soon.” and putting my phone calls into voice mail. My voice mail greeting has an alternate phone number for people to call if a matter requires “immediate attention”. I do this when I’m working on invoices or doing anything else that requires my undivided attention at the time.

    I try to keep this time only as long as necessary to get these types of tasks done then make myself available on IM and the phone again.

  • glen September 3, 2007, 12:56 am

    Wow, talk about a small web, eh Patrick? :) I nabbed it off of flickr. I hyperlinked it to the photo.

    It’s a great example of a clean and simple inbox. Plus the pics got really good quality.

  • Darlene September 2, 2007, 10:19 pm

    This is a great tip! I have heard about doing this, and I know I have done it in my past, but I need to add this back into my life. I get sooooooooo busy and I get a lot of personal email and professional email. I tend to ignore a large portion of my personal email, becasuse I would rather people call and talk to me. But in the world we live in… we don’t really have an option, because people are going to continue to communicate. Great reminder!!

  • Patrick Rhone September 2, 2007, 10:14 pm

    Hey, I recognize that Inbox. You used my picture… I am famous now ;-)

  • Mary Emma Allen September 2, 2007, 5:00 pm

    This is a great reminder. Too often we don’t guard time for ourselves or for the priorities in our business. I’m working with some home business owners who wonder why they don’t get ahead…they let family and extended family infringe repeatedly upon business obligations. Yes, family is important and emergencies do crop up. But somewhere, if you’re serious about your business, you have to let family know this and arrange their time “after hours.”