Michael Hyatt is one of my favorite leadership bloggers. The former chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Hyatt holds the belief that leaders must be thoughtful and purposeful, and his posts range from philosophical to tactical.
One post this week has been so impactful for me that I have to share it with you: How to Create More Margin in Your Life. “Margin” describes intentionally-created space in a schedule, designed to accommodate the unexpected. As Hyatt writes:
Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of you. And no one seems to appreciate the fact that you are a finite resource. (Perhaps you don’t even realize this.)
That’s why creating or re-visiting your Ideal Week is so important.
Hyatt explains how to design an Ideal Week schedule that takes into account daily themes (Fridays for appointments, for example) and daily focus times for each domain of life (self, work, and family/friends/planning). He then schedules key times based on his goals and priorities (and these times are broadly described), leaving “margin” for the unexpected.
I’d tweak this approach, to allow for daily margin during the regular workday. In other words, rather than scheduling a full four hours for writing, I’d set aside three hours as a fairly non-negotiable minimum I’d expect to attain each day, and then block the fourth hour for margin. On an ordinary day, that fourth hour might be occupied with writing as well, but it could also be devoted to the priority question from a client that requires time for a response.
I highly recommend Hyatt’s post as a source of both inspiration and direction on time management. By blocking time for what matters most, leaving time open for the things that inevitably crop up, and seeding accountability (by directing that you share the Ideal Week with your team), Hyatt has created a tool that will be useful for getting the “must do” tasks done without getting burned out.