It’s been said that good time management is a key that can unlock success and happiness. There have been countless books, systems, and apps dedicated to it. Yet it remains elusive for many. Handling your time well may even be the ticket to finally achieving your dreams. As many of us set out with new goals for a new year, we thought it was a great time to re-visit this topic. We’re zooming in on three different things. 1) Practical time management tips/methods, 2) Psychological reasons why we may self-sabotaging, and 3) A real-life look into the practices of very busy people who are making it work for them.
We all have unique personalities and different schedules. What works for one person might not be effective for another; so, we’re going to dive into a few different approaches to time management. We’ll also hear from successful professionals Mark S. Lee and Gail Perry-Mason on how they handle multiple business and personal demands and manage to keep good work/life balance and contentment.
So if you feel you’re constantly falling behind or just can’t get a grip on everything you have going on in your life, click play to take a few minutes to get some fresh ideas.
Sandy Kovach [00:00:02]:
It always feels like we don't have enough time, but everybody is given 24 hours in a day. Some people are able to do more with it than others. We want to kind of unlock the secret to that. So what we're going to do is we're going to focus on some time management tips and then how it can actually play out in the lives of successful people. And the folks who we're going to talk to are not only busy professionals who have achieved a lot in their careers, but also have a busy family life as well. So we'll get the secrets of juggling all that. I'm Sandy, on behalf of Lanee and I, welcome to Imagine Yourself podcast where we help you imagine your next chapter of life with grace, gratitude, courage and faith. You will be hearing from Mark S. Lee and Gail Perry Mason on their secrets. But first, we'll uncover a few of our own from the episode mastering time Management is More than Learning a Few Tips
Lanée Blaise [00:01:00]:
Let's use this episode to help us make time work for us instead of letting time slip away from us.
Sandy Kovach [00:01:08]:
I like it because I feel like people that have a handle on time management have the pathway to be their most successful and happy selves. I know you have been doing some serious deep dive into time management, Linnae, and I am waiting to hear what you got.
Lanée Blaise [00:01:24]:
Oh, yeah. You all are going to love the easy, specific and profound new ways to bend time and stretch time to your own advantage.
Sandy Kovach [00:01:36]:
We're going to time travel.
Lanée Blaise [00:01:37]:
We're going to time travel, honey.
Sandy Kovach [00:01:41]:
But first we need to know how to do that.
Lanée Blaise [00:01:44]:
We have to approach the art of time management from two different directions, actual practical tips and the deep psychological reasons that we have that cause this sabotage of our time. Which one do you want to start with first?
Sandy Kovach [00:02:02]:
Well, I think what people are looking for is a little of both. But why don't we get to the.
Lanée Blaise [00:02:07]:
Tips for those of you out there who feel like you are just always falling behind, it's a way to catch up, get a fresh start, and yet still have realistic expectations. We can call it like the one, two, three method. I read about this concept in a book by Laura Casey called "Make It Happen", and she said to start your morning and focus on the absolute top two or three things that you want or need to accomplish that day to make that day a win. So you do those things first, then you can get to the less important or even the frivolous things of the day, but you still have that sense of accomplishment. And if you find yourself getting off course during the day, you need to stop and say, hey, is this what.
Gail Perry Mason [00:02:54]:
I'm supposed to be doing right now?
Lanée Blaise [00:02:55]:
And then you just get yourself back on track. No guilt, no pain, yeah, because I think no guilt.
Sandy Kovach [00:03:02]:
It's almost like when you cheat on your diet, you feel guilty, and then you're like, well, in that case, let me just go eat a whole bag of Oreos. And so if you feel guilty about getting off your schedule, you're like, it's blown now I might as well just go hang out on social media for a while.
Lanée Blaise [00:03:17]:
That's the part that I love about this strategy, because you just ease yourself back. You don't eat the whole bag of Oreos. You don't give up on the whole schedule. You just ease yourself back. No pressure, no stress, no guilt.
Sandy Kovach [00:03:30]:
So you're writing these things down, and you're keeping them in front of you, like whether you're making a note on your phone or you're writing a physical list. Yeah.
Lanée Blaise [00:03:36]:
And it's something that you have determined at the start of your day that that's what you need to accomplish. Okay. Now, the other part is interesting that you mentioned diets and stuff, because the second component of this is called eat the frog.
Sandy Kovach [00:03:52]:
I have no temptation to eat the frog, although I have heard of the eat the frog time management method. So tell me about the background of that, because it's really confusing why I would want to eat a frog.
Lanée Blaise [00:04:02]:
It's something that my daughter told me about it because her friend Natalia does it all the time, and it may sound eats frogs. Yes. She eats three frogs a week. What? Yes, she takes the biggest, slimiest frog, and she eats it. But then, Sandy, all the other frogs will go down so much smoother. So you just start your day by eating a frog, and your life will be transformed. Your time will be awesome.
Sandy Kovach [00:04:29]:
So you're not talking about literal frogs here.
Lanée Blaise [00:04:31]:
No, I am actually talking about those slimy, nasty, difficult, important tasks that must be done.
Sandy Kovach [00:04:42]:
Okay. The biggest task of the day, and it may or may not be slimy, because some frogs, they're just big. Right, and other frogs are big and slimy.
Lanée Blaise [00:04:52]:
Exactly. But regardless, you take that biggest one, you get it over with. Your confidence level will soar your productivity will soar get that out of the way.
Sandy Kovach [00:05:03]:
Okay. Well, I've actually had some success on I may not have been calling it eat the frog, but I moved a major task that I have every day, and I can't do it first thing in the morning all the time, but I do what I can. And it's definitely moved from the end of the day when I would just be not I don't want to say I would be dreading it, but it would always be hanging over my head, okay, I got to do this or I'm not finished with my workday. But now, having done that in the first part of my day when I can, it's a lot more freeing. And you're right. You build self confidence.
Lanée Blaise [00:05:37]:
Yes. And this can be in your work life or your home life or whichever. But that's just one method. Another one. Here's a crazy concept that I put together myself. Take time to make time. I want you to actually sit down and take time to plan your day or your week so that you can weigh out what's really important. What things do you need to remove from your schedule? This could be something that you do every week that you need to stop doing and quit. Or it might be something that's a one time thing that you realize you really don't need to do. And when you sit and calmly figure out how to do the most things in the most productive way and which things you can cut out, you will save time. It may not seem like it because you're taking out time, but you are making time by doing that. A tiny example is just some people who drive all over the place to different stores and trying to pick up different things when you could have had time to sit down. Think of the best route, think of things that you could have ordered online, stores that you could avoid, things you could avoid altogether. Think about how your family members could pitch in. They might be able to pick up something on the way home. That's just a tiny example of taking time to make time by planning.
Sandy Kovach [00:06:56]:
Yes, makes total sense. And I'm not bad at that on a day to day basis. But planning out a week is something I've never mastered. But I imagine that's a great way to see everything and organize stuff. And of course things are going to pop up and change, but to have a general plan to go by and you can see what you can eliminate.
Lanée Blaise [00:07:15]:
And you'd cut the crap. Just cut out some of that crap. Subtraction is the best way to add to your life.
Sandy Kovach [00:07:23]:
Exactly. And even beyond just the subtraction aspect, it organizes things better. Think about how you use Navigation Waze or Google Maps or Apple, whatever you use, and you have to go somewhere and you've never been there before. Would you just say, I'm going to figure it out along the way? No, you would put the address in the GPS, you would take the time and you might even look at the route in advance to see what was along the way. And various apps have ways that you can do that too, right?
Lanée Blaise [00:07:54]:
There are so many little tricks and techniques. But I also told you that we'd have to look at things sometimes from a psychological point of view. And I want to get kind of real. Let's ask a question do you respect yourself enough to respect and value your time and to make sure that others respect and value your time as well?
Sandy Kovach [00:08:18]:
You would think that people would answer that question. Yes. But maybe their actions are saying something else.
Lanée Blaise [00:08:23]:
Exactly. Because I promise you defining boundaries when it comes to your time is not only an acceptable thing to do, but it is a freeing form of discipline and it will make your life better. Because at the end of the day, time management does not mean that you just get better and better at smushing things into your already booked life. It means that you will take the initiative to say no sometimes to some things that either you want to do or that other people want you to do, when it's not necessarily the best thing for you to do.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:05]:
You think that's half of the problem with people's crazy lives right over committing?
Lanée Blaise [00:09:09]:
I do. In my own life, I've had some people pleaser things going on, and I read this amazing book called The Best yes by Lisa Turkhurst, and it changed my life because it made me realize that I was answering people too quickly. I would say yes and then go back and think about it and wish that I had said no.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:33]:
Then it's too late. Right? Because then now you got to go back to the person and you probably don't want to do that.
Lanée Blaise [00:09:38]:
Exactly. So my new way is I either tell the person no right off the bat, and then I could always come back and say yes. Or I say, you know what? Let me take a minute and think about it and I'll get back to you. And then I look at my schedule, I consider everything with no guilt, and I make an informed decision, which kind of brings me to another thing. Sandy, here's another important psychology question. Do you ever feel guilty for taking time off and taking a little break?
Sandy Kovach [00:10:10]:
Sure, of course. Who doesn't?
Lanée Blaise [00:10:12]:
What if I told you that people need to take little breaks and people need to take specialized periods of rest, of restoring rest? Because it may not seem like the fastest way to get things done, but we are humans, we are not robots. And it is an effective way to get that recharge that you need for your system so that you can come back and actually increase your productivity instead of sliding into that 03:00 slump. So I suggest to plan scheduled breaks. It really does something to free up your mind, your body, your spirit. I did an entire Bible study called Rhythms of Renewal by Rebecca Lyons that taught us after the rest comes the blessing. You can accomplish more by resting.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:03]:
I think you're on to something there. One of the problems I think we have as a society, and obviously with people working at home, the lines between work and home are blurred even more. Some people might feel like they're never really off the clock, but we need to be. We need to take the initiative to do that for ourselves.
Lanée Blaise [00:11:21]:
Well, I want to give my own personal testimony on this, because honestly, in my personal life, god has made me feel that when I took time to rest. He has repaid me back by stretching my time. I had situations where I felt like hours had been given to me, and when I looked at the clock, only 20 minutes had passed, and I had gotten a ton of work completed in the time that he gave me as a gift for honoring that rest in him.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:52]:
Because you have more energy, you have the clutter is out of your head.
Lanée Blaise [00:11:56]:
Yes, you get rid of some of the junk, and you are operating on full divine inspiration, and you can be so much more creative and so much more productive. And I truly believe in that as a concept, and it doesn't seem to make sense because it's like you're taking time to rest, but you will get it back a dozen fold.
Sandy Kovach [00:12:20]:
So when you say taking time to rest, let's break that down practically now. Are you talking about in the middle of your day? Are you talking about making sure you wrap up on time and you're resting in the evening, or how does that look? We start our day and we have our list, and we have our two things to do when we've eaten our frog and all of that. How do we put that rest in there?
Lanée Blaise [00:12:39]:
It might be a little different for every person, and you might have to play around with it a little bit, because this might be a whole new concept for some people. Personally, I find that after I wake up, it's still about starting and setting that tone of the day. We did a whole podcast, you and I, about setting the tone for the day in your mornings when you start, and you get yourself centered and balanced and on track. That's a very powerful time. But everybody's schedule looks a little different because it kind of depends on who else is in the house, around you, things like that. So it all varies. But you got to find that sweet spot and the resting. It can be as little as five minutes to just get your mind right, get your spirit right, get your priorities right. Because if not, we can just flail out and spin out of control and end up being completely unproductive, distracted, and a hot mess.
Sandy Kovach [00:13:36]:
I hope you found the time management tips helpful. We'll put a link to that entire podcast in the show notes. Now, I promised that we'd hear from some very successful people who juggle a lot of things. We'll be hearing from Mark S. Lee and Gail Perry mason Mark is President and CEO of the strategic marketing consulting firm the Lee Group. He is also an educator teaching at three different universities, and he is a radio show host. Gail Perry Mason a financial advisor, executive, author, philanthropist. She's done Ted Talks, she's won many awards, and she founded the amazing organization Money Matters for Youth, which helps kids with financial awareness and literacy. They both have a very active social and family life, too. So we're going to ask them how they do it all. And let's first turn to Gail. So, Gail, I get up this morning and I see your post on Facebook about your crazy day and how you are getting on your knees to get your head straight and pray. And is that your secret? Is that one of your secret weapons in how you get all of the things done that you do?
Gail Perry Mason [00:14:50]:
My secret weapons, I start every morning on my knees and then everything goes up from there. So I think that's the best place to get started, to get centered and then keep moving forward. And I love to exercise, so I exercise my faith and then I exercise.
Sandy Kovach [00:15:07]:
Do you think getting up and doing everything in the morning is the big key?
Gail Perry Mason [00:15:10]:
Getting it done first and then writing down an accomplishment list? So every day I write down everything I need to accomplish. I think writing it down, manifesting it and making it happen, I think is so powerful also. But we can get distracted, especially these days with social media, with phone calls, with so much access to each other, we can get distracted easy. So I try my best to limit distractions. It doesn't always work, I think. Sometimes I think, oh, I got adult ADHD. I'm like, oh, I get distracted in a minute. And I think we all got a little bit of that. But trying to be balanced and balance is sometimes hard to find. But I think starting with prayer is the best way for me. And then exercise.
Sandy Kovach [00:15:57]:
Lanée Blaise [00:15:57]:
Well, now I have a question then, for Mark, as far as all of the different things, business wise and community wise that you have your hands on and the fact that you have learned so much about how to be a strong person in your community in this world because of your father. I want to bring in something that my father used to always say after a hard day of work. And he'd say, oh, that was a busy day. I'm not overwhelmed, but I'm definitely whelmed. And so I wonder, Mark, how do you keep yourself organized? How do you prioritize to make sure that you avoid burnout and avoid overwhelm.
Mark Lee [00:16:38]:
I have one goal every single week. That's to be done every Friday by 02:00. And so everything that I do, I know it sounds weird, I have five different things I'm doing. I keep a checklist, I go through my checklist. I'm very organized, I'm very focused, I'm very driven. I don't get distracted too much. And a lot of time when I work, I will just focus on the task at hand. And people who know me know. Now, don't call Mark and just have a conversation with them, but every conversation with me from a business standpoint, has to have a purpose. Don't just call me and shoot the breeze. That's not what I'm interested in. If you want to talk business, make sure that you have a purpose. Other things that I do to keep me organized is whoever I meet with, we start on time and we end on time. And if any meetings go over, I will cut the meetings short. Quite frankly, my time is very valuable, so everyone who talks to me will understand. If you meet with Mark, I understand he's very busy. His time is very valuable. The last thing is I just find a balance in my life. When I log off at night, I log off. I'm guilty. I still have a tendency of working too much, but I try to log off now. Sandy and I had this conversation. I'm a music fan. Everybody who knows me knows I love smooth jazz. I listen to jazz all the time. So music keeps me self centered. And the last thing is, quite frankly, is my family. I have two wonderful adult kids. I have two itty bitty grandkids now. And so they keep me balanced with FaceTime and that takes my mind off of everything else. Bottom line is, I focus on the task at hand. And I guarantee today is Thursday, tomorrow by 03:00, marching this weekend, every single week.
Lanée Blaise [00:18:16]:
We need to follow that advice. Truly, both of you. You start your day off right each morning with Gail and you end your week off right with Mark.
Gail Perry Mason [00:18:27]:
I need your balance, Mark. I can do this now. I know.
Sandy Kovach [00:18:31]:
Mark Lee [00:18:31]:
It doesn't mean that I don't work until sometimes eight or 09:00 at night either. But yeah, I got a routine now.
Sandy Kovach [00:18:38]:
I have a good routine and Gail just kind of to ping off that real quick before we wrap up. I know you have three wonderful adult sons and I see a lot of their pictures on social media. So you get your mom time in, you get your family time in. What is your secret as far as I mean, we talked about you praying in the morning and getting your exercise in. Is there anything else that you do, like Mark, with his lists or family?
Gail Perry Mason [00:19:02]:
I always say family means forget about me, I love you. I love my family so much. And so what I do is like, every Sunday, who's ever in town, they have to come over for dinner. I still cook every Sunday, no matter what, whether it's my god kids, my family. I am like, come on over, Mark, and come on over every Sunday. And now so my son so I call it Sunday. S-O-N day. My son and I cook together every Sunday. So Dexter and I, my middle son, we cook together every Sunday. And then we can't put our own seasoning and we can't put our own so I love it. And now we start our own recipe book. So it's just like different recipes. So I really look forward to Sunday or I invite the neighbors, I cook for the neighbors. But every Sunday my therapy is watching the Hallmark Channel and cooking.
Sandy Kovach [00:19:56]:
I love it.
Lanée Blaise [00:19:57]:
That seems to be the key, Sandy. Both of them have mentioned that they want to make sure that especially that weekend time is devoted to what they love and who they love. And to turn off, though, before you.
Gail Perry Mason [00:20:10]:
Do that, so that you can be.
Lanée Blaise [00:20:11]:
Fully present with them. Because Gail, I've seen you on social media and I also like the aspect that you say sunshine, S-O-N. That's my sunshine. I say that to my son not too lately. And he just is like, OK, mom.
Gail Perry Mason [00:20:23]:
But I appreciate it. Can't wait. Yeah, I'll send them a text like we have our group text and I'll just send them, good morning, sunshines, happy, blah, blah, blah. I always say whatever day it is, because we have our group text every day. But I don't have any grandkids yet. My goddaughter has kids, so her mom passed away. So I actually just run by there sometimes, knock on the door, I was like, just go away, let me spend time with them. I mess up her house and I leave and I give the kids whatever they want, do whatever you want and then I'm out. So I have also have the opportunity. And I know Mark is a grandfather and I think that's one of the biggest joys in the world.
Sandy Kovach [00:21:03]:
Lanée Blaise [00:21:03]:
That you focus on what you need to focus on during the week so that you can really be fully present and do that. Seems like that might be the secret sauce right there too. As far as you pray, you exercise, you focus, you get your things done with the least amount of distraction possible and then you get your reward with the ones you love. Because you all seem very happy and you're very successful and you're juggling all these things and you're just doing it marvelously real quick.
Mark Lee [00:21:31]:
The thing about the grandkids, they don't care how successful gifts, they don't care what I do. They just see me, they say grandpa, and they run and they jump all over me. And in that moment, nothing else matters. Total undivided attention. And that's it. That brings everything full circle. It grounds you as a person.
Sandy Kovach [00:21:53]:
And you can hear more from Gail and Mark, not only in that episode Making Time for What Counts tips from Busy Pros, but in their episode they did with us called Diversity Is More Than a Buzzword. We'll put all those links at Imagine Yourselfpodcast.com and in the Show Notes. Well, that's all the time we have to look at time. But we hope you have time to give us a review to connect with us on social media, all of those firstname.lastname@example.org and in the Show Notes. And till next time when we have something new to imagine. Take care. And let's keep making time for our true priorities.
MORE ON OUR GUESTS:
Gail Perry-Mason is a financial advisor and executive, speaker, author and philanthropist. She founded of Money Matters for Youth, which helps kids with financial awareness and literacy. Mark S. Lee is President & CEO, The LEE Group, a strategic marketing consulting firm. He's also an educator at three different universities and a dynamic radio host.