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How Busy Professionals Can Master Time Management with Goal Setting, Mechanics & Planning



Busy professionals are always looking for ways to manage time and tasks in order to create the life they love and the work they desire.

In this blog, I’ll show you how to do exactly that with Sarah Reiff-Hekking's system of goal setting, mechanics and planning. Sarah has been on the faculty at UMass Medical School, is a time management and productivity expert, and is now a coach, passionate about helping time challenged entrepreneurs and professionals get a grip on their time. In this blog, I'll outline how Sarah Reiff-Hekking used her three core philosophies to create a flexible template for your week, use mechanics and planning to stay on track and use goal setting to prioritize and say yes and no to things that matter. With these tools and strategies, you can create the systems you need to achieve success, focus, and clarity in your life and business.

About Sarah Reiff-Hekking

Welcome to this week's episode of the Financial Freedom for Physicians podcast! This week, I have invited Dr. Sarah Reiff-Hekking to discuss the topics of time management, productivity, and focus. Dr. Reiff-Hekking is a time management and productivity expert and has been on the faculty at UMass Medical School. She has also founded True Focus Coaching, where she helps time challenged entrepreneurs and professionals get a grip on their time. Dr. Reiff-Hekking has three core philosophies that help people manage their time in a personalized way, and she has seen four common areas that people struggle with related to time management.

Why is it important for busy professionals to create systems to manage time and tasks?

For busy professionals, creating systems to manage time and tasks is essential for success. Without systems in place, professionals can quickly become overwhelmed with their workload and struggle to stay on top of their duties. Systems provide structure and organization, which can help busy professionals stay focused on what needs to be done and prioritize tasks in order of importance. With systems in place, professionals can also easily track their progress and make sure they are meeting their goals in a timely manner. Systems also help busy professionals maximize the use of their time. By having a plan of action, they can identify time-wasters and quickly adjust their plans to get the most out of their days. Additionally, systems can help reduce stress and anxiety associated with managing multiple tasks at once. Not only do systems provide a sense of order, but they can also help busy professionals feel more in control of their workload, allowing them to stay productive and take care of their responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Control over time

2. Mechanics and planning

3. Goal setting and priorities

1. Control over time

The first step in managing time is gaining control over it. Everyone experiences time differently and this impacts how we perceive and plan for it. For example, some people experience time as passing in the present moment, while others experience it as existing in the present or future. Understanding our own perception of time is key to managing it. Additionally, having a flexible template for the week, a to-do list, a calendar and clear goals and priorities are all integral to gaining control over time. This allows us to plan our days in a way that works for us and helps us focus on the tasks at hand. Finally, understanding the emotions that can overwhelm or lead to procrastination can help us become more aware of them and work on them, allowing us to use our time in a more productive way.

Another way to gain control over time is to set a realistic timeline for yourself. This is especially important when tackling large projects or tasks that require multiple steps. Setting a timeline helps you break down the task into manageable chunks and ensures that you are making progress. Additionally, it is important to be flexible when it comes to timelines and be willing to adjust the timeline if needed. This will help you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Finally, it is important to be mindful of how much time you are spending on tasks. Make sure to allocate enough time to complete each task and be aware of how much time you are actually spending on it. This will help you make progress and stay within your timeline. Additionally, it will help you be more efficient with your time and prevent you from wasting it. With these tips, you can gain control over your time and manage it effectively.

2. Mechanics and planning

Mechanics and Planning Step 2 of the transcript is about Mechanics and Planning. This step focuses on the practical aspects of time management and productivity. Dr. Reiff-Hekking explains that we need to be aware of how we perceive time and how to use that knowledge to create a plan that works best for us. She recommends creating a “flexible template” for our week that helps us be mindful of when we are and are not working. Additionally, she stresses the importance of setting up our environment for success by turning off notifications and setting boundaries. To help us stay focused, she suggests using “half an hour sprints” to focus on one task at a time, as well as using the Pomodoro method of 25 minutes of focus and a 5-10 minute break. Lastly, she recommends setting goals and priorities to help us understand what we should and should not be doing. By setting up realistic schedules, understanding how we perceive time, and setting goals and priorities, we can create a plan that works for us and helps us manage our time and productivity.

To further help us stay on track with our plan, Dr. Reiff-Hekking suggests using a calendar to map out our goals, tasks, and deadlines. This can help us visualize our plan and give us an understanding of how much time we realistically have to complete our tasks. Additionally, she recommends breaking down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks that can be completed within a set amount of time. This can help us stay focused and organized, as well as help us prioritize our tasks and make sure that we are working on the most important ones. Finally, Dr. Reiff-Hekking recommends using the “two minute rule” to quickly tackle small tasks that can be completed in two minutes or less. By utilizing a calendar, breaking down larger tasks, and using the two minute rule, we can stay on track with our plan and make sure we are making the most of our time.

3. Goal setting and priorities

Goal setting and priorities Goal setting and priorities is an important step in time management and productivity. Dr. Sarah Reiff-Hekking, a time management and productivity expert, suggests three core philosophies to help tailor a time management schedule to each individual’s needs. The first is to recognize that everyone is wired differently and be careful of copying what works for others. The second is to prune down the amount of “to do’s” and make choices that are consistent with who you want to be. The third is to create a flexible template for your week that is based on when you are working, and when you are not working. This will allow for a clear boundary and focus on the activity at hand. To further hone in on goal setting and priorities, Dr. Reiff-Hekking recommends using a to-do list and a calendar as a way to plan and map out the week. The to-do list is a place to dump all tasks and figure out what to tackle first and what to say yes and no to. The calendar is a time map and should be an active plan. Lastly, Dr. Reiff-Hekking suggests getting clear on goals and using them to set priorities. This will help to stay on track and ultimately, allow for more control over time.

In order to make the most of goal setting and priorities, it’s important to focus on the big picture and break the goals down into manageable chunks. For instance, if you have a long-term goal such as starting a business, it’s helpful to break it down into smaller, more attainable goals like finding an appropriate space, developing a business plan and registering the business. By taking a look at the big picture and breaking it down into smaller goals, it’s easier to stay focused and motivated. It’s also important to be realistic when setting goals and developing a plan for accomplishing them. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when setting lofty goals and overestimating how much you can accomplish in a certain amount of time. This is why it’s important to be realistic and focus on setting achievable goals that are backed up with a detailed plan. With a solid plan and realistic goals, you’ll be able to make the most of your goal setting and priorities and stay productive.

Time management and productivity are essential skills for busy professionals who want to achieve success, focus, and clarity. By following Sarah Reiff-Hekking's three core philosophies of goal setting, mechanics and planning, busy professionals can create personalized systems to manage their time and tasks. With an understanding of how to recognize and manage emotions that lead to procrastination, create a flexible template for the week, and set goals and priorities, busy professionals can gain control over their time and create a life they love and work they desire. So don’t get stuck in a cycle of overwhelming tasks and procrastination - take control and make the most of your time by mastering the art of time management.

I’d love to hear how you apply Personalized Time Management to get success, focus, clarity. Leave me a comment on how it went for you or drop any questions you want me to answer! To hear the rest of the interview, follow us on the podcast!

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