The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Free Time Should be Me Time—Part 1

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, March 23, 2020
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I hear the laughter and disdain already: “Free time? Are you kidding?”
“Me time? Huh? I don’t even know where “me” is these days!
“What planet do you live on? We had a cutback and now I need to be three people!”

I got it. The volume of work seems never ending. Family demands don’t stop. Folks are stretched so thin they’re like a rubber band ready to snap. No wonder that burnout is now listed by the World Health Organization as a global occupational hazard.

But if YOU don’t take control of what you accept in those 24-hour blocks called a day, your life will vanish before your eyes. Notice that word “accept”. Unless someone is holding a gun to your head, your steady “yes” can be changed to “no, “not now”, or “who else can do this or help me?”

I’ll be writing a series of articles about time control—not time management. Control precedes management. You want to find the definitive areas that are in your control first. From that time management actions can start.

1. Control the conversation about where your time goes. For example, there are activities that add no value to your organization or your life. But you haven’t stopped to question: “Why am I doing this?” Ask that question three times, each time with a different emphasis:

WHY am I doing this? Is it because someone said so? Is it because no one stopped to question the validity? Is this old programming that can be changed?


Why am I doing this? Is this really my “job”? Have I convinced myself that I am the only person who can do this? Have I bought into the notion that “by the time I tell someone how to do this, I could have done it myself.” That last belief can hold you back from helping others grow and possibly discovering a better way.

Why am I doing THIS? Does it need to be done now? Can I do only part of it? Does this action I’m doing right now help or hurt me in the future? Could it be that “how” I am doing something is the burden. For example, if only a summary statement is required, why am I creating spreadsheets, a slide deck and footnotes?

The conversation and thus control begins within your head and then can move out to teammates, a manager, or your family members. You DO have control.

2. Know what your peak performance time and control is what you put in that time block. For example, I am a morning person. If I try and do a difficult task after 4pm, it will take me much longer, probably be loaded with errors, and leave me exhausted. Rank-order your day into four time slots, from your most to least productive. Control what actions you put where.

You can read Part Two here.

You can read Part Three here.

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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