People often ask how I am able to accomplish the many things that I do on a daily basis. As CEO of the Vicar Group, LLC, I am tasked with long-term strategic planning, serving as lead consultant on various projects, writing white papers for my constituents, and serving on the board of directors for my local symphony. I also present talks and lectures, serve as Editor at Large of Vicar Magazine, and lead a team of agile employees in the financial sector- and that’s the short list. My days are full and highly productive, yet there is time for peace, rest, and meaningful reflection. When asked how I get it all done, I answer with the Venesulia Method for harnessing the power time.
The Venesulia Method for time management is not just another method for a daily to-do list. It is a holistic, disciplined, and professional approach to designing the life that you desire- both personally and professionally. It includes mapping out space for family and business, the professional day and the personal day, and spiritual self-care and physical self-care. With this method, you’re able to bring order to every part of your day and your life while building in flexibility in the process.
In my seminars, I teach that time is a created thing, and anything that is created can either serve us or rule over us. It is our choice to decide which. This is not just what I teach; it’s how I have lived since the very start of my professional career. I choose to make time my servant and encourage the teams I lead, and the organizations and executives that I consult for, to do the same. It’s up to each of us to mine out the potential of the day and ensure that its fullness is revealed and made manifest.
Everyone is given 24 hours; it’s simply how you choose to use it. Below is my strategy for harnessing time. Take a look to see what parts of it work for you.
The Master to Do List
Harnessing the power of time begins with assessment. Assess what you’de like to accomplish and add these items to your Master To-Do list. The Master To-Do list consists of anything and everything that needs to be done. It doesn’t need to be sorted or organized. It just needs to be written down. This list is a general list that serves as a place to brainstorm in written form everything that needs accomplishing.
After you’ve made the master to-do list, look for anything that you can delegate. The goal is to spend your time on tasks that only you can do and free up time by delegating what others can complete. A critical factor in determining what should be delegated is to ask yourself, “Am I the only person who can complete this task?” If the answer is yes, it remains on your list. If the answer is no, task it to someone else.
Knowing which tasks you can delegate will assist you in freeing up time to do the things that only you can do. Decide which team members have skills and competencies best equipped for the task at hand and delegate it to them. On your to-do list, schedule a time for follow-up so that it’s off your mind. Doing so will allow you to free up creative mental space and focus on what you need to accomplish.
V’s Keys: Do what only you can do and delegate the rest.
Organizing Tasks and Time
Next, you’ll create your daily, weekly, and monthly to-do list. Each list can be in its own binder or merely occupy a section of a binder. I use a single binder for all lists and utilize dividers to create distinct sections for the master, monthly, weekly, and daily to-do lists.
Your next order of business will be to block out times for non-negotiables and high-priority items. This includes lunch, dinner, important meetings, classes, social events, family time, and even downtime.
V’s Keys: Don’t neglect making time for things like peace and reflection. They are just as crucial to the creative process as action items on highly urgent projects.
If you are like me, you will fill your days with the to-dos of life and easily omit quiet time. For many years, I have held the philosophy that rest is an accomplishment. Many people can sit and even sleep, but they do not enter a state of rest. Rest, in my opinion, is a destination and an achievement, and those who enter it receive its reward. Rest gives your brain and body time to recharge and renew, energizing it afresh for the creative process. Once you begin to view rest as a requirement, you will treat it differently. Whether it’s to sit, walk, reflect, nap, or to spend time in prayerful meditation, make it a priority and schedule it.
Tick Tock Time Block
Once you have filled in your non-negotiable items, refer back to the master to-do list and assess how long it will take you to complete a task. Think carefully, honestly, and generously during this process. It’s better to schedule more time than less. If you complete it sooner, you can reward yourself with rest or by starting another task. However, if you need more time and don’t have it, you’re taking from another hour’s purpose and creating a state of deficiency.
Knowing how long it will take you to complete a task will also help with what I call time blocking. Time blocking is a way to harness time for your benefit. Time blocking allows you to complete a specific task in an unexpected and unplanned time block.
For example, if I have a two-hour block scheduled for writing articles, but I finish in an hour and a half, I now have thirty minutes free. I can look at my list of tasks and decide what thirty-minute task can be accomplished in this block. I can move tasks strategically to free up other times in my day to maximize the potential of the moment.
Assign Each Hour a Task
Now that you know approximately how long it will take to complete a task, you can begin to schedule them. Make a calendar that contains one block for each hour of the twenty-four day and assign each hour a task. Include everything: sleep, shower, breakfast, meals, snack, time with friends and family, rest-all the little things that people don’t typically schedule. Fill in a time to complete them. Then take the to-do items from your master-to-do list and fill them into the daily, weekly, and monthly to-do list. You have just assigned each hour it’s task. The hour now exists for that purpose. It’s up to you to fulfill it.
Schedule Time to Schedule Time
Remember to schedule time to schedule time. It sounds laughable, but maintaining order, peace, and maximum productivity will require it. Once you’ve established the system, it shouldn’t take you more than 15-30 minutes a day to schedule and update your calendar.
Using this technique, I harness the power of time and make it work to get things done. You can get as creative with this process as you’d like. Some people color code or use decorative paper on which to print their calendars. Do whatever suits you.
What would you like to accomplish in the next days, weeks, months, and years? The Venesulia Method for time management could be just what you need to help you meet your goals. There are twenty hours in your bank. Invest it wisely.