Jason Hietbrink

Do You Have “Toddler Time” in YOUR Calendar

Do You Have “Toddler Time” in YOUR Calendar?

High achievers are always trying to get more done in less time; they’re often seeking to find new strategies to streamline their tasks and be more efficient in their day.

However, there is a culprit out there I’ve found that often causes many successful entrepreneurs to become scattered, distracted and overwhelmed in their calendars each day.

Toddlers.

Before you think I’m crazy, hear me out.

We’ve all experienced or observed toddlers trying to get the attention of their parents. For some of you, as you read this at this very moment, that is your reality!

What would happen if, as a parent, every time your toddler tugged on your shirt saying “mom, mom” or “dad, dad” you immediately stopped what you were doing and gave the toddler the attention they were craving? One thing is for certain, you’d never have an adult conversation that lasted more than 30 seconds! 😊

Ultimately, you’d never get anything done, would you? Because throughout any given day, there are a myriad of reasons a toddler wants your time or attention. And rarely, if ever, is what they what TRULY so urgent that you need to stop what you’re doing and give them attention that very moment.

When you’re running a business or in a position of higher-level leadership, there are constantly a barrage of tasks, fires, and people pulling on your shirt throughout the day, beckoning you to give it/them your time and attention.

Any decent parent knows that while it’s not good parenting to drop whatever you’re engaged in every time your toddler wants your attention, it’s also not healthy to ignore the needs of your toddler altogether.

This is why you often see moms/dads hold up a finger to the toddler as they’re tugging on the parent’s pantleg – as if to communicate to the child that “what I’m doing right now is important, so are you, but what I’m currently engaged in needs to take precedence. I promise I’ll get to your need when I’m ready, just be patient”

So how does this apply to the business?

Learn to see the seemingly urgent tasks & requests for your time for what they are.

TODDLERS!

Emails.

Text Messages.

Notifications.

Phone calls.

Those random small tasks that pop into your mind you need to take care of.

TODDLERS.  

Toddlers are STEALING your ability to place your attention on the actions and priorities that actually move your business forward.  Toddlers are causing you to go throughout your day working on a task for a few minutes and then * SQUIRREL*.

Toddlers are causing you to feel like some days you’re running with your hair on fire going from one urgent need to the next. Toddlers are causing you to work into the evenings and weekends because you just didn’t have enough time to get everything done during the work day.

You might object “but I have to get back to those people, I need to take care of these tasks, & there are real fires happening and they need dealt with! What, should I just ignore everyone else so I can get my work done?!” 

You’re right. It’s not realistic to ignore your emails, texts, notifications, phone calls, & other random tasks that need taken care. If you’re in leadership within a company or running your own company, there are people counting on you and there are tasks that need done.

I’m not saying to get rid of the “toddlers” in your day, I’m challenging you to simply put them in their proper place.

What if you knew that when you felt that tug on your shirt, attempting to pull you away from the important project or action you were currently involved with, you could simply hold up your finger and let that “toddler” know you’ll take care of it when you’re ready?

What if you were in control of your calendar and how you spent your time, not the requests of others?

I have good news for you. You can. And You are.

When you create intentional space in your calendar to attend to the needs of the toddlers throughout your day, you prevent their needs from becoming your priority whenever you feel a tug on your shirt.

Not everything needs your immediate attention.

If something is an issue at 10am and in order for it to be solved, it requires your attention, it’ll still be an issue at 1pm. In nearly 20yrs of business and leadership, I can count on one hand the number of times something was TRULY so urgent that it could not wait a few hours to be solved.

Here’s what many of my clients have found not only helpful but FREEING.

Set aside a specific time (or times) in your calendar in 30min increments each day to handle all of the seemingly pressing and urgent things that otherwise would have cannibalize the projects, actions and commitments that we’ve made that actually get us closer to our goals. Funnel all of those tugs on your shirt to a specific time in your calendar and deal with them then.

I recommend one late morning and one late afternoon. Give yourself permission and the freedom to do the work that actually moves the business forward during the times in between.

It’ll feel unnerving at first but I promise those tasks and problems will still be there a few hours later and no one will have died because of it!

Calendar “Toddler Times” in your day this week and watch your productivity, peace of mind and effectiveness dramatically increase.

Copyright © Jason Hietbrink 2023, All Rights Reserved

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