Time management is an important topic for busy executives. However, when you work for a company, you often find that your schedule somehow fills itself. You have meetings. You respond to questions from your subordinates and complete projects assigned by your bosses.
Most important, you have a sense of what you need to do to succeed.You know how to set priorities and, in many cases, priorities are set for you.
All this changes when you decide to change careers. I like to say that career achievement is like professional football, where success often depends on being in the right place at the right time. Career change resembles playground basketball: no rules, no paid coaches (though lots of advice from the sidelines), and no game plan. Your old style of time management usually won’t work.
Here’s where conventional wisdom fails. You will never have enough time to do everything you need. Your biggest challenge will be setting priorities. Sometimes what seems to be an obvious priority is actually something that should be deferred.
Example 1: You get a call from a company, demanding an immediate phone interview at 3 PM today. You have an informational interview scheduled at the same time – an appointment you made several weeks ago.
Your prospective employer may be testing to see if you really want the job enough to move your schedule around. She may be assessing your ability to respond quickly to new situations. Or he may be an unreasonable, demanding manager who doesn’t realize you don’t work for him yet.
Example 2: You feel exhausted. You’re stressed and drained by a week of fruitless activity. Every action seems to land you at a dead end. You have six more things on your list, including calls that could be important.
You need to explore your own feelings and needs. Are you so stressed and resentful that you’ll blow any opportunities that might arise from these calls? Are you too tired to think clearly? Often in a stressful situation the most sensible thing you can do is take time out and do something you will really, truly enjoy.
Check out my irreverent guide to Time Management: https://midlifecareerstrategy.com/timebook.html