There are endless time management tools and techniques and systems out there – many of which are great – but one of the most important techniques I learned years ago is less about time management, and more about time allocation – or time blocking.

And this applies to life in general.

If things like vacations with your family are truly, truly important to you, you will pre-block time in your calendar – and then book (confirm and pay) for them – and allow all other commitments to backfill around them.

Well before a new year starts, I pre-block vacations with my family, learning events I want to do for own professional development, and then the fun things I want to do for myself, and with my friends.

For example, late last year we booked our weeks at the lake we like to go to, for this summer – and we have a family vacation at the end of December we’re in process of booking, right now.

This sounds incredibly simple, but many of us – me included, at one time – don’t actually do this. As a result you don’t get to do the things you want to do because all the other commitments and responsibilities consume your available time.

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Many of us who are really committed to our work are successful because of that commitment. But we often hurt our own quality of life because it’s easier to say no – unless you’ve blocked and paid for your time already.

On a day to day level, this translates to pre-booking time for yourself – like your own rhythm or routine for exercise, or perhaps some other practice, like writing or meditating – that helps you to cleanse and clarify your mind.

By the way, 95% of the high-performing executives I’ve worked with have some sort of exercise routine in their life. And in every single case, when they stop following that routine, they feel the clarity of their brain start to fade, and their performance start to weaken. It’s an absolutely critical component for mental health, as well as physical health.

Coach Kevin’s Challenge

  • If you haven’t already for 2017, block out the time you want to take with your family, for your own learning, and for yourself this year.
  • If possible, book that vacation, and buy those tickets.