Today on The Peggy Smedley Show, I am sitting down with Peggy to discuss my new book, Becoming Resilient Parents, How to Thrive as a Caregiver with a Disabled Child. I have been thinking a lot about some of the principles in the book and how some might apply in construction.
The book is divided into two halves: take care of you and take care of your child. While the second half of the book is about the basics of caring for a disabled child (i.e. – IEPs, (individualized educational plan) long-term planning, etc.), the first half is all about how to care for yourself, how to nurture your personal relationships, how to continue to take care of your passion, which could include a full-time job, and how to take care of your life.
A big part of this is effective planning and time-management strategies. I share five of them in the book and will share each of them here in a short blog series.
Before we get started, I recognize different construction professionals have different levels of autonomy over their own time. An executive is likely going to have more independence to practice some of these strategies than say a tradesperson who might have a string of clients scheduled for the day. Still, a lot of these principles can be applied to both professional and personal life—especially these days as the two are seemingly more often blurring together.
First up, prioritizing and protecting your time. These two principles go together hand-in-hand. This applies to resilient parents, but also to anyone working from home. It is important in both our professional and personal lives to prioritize what is most important, especially when you have a disabled child. You have to get really clear about what matters and what doesn’t.
For some people I interviewed in the book, this meant creating work or family values to become very clear on what goals were at home and at work.
In her book, Grit, Angela Duckworth explains her goal hierarchy system, saying the more unified, aligned, and coordinated our goal hierarchies, the better. Too many people have a bunch of mid-level goals that don’t correspond to the unifying, top-level goals. Worse yet, some have a few competing goal hierarchies that aren’t in any way connected with each other.
It is the classic 5/25 rule, which is often attributed to Warren Buffet, although Buffet has since claimed isn’t one he practices. Still, it is a good exercise to help people stay focused on what matters most. Write down a list of your top 25 goals. This could apply to professional goals or personal goals too. Circle the five most important goals that truly speak to you the most. And then ignore the other 20 goals at all costs. In other words, prioritize what matters most.
Then, once you know what matter most, protect those things at all possible costs. I share the example of someone I interviewed for the book who was spending one hour every morning writing, but she often found herself scheduling her daughter’s doctor’s appointments in the morning and it would cut into her writing time. She finally decided not to do that anymore and scheduled those appointments later in the day. She “protected” that morning writing time because it was a top priority for her. The doctor’s appointments could still happen later.
In the coming weeks, we will explore the concepts of time blocking, time tracking, and planning—and the impact they have on productivity in both work and home.
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