Control Your Life, Don't Let Others Dictate It with Elizabeth Saunders
Mar 18, 2021
We all get the same number of hours in a day. How is it possible that some people can be completely productive and have all the time they need in a day, while other people never seem to have enough? How do you even begin to manage time?
Joining us in this week’s episode is Elizabeth Saunders, one of the world’s top time management professionals for the past three consecutive years. She’s here to talk about what makes these people different and how to become like them. She shares strategies we can adopt to fully make use of our time and be productive with it. Elizabeth also identifies the usual bad habits people have and how to break them.
If you want to know more about how to manage time and be clear on your priorities, tune in to this episode!
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Learn various tricks and techniques to manage time.
- Discover the bad habits and pitfalls that get in the way of effective time management.
- Find out how you can set clear boundaries and priorities and follow through with them.
How Elizabeth Became a Time Management Coach
- Elizabeth started her first business in 2005, writing, editing, and doing photo styling for about 50 magazines around the country.
- Elizabeth realized she had no work-life balance since she always worked during nights and weekends and felt guilty whenever she took time off.
- That’s when she started to set boundaries and priorities, and her entrepreneur friends encouraged her to help other people do the same.
- In her terms, being a time management coach means she is committed to helping people accomplish lasting behavioral change.
- It is not a “one and done” thing; it is a lifestyle change. You have to learn how to get back on track as quickly as possible, even when difficult things happen or when you feel discouraged and fall back.
Elizabeth: “After a few years of this, I was like, enough is enough. I don’t care if I seem successful. If I can never stop working without feeling guilty, I don’t feel successful.”
Why People Struggle with Time
- The first reason is that it depends on your natural brain dominance in different quadrants of the brain.
- Some people are born with a stronger capacity to manage time.
- The second reason is that it depends on what kind of skills you were taught.
- An example is if you happened to grow up in an environment where someone taught you those skills.
- Even if they were not born with it, people could learn how to manage time.
Elizabeth: “What I find is that I work with people of all different ages everywhere, from just starting in their career to people that are retired. And some people have never had someone patient enough to really walk through the process with them.”
The Behavior We Should Be Adopting
Elizabeth: "You really need to build some new habits and a different direction to make things work. I'm not saying that every part of your life has to be regimented, but you do have to pick up certain skills in order to be successful."
- Don’t try to change your behavior, but instead adapt to better strategies.
- If you are naturally an early bird or a night owl, it is best to work with that. Work within your tendency.
- Some people love using digital things like calendars and do lists on their computers, while others do best with paper.
- When it comes to the point where you can’t work with your natural tendencies, you will need to build some new habits and go differently to make things work.
How People Who Use Their Time Effectively Are Different
- The first difference between people who are using their time effectively versus people who are not is radical prioritization.
- The people who get things done ignore so many things. They say no to meetings and initiatives, and some do not even read or respond to their emails.
- They know the most important things to them, what they want to do, and ignore anything outside their priorities.
- Ask yourself if doing something will be in your best interest. Will doing this do something for you or your firm?
Elizabeth: “At a certain point, you have to know what is benefitting you and what is not. And when choosing to do something that’s not in your own best interest, you have to be really clear that you’re doing that not because you have to, but because you want to for a particular reason.”
Identifying Bad Habits and Getting Out of Them
- When you're starting in your career, you need to be responsive to emails, but you can afford to be less responsive as you progress.
- When people get to a certain level in their career, they know that some will follow up or find another way if something is important.
- For Elizabeth, she does not respond to people immediately unless it is something urgent.
- Another important thing to manage time is to plan.
- If you jump into the day, you don’t know what you’re going to focus on, and you don’t know how much time you have to allocate to your priorities. You’re going to wander and spend more time on unimportant things.
Elizabeth: “The kind of clients you want to work with are the ones that will respect your boundaries. So the people that won’t respect them, you didn’t want to work with them anyway.”
How to Be Clear on Your Priorities
- Start by asking yourself what the one thing that is most going to benefit your life, or your business is.
- Remind yourself regularly to clarify your priorities to manage time.
- What Elizabeth focuses on is having small incremental changes because that is what makes it sustainable.
- Gradually, as you try out different strategies, you can get more comfortable and make them stick.
Biggest Pitfalls to Looks Out For
- The biggest pitfall is discouragement. You need to learn resilience.
- Let go of self-criticism, practice self-compassion, and learn to try again.
- It’s a gradual process where you advance and regress.
- You get there as long as you continue to be encouraged.
- Having that real self-compassion and the ability to keep trying is what makes the difference in seeing change.
Elizabeth: “One of the biggest things that people need to learn is that it’s okay; you don’t have to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. You just pick yourself up, you start again from where you’re at, and you keep going.”
Elizabeth’s View on Boundaries
- Be clear about your priorities and assert them. You can create some boundaries by letting people know upfront when you will or will not communicate.
- A lot of it is around communicating what does or doesn’t work, figuring out what works for you, and then implementing that.
- A good indicator to check if something is within your priorities is whether or not you feel resentment.
- Be very clear on what you’re okay with and not okay with putting these boundaries in place.
- It’s okay to have different priorities from other people.
Moshe: “I think it’s important for us not to do things based on our fear of what might happen based on our actions. You just have to be comfortable with your position and stick to it.”
Elizabeth: “Live by your personal definition of success…Decide what success means to you, and then align your time with that.”
Elizabeth Grace Saunders graduated summa cum laude from Drake University. She worked for Meredith Corporation, the publisher of magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies Home Journal, VNU Business Media, and Abbott Laboratories, before founding her own business in 2005.
Now internationally recognized as an expert in effective time management, Elizabeth is a time management coach, author, and frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and Fast Company.
She has appeared on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox. Global Gurus named her one of the World's Top 30 Time Management Professionals for 2018, 2019, and 2020. She partners with clients worldwide to accomplish more with peace and confidence. Elizabeth is also the founder and CEO of coaching company Real Life E. They teach people how to manage time and empower individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed, and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident, and accomplished.
To learn more about Elizabeth and connect with her, you may visit her website.
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