Irina Khakamada
It’s only natural that nowadays women want to build a successful career..

Irina Khakamada: manage your time, and you’ll have a thrill, drive and career

It’s only natural that nowadays women want to build a successful career, be good wives and mothers and get pleasure from life.

It’s easy to combine a career with your personal life if you stick to the following rules:

1. Live according to the rule – I can and I’ll do it.
2. Love yourself. Make yourself the centre of your own life.If you think it’s impossible, you won’t be successful.
3. Have time management tools.If you combine time management tools with your confidence in being able to do everything, you’ll succeed.

For example, you have a husband, a child, a grandmother or a nanny, you work, have a hobby, do exercise twice a week, adore cinema or theatre, love reading books. And sometimes you take care of yourself, do shopping and meet friends. How to reconcile all these things?

You draw up a weekly schedule. This schedule should include a plan of your movements in accordance with your time and location. If you plan to do exercise, find a sports club closest to your home or work.

Calculate how much time you spend commuting and try to shorten any long distances.

That’s what time-management means.

When you manage time, you take into account absolutely everything, including a time of the day, possible traffic problems and the areas you’re about to come to.

For example, if you have a meeting at the BBC’s building and after this interview, you must go to a business meeting, look for a café near BBC so that you could give the interview and then immediately make it to negotiations.

You should try to avoid situations when you give an interview on one side of the city and arrange a business meeting on the other. You won’t be able to get anywhere in time.

Determine which means of transport suits you most at the moment: underground, taxi, a car or a bus.

And plan in advance what kind of transport you will use, in order to get things done. For example, it’s silly to hang about the city centre in a car if it’s faster to use underground or take a taxi.

You should plan even the seemingly insignificant things.

Be very particular about planning not only your work responsibilities but also your family commitments and hobbies. It’s the main secret of balancing your career with a personal life. Draw plans even for when to give your child a kiss.

Plan at which hour you need to make breakfast for your child and prepare him for a kindergarten or school, have breakfast yourself, make yourself look good and go to work. Let’s say that commuting takes an hour, you work until 6, go to a sports club, and you must be at home at 9 on the dot in order to be able to tell your child a fairy tale and get him to go to sleep. And after that, you can do your thing – meet friends, go to the cinema or lie on the couch reading a book.

I’ll repeat again: make detailed plans down to the minute, including for your weekends, be it a doctor appointment, ballroom dancing or meeting with your child’s schoolteacher.

And never say: «There’s this party I dream to attend, and a business event takes place at the same time, so I’ll have to sacrifice something…».

You should combine your business duties with your entertainments. For example, when I was a minister I used to put in my diary that three times a week from four to five I’d visit a sports club. And I managed my work tasks in such a way that I could be free by half-past three and go back to work at half past five as we had irregular working hours. And I had to have lunch as early as possible so that I didn’t eat too much at the governmental dining room and didn’t have to exercise on a full stomach. You get it, right? One goes along with the other. That’s how you build a chain.

Try to combine everything!

Few people advise this, but it was a secret I followed all my life.

Go to a party a bit later. Give your talk a bit earlier. Choose one thing only when you can do nothing about it.

The desire to combine everything should be your priority.

That’s how you make your schedule. Every day as soon as you receive new information – somebody cancelled a meeting, a play turned out to be bad and you’re advised not to see it, your trainer fell ill, you urgently need to see a doctor or a business meeting has suddenly been postponed – you should immediately modify your schedule.

The guiding principle is not to give in to anything, try to combine everything, plan every task down to the minute. Use to your advantage everything you do.

You should live according to your plan all week by punctually checking your schedule and modifying it along the way.

An important meeting got cancelled? Great, I’ll use this time to have my nails done. All tickets to the exhibition got sold? Fine, you can set up a meeting with your friends.

And then you’ll be able to do things you never thought possible.

If you can’t make time for anything it means you don’t want anything.

Everything falls into place when you want EVERYTHING and you’re confident that you can do it.

No coach will help you to balance career with your personal life. He can walk the same path with you – if you want to waste your money on that, do it.

Don’t try to imitate models of behaviour provided by successful people because all people are different. For example, I never give examples of how things should be done. I tell all I know and give you the tools. It’s up to you, to your model, what you will choose to include in your particular schedule, what’s most important to you, what’s your first priority.

Don’t imitate others, take the tools you need!

Einstein and Mendeleev were both geniuses, but they lived differently. They discovered different things and had different attitudes toward everything.

People can’t get enough of lectures and workshops. I belong to a different generation, I didn’t go to conferences or lectures, I think it’s a new modern trend of a new generation, a kind of infantilism, not to search inside themselves, but always look for support. And it’s not helping. They learn all their lives, but can’t master anything.

I understand if you attend a conference on investment. It’s a very subtle, ever-changing topic, you need to study market trends, constantly be plugged in. I understand if you go to a lecture trying to gain an insight into emotional intelligence because there are too many tools, psychologists say one thing, and yogis and philosophers of religion say another.

Take your notepad and schedule your time down to the minute. All shops in London sell business diaries for good reason. Just write down your tasks and make sure that you carry them out. The main secret is to schedule your work and family duties and entertainments daily, not weekly.

Look at your life as one big adventure. Enjoy every moment!

Fill every minute of your life with useful and positive events. Use any unplanned event or even incident to your advantage.

That’s how you create magic. And you’ll have a thrill, drive and career.

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