Take Back Your Time
"You will never find time for anything. You must make it."-Charles Buxton
According to the organizers of Take Back Your Time Day, which was held on October 15, if Americans quit working on that date and didn't work for the rest of the year, we would be working the same number of hours as the average European. Even with high unemployment, America has experienced near-record mandatory overtime.
The October 11, 2004 issue of Time magazine reports that on a typical day office workers are interrupted about seven times an hour -- 56 interruptions a day -- 80% of which are considered trivial. "We pride ourselves on being multi-taskers, but the truth is, we're functioning at a state of partial attention," says John White, international program director with Priority Management, a training company based in Vancouver, Canada. "Because of constant interruptions, our memory, follow-up ability, flexibility and quality of work start to erode."
So how do we learn to slow down and enjoy our lives?
Managing our time is about clarifying priorities and being masterful at taking action on our intentions, rather than becoming a slave to the constant flow of events and demands on our time. When we operate in auto-pilot, we take action without thinking, which almost never yields the results we want.
Time management is not just a tool like a calendar or a Palm Pilot. It is a foundational skill upon which everything else in life depends.
Seven tips to help you manage your time:
1. Prioritize your week. Organizing your time without first clarifying your priorities is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Ask yourself this question: If nothing else happens this week, what are the most important activities or relationships I choose to pay attention to? Without making plans to focus on these priorities, you will most likely not get to them?especially if they are not urgent. Planning goes far beyond just making lists. A plan is when you have carved out specific time in your calendar (an appointment with yourself) to do something. Need help getting started with weekly planning? Visit our planning tip sheet at: http://www.orgcoach.net/sixsteps.html or participate in one of our teleclasses: http://www.orgcoach.net/teleclasses.html
2. Learn when to say NO. As Stephen Covey says, "It's easy to say 'No!' when there's a deeper 'Yes!' burning inside." When we operate from a big-picture view of our priorities, it becomes much easier to decide what to say YES to and what to say NO to. Remember this truth: Every time you say yes to someone or something, you are saying no to someone or something else.
A good way to learn what to say NO to is to check your self-talk. Are you saying "I should?" "I gotta?" "I have to?" or are you saying "I choose to?"? Be at choice! Then write your not to do list and stick to it!
3. Limit your time for activities that consume you. For example, if you find that you are overwhelmed by e-mail, limit how many times a day you check it and how much time you'll spend to read and respond. When I came back from vacation to more than 1000 emails, I was amazed at how unimportant some messages became! Limiting your time can help you to prioritize.
4. De-clutter your life. My definition of clutter: Anything you own, possess, or do that does not enhance your life on a regular basis. By this definition, clutter can be things in your physical environment. Clutter can also be activities, thoughts, and even relationships that don't enhance your life. Once you clean up the non-physical clutter in your life, you'll be able to make better decisions about what to keep and what to remove from your space.
As you de-clutter your environment, you can save a lot of money on your tax returns by donating items to charity. ItsDeductible is a tool that I have used for years to help me value what I donate. Although it guarantees that you will save at least $300 on your taxes, it has actually saved me thousands of dollars on my taxes each year. Visit http://www.orgcoach.net/products/taxtools.html for more information.
Take our free Professional/Business Organizational Assessment or our Personal Organizational Assessment to help you sort out what areas need the most attention.
5. Schedule protected time. In your calendar, block out time to work on projects that require concentration without interruptions. Then identify what boundaries you need to have in place so you can keep this time sacred. Here are some ideas:
* Put a "do not disturb" sign on your door or cubicle. At Quarasan (an educational-product developer in Chicago), workers take "focus blocks" of up to three hours when they absolutely cannot be interrupted. In any given week, about 25% of the staff use this technique. Signs hang on cubicles, chairs or doors, that say something like this: I AM FEELING TOTALLY FOCUSED RIGHT NOW. PLEASE RESPECT THIS PROCESS.
* Have a conversation with co-workers about needing uninterrupted time to work on your project. At Pitt Ohio Express (a trucking company based in Pittsburgh, PA), claims auditors take turns wearing a special black baseball cap to signal that they are absorbed in a project. Employees at Basex (an information-technology research firm in New York City), use instant messaging. A simple switch to DO NOT DISTURB status signals that coworkers should not call, email or stop by to chat.
* Turn off the ringer on your phone and let voice mail pick up your calls for a while.
* Avoid checking e-mail until you're done with your project time for the day.
* Have a pen and pad of paper handy to write down the things that pop into your head that you "gotta do" so you don't forget and can get back to them later. Schedule a little time after your protected time for following up with your "gotta do" list.
6. Reduce stress. Incorporate these into your daily habit: exercise, play, meditation, relaxation or quiet time to still the mind, healthy diet, enough sleep.
7. Separate work from your personal life. If you are regularly taking work home or working overtime, develop skills to negotiate with your boss (even if that's you!) about when, where, and how results are produced. Manage by results, not by how many hours you are working. Take our free Work/Life Balance Assessment at http://www.orgcoach.net/_assessment/worklifebalance.html to determine how you are doing with this.
Visit our resource page (http://www.orgcoach.net/onlineshopping.html#prod) for more ideas about increasing productivity.
Copyright 2005 Kathy Paauw
Wouldn't you love to stumble upon a secret library of ideas to help you de-clutter your life so you can focus on what's most important? Kathy Paauw offers simple, yet powerful ideas, on how to manage your time, space, and thoughts for a more productive and fulfilling life. Visit http://www.orgcoach.net
Time Management - Honor Your Time and Energy
Your time and energy are the two most precious gifts that you have. Evaluate each month where you are placing your time and energy. Here are some ways that I have used to help me honor where I place my time and energy:
Procrastination. Id love to but...
When a good friend asked me to contribute a little something for her newsletter it seemed like a great idea. When I cleared the decks and sat down to write it seemed a great time to color-code my closet or whip up a crab casserole. As an enthusiastic writer, who has nevertheless had writing blocks which have lasted longer than some World Wars, this business of avoiding doing something that I really want to do has always mystified me.
Time Management: A Non-Renewable Resource
Benjamin Franklin wrote: "If you want to enjoy one of the greatest luxuries in life, the luxury of having enough time, time to rest, time to think things through, time to get things done and know you have done them to the best of your ability, remember, there is only one way. Take enough time to think and plan things in the order of their importance. Your life will take on a new zest, you will add years to your life, and more life to your years. Let all your things have their place." When you read Franklin's words, what do they mean to you? Do you have enough time to balance your personal needs with your commitment to the outside world? Is stress causing havoc in your life? What exactly does it mean to have your life in balance and how do you achieve it?
Painful Cost of Working Yourself to Death
We all know the harmful effects of overwork. People get tired and irritable. Without enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done -- much less the things we want to do -- life is stressful and unpleasant. Exhaustion and stress can and do lead to illness and lowered resistance to disease. People feel cheated and abused, and they get angry. All too often, the anger is expressed in an aggressive, violent or self-destructive way.
Do You Put a Value on Your Time?
As a small business owner, does the following paragraph sound familiar to you??
Time Invested Wisely = Your Dreams
This past Friday I was asked to speak with a person, who just signed into a home-based networking business -- which I know is one of the most effective entrepreneurial methods for an average person to achieve true financial success. My entire conversation/coaching session with this individual was based on the simple theme of working your plan and committing long-term with no thought of ever quitting until the achievement of your ultimate outcome.
The 3 Biggest Priority Busters
As a professional organizer, consultant and trainer, I have come to recognize that unless there is a focused effort to keep vigilance over priority busters, our best time management efforts will go unrealized. Our day-to-day lives demand more to resolving this than just practicing better time management principles.
Just Remind Yourself
This is one more article on "Organizing and Enjoying Your Life". Much has already been written about this in magazines, books and on Internet. In this article, I am summing up the important points; some of which are from my practical experiences and remaining I have read.
Measure Your Time Against Active Inactivity
We don't realize many things we do until we draw our attention to them.
Shifting Priorities Are The Norm
Years ago when I started in this business, it seemed many clients had difficulty identifying their priorities. This isn't as true today as it was then. Unfortunately, now what I hear clients say is?'I can identify my priorities with no problem, but I can't get to them. At the end of the day I look up and realize I never got to the one thing I needed to do.' We are all busier today than ever before. A certain amount of chaos in our lives has become acceptable. But it has also cost us focus. Here are a few suggestions on identifying and working on getting to your priorities:
The Myth of What We Manage
Perhaps it is merely semantics, but an underlying problem I find that people have as it relates to the success in their life lies in a proper understanding of what exactly it is that we manage. Think about it. We have time management (In fact I have a seminar on this very topic, some of which is excerpted below), and financial management, and relational management, weight management, career management, and many, many more.
Time and Life, Bit by Bit
Looking out through my picture window during a recent winter storm, I felt like I was in a giant snow globe. Big, fluffy snowflakes were falling, covering everything with a nice wintry blanket. Ah, how nice. I love snow... all two feet of it in my driveway!!
Creating A Not-To-Do List
When I sit down with a client to work on prioritizing and delegating, the biggest challenge we face is deciding what kinds of activities and responsibilities to give up. Quite often, we get so entrenched in what we think we SHOULD be doing, that we forget to pay attention to what we ENJOY doing. So when it comes time to let go of the boring, tedious, and time-consuming tasks that eat up our day, we have a struggle trying to identify them.
Whats Keeping You At The Office (9 Tips To Get Home Quicker)
"Work smarter, not harder" is a cliché that has darted in and out of the workplace for years. But it's still as true as ever. And it's often overlooked advice that truly works. "Working smarter" means think strategically about how to improve your productivity. For starters, think about how you spend a typical day. Then eliminate the time robbers. How? Like this...
Have You Got a Minute?
Such an innocuous little phrase, yet when you are hard at work, really focused and engrossed in what you are doing this seemingly harmless request can be a nightmare distraction.
Career Redesign Tools For Work-Life Balance
Partnering with the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Wharton School, Thirdpath Institute, a non-profit whose mission is "To assist individuals and families in finding new ways to redesign work to create time for family, community and other life priorities," held a 2-day conference in May, 2004 for lawyers, entitled "Having a Life: Creating Work-Life Balance in the Law." I was part of a small team of career and work-life professionals who facilitated small group breakout sessions that were held throughout the conference.
10 Time-Saving Calendar & Scheduling Tips
Nowhere is the line drawn more clearly between 'Industrial brains' and 'Electronic brains' than when it comes to the way people prefer to keep and use their calendars. These scheduling tips will really make your calendar talk to you, whether you use a packaged set, print out a computer calendar because you like the paper 'view' for better planning, or you synchronize your Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with your laptop and office computer and it never hits paper.
5 Time Savers You (Probably) Havent Tried Yet
1. Do tasks less frequently
Procrastination: Why We Do It and How to Change
PROCRASTINATION: You've known about it since high school or college, when everybody boasted about it. Everyone put off papers for a basketball game or a night on the town. It was OK-you only go through college once, right? You left college, but did you leave procrastination? You are now accountable for procedures and personnel responsibilities more complicated and more consequential than any you shouldered in college. Have your habits and attitudes evolved to handle them?
Procrastination, the habit of putting tasks off to the last possible minute, can be a major problem in both your career and your personal life. Missed opportunities, frenzied work hours, stress, overwhelm, resentment, and guilt are just some of the symptoms. This article will explore the root causes of procrastination and give you several practical tools to overcome it.
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|