Would You Like to Have More Time?"
by Mary Jo Wehniainen OK, you’re right. We all know there are only twenty-four hours in the day, no matter what we do. We can’t create any more. What we can do, however, is make some minor changes in how we spend our twenty-four hours so it really "feels" like we have more time! It’s really about making the choice to take control of your time, rather than have it control you. In order to do this, you need to be very clear about where you’re headed…..your goals, your future, your ideal life. Once you’ve decided what’s important to you, the rest is pretty easy. Here are some simple steps you can take which will help you feel less stressed, more decisive, and "in control" more than ever before.
1. Choose the one or two areas you’re going to focus on during this time in your life. For example, if
you have a family and you’re the primary caregiver, this will probably be one. If you also have a business that you’re happy about, that ’s probably the second. You can’t take on any more major projects at this time (unless of course they will directly affect and benefit one of your main areas of focus). Some people may even narrow it down to one major focus for a specific period of time, so they can reach their goals faster. Base all your future decisions and commitments on whether or not it supports one of these two main areas. Figure out what your high priority items are and spend your time on those. 20% of what we spend our time doing makes up 80% of the results. In other words, about 80% of what we do really doesn’t matter! What are your 20% items? Is it bringing in new customers, making presentations, a new marketing campaign, or spending quality time with your children? Make sure you’re spending your time on your 20% items and not on busy work or someone else’s agenda. Have a major "theme" for each day. Ask yourself "what’s important about today?" It might be "catching up", "Joey’s birthday", "business plan", "handle finances", "fun with kids", "monthly report", etc. Although you will definitely get other things accomplished as well, deciding on a major theme for each day will help keep you focused and moving quickly toward your chosen destination. Spend at least ten minutes a day doing nothing. This may sound impossible when you already feel that there’s not enough time, but it’s amazing what happens when you take the time to sit and do nothing on a regular basis. You may even want to close your eyes and take a short "power nap"! When you’re constantly busy, you won’t get the creative ideas on how to do things better, the solutions to situations you’ve been dealing with, and you may even miss some big opportunities that went right by you, but you were too busy to see! Look at the things you’ve been procrastinating on in your life and figure out why. Procrastination is not as bad as you think. In fact, most times procrastination is actually a "red flag" directing you to take a look at something. The thing you’ve been procrastinating on may be something you don’t even want to do, but someone else made you feel like you "should". If so, get it off your plate! It could be that you’re procrastinating because you don’t have the information or expertise to do the job at hand. Instead of getting down on yourself, get the answers you need. It might be that you just don’t have the "right" solution or feel uncomfortable with the current options and need some time to mull it over. If so, go do something totally different and get your mind off it for a while. The perfect solution will come to you. Another possibility is that the job itself seems too overwhelming and you don’t even know where to start. In this case, give yourself permission to break it down into tiny pieces and tackle one at a time. Before you know it you’ll be done! Begin saying no to anything that is not in your best interest, and in line with your one or two main focuses. This can be one of the most empowering things you ever do. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but once you start saying "no", you’ll feel more in control of your life than ever before. Also, don’t feel you need to offer any lengthy explanations. Saying "no", "no thanks", or "not this time" is good enough. Remember, if you want to have a stress-free life, you need to be in control of what you do and you can’t say "yes" to things that are not in your best interest. Spend most of your time on what you’re good at doing. When you hate doing something or find a particular job or task extremely difficult, you’re "going against the flow" and are seriously depleting your energy. Don’t give strength to your weaknesses! You shouldn’t feel guilty because you’re not the expert at everything! Let the real expert do it and you be the expert at what you love to do! When
you spend your time doing what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing, your energy level will stay high and life in general will take on a much better feel. Under-promise and over-deliver. Remember that project you said you’d have completed in a week that’s hanging over your head? You probably set yourself up for that deadline. I suggest estimating that the time it takes to complete every job, task or deadline be doubled or tripled. If you get it done sooner, great – you look GOOD! On the other hand, if you over-promised and don’t get it done on time, you feel like you’re a failure. Plus, you’ve put pressure on yourself that has robbed some of your energy ever since you made the commitment. Do one thing at a time. If you’re like 90% of the population, you’re probably in the habit of doing many things at once because you think you’re saving time. What actually happens is that nothing gets your full attention, there’s greater potential for error, and you probably spend more time in the long run because you weren’t totally focused on what you were doing. When you do two or more things simultaneously, something will suffer. For example, you’re on the phone with a prospective client and paying your bills at the same time. You’re not as attentive as you could be with the prospect and lose the sale. You also make an error in bookkeeping so you need to go back and check your work. Before you start anything, clear a space so only the job at hand is in front of you. It’s amazing how much more focused you’ll be. Arrive ten minutes early for every appointment, event, etc. Write the time you need to leave on your calendar or day planner, rather than the time of the event. Make sure you add the extra 10-15 minutes so you arrive early. When you get there you’ll be relaxed, peaceful, have your thoughts together …… and you’ll feel like you have more time! After all, isn’t that the goal?
When you put these simple steps into action, you will begin to feel like you have more time. Your schedule will include only things that YOU want to do, rather than a lot of obligations you agreed to because you felt you "should". Saying no will be much easier because you’ve made a decision about what you want your life to be like. In essence, you WILL have more time --time for things that are important to YOU!
"WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE MORE TIME?" All Rights Reserved © Copyright 2000