I’m sure you have heard all the cliches like “Time flies. Time heals all wounds. Time waits for no man. Time is money.” Time is our travel companion in this journey called life. Our watcher, our teacher, our keeper. Even the Bible takes about time when it says, “The days are evil.” We might think of time as just minutes and hours on a clock, but time is actually a part of history, this period of eternity were we exist.
Every day, w are challenged by time and making the most of it. Especially today it seems time is moving faster, and although we have technology to help us, sometimes it feels like we have less time in our days.While time is not always our friend, there are things we can do to make it work for us. Here are a few tips on how to tame the Time Beast.
Avoid the got-a-minute. Ever been at your desk and a coworker comes over or calls you and says, “Got a minute?” I was in a place several years ago where this would happen constantly. At that time we had an “open door” policy, which allowed for anyone and everyone on occasion to come knocking. I found that, the “got a minute” turned into “got an hour”, and sometimes would eat up hours of my day. I finally had to draw the line and set some boundaries so I could get my work done. Here is a tip I learned from the late Chet Holmes: When I was working on an important project, I put a sign on my door saying, “project in process, please do not disturb until 2:00pm” or whenever I thought I might be done. This allowed people who came to my door to see that I was working on something very important, but it also set the expectation of when I would be available for them.
Time-Blocking. On the same note, block out time for the “got-a-minutes” and for all your every day duties. Phone calls, meetings, projects, social media, all these things can be blocked out into times on your calendar, you just have to have the discipline to stick to them.
Put email in its place. Okay, here’s the real killer. If you’re not one, you know someone who gets like 40,000 emails a day. If you read and responded to all of them this would be your life. Email on your computer, email on your tablet, email on your phone, now even email on your fridge. Seriously, my parents have this awesome Samsung fridge with email, twitter, and Pandora on it! Email is obviously here to stay and very useful for communication. But here’s some ways to keep it from taking over.
- If you use Outlook or a similar product, you can easily go into settings and change your email notifications to get rid of the little pop up on your screen each time an email comes through. Kill the pop up. Kill the little “ding” when email comes through. Even kill the little envelope that appears on the bottom of the screen.
- Schedule email in your calendar. Using time blocking, I respond to emails in the morning when I first get to the office, once after lunch, and then an hour before I leave the office. Getting rid of the notifications and time blocking really helps set boundaries and discipline.
- Don’t mix business with pleasure. For some, this isn’t possible as you need your email wherever you go. But for many, I would challenge you to take email off your phone. I got into a really bad habit some time ago that every time my phone rang, beeped or blooped I would jump! Grabbing the phone, I would anxiously hurry to light it up and see who it was who was texting or emailing me. Honestly, this began to cause a personal issue with my family, because getting my email for work became more important than what I was suppose to be focused on out of work. So what did I do? I unplugged. I finally got to the point where I had enough and I took the email off my phone. I was amazed how much time I had when I wasn’t grabbing the phone every 5 seconds, and have a happier family because of it! If you have the guts, I challenge you to go for it, unplug!
We have 362 days left this year. That’s 8,688 hours, or 521,280 minutes, or 31,276,800 seconds to spend. Imagine how much of that time you could save for really important things if you implemented just one of these. Imagine how much more productive you might be if you could remove some of the distractions and get more work done during the day. Imagine how your busy life might be more relaxed if you just added some boundaries. I encourage you in 2013, tame the Time Beast!
Your Attitude determines your ALTITUDE!
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