Time management doesn’t work!

August 29, 2012

by Terry Monaghan, August 29, 2012

Have you ever wondered why time management doesn’t stick?  You know what I mean… You try this course, read that book, get this app, make lists, use the calendar (digital or paper), schedule, prioritize – and still feel frustrated, overwhelmed and have no time!

Why is that?

I have a theory. I think most books, courses and systems are working on the pieces of the puzzle. But they are only working on the 10% of that iceberg that is above the water line!

And the 90% of the issue that is below the surface is exactly why the pieces don’t seem to fit together, no matter what you do.

We have all had the experience of committing to something – scheduling the time to take care of it – and then completely ignoring our plan. We forget. We get busy with something else. Some emergency is way more pressing in the moment. Our alarm didn’t go off. We got distracted online. Our errands ran long. The phone rang. The kids got sick. We got sick. It rained. The dog ate a sock. Blah, blah, blah.

And then we feel bad. We wonder what is wrong with us that we can’t get a simple task done. We can’t follow a simple plan. We can’t stick to a schedule.

So we stop trying. We decide that ‘it just doesn’t work for us.’

What if it isn’t us? What if it isn’t even the system or structure we are using?

Clearly, there is something else at play here. Some other unexamined commitment is in control of our time and our actions. And until we distinguish what that competing commitment is, whatever we try will have limited impact.

Something to think about: You can’t manage time anyway. If you can, go ahead, manage the next minute and tell me how it goes.

So, if you can’t manage time – what can you manage?

You can manage your energy, and you can manage your actions. And that’s where the next post will start!

 

©  Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.

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101 things you can do (or stop doing) to get more time [part 4]

August 1, 2012

by Terry Monaghan, August 1, 2012

Are you ready for the next batch? Have you tried any of the first 75 tips I gave you in part 1, part 2 or part 3?

If you still don’t think it’s important to get control of your time, you might want to read The High Cost of Distraction.

Hang on to your hat… Here’s the final batch of tips (for now).

  1. Put your bills on automatic payments
  2. Exercise – regularly move your body
  3. Hire someone to do your bookkeeping
  4. Have a lawyer review your contracts
  5. Get your will done!
  6. Get your advanced medical directive done
  7. Get a durable power of attorney done
  8. Get rid of (give away / donate) what you don’t use or don’t need
  9. Send that pile of mending to the tailor
  10. Checklists are your friend
  11. Use a packing list when traveling
  12. Make up a duplicate toiletries kit, and leave it in your suitcase
  13. Take a short break every hour
  14. Focus on one thing at a time
  15. Set a timer
  16. Give up being a perfectionist
  17. De-clutter your office
  18. Don’t print that if you don’t really need a hard copy!
  19. Keep an extra printer cartridge and an extra ream of paper
  20. Build a favorite items list at your online office supply site, and use it
  21. Do your single most important task first each day
  22. Facebook will wait
  23. Voicemail is there for a reason, use it when calling out
  24. Let your incoming calls go to voicemail, too
  25. Be careful how often you play phone tag
  26. Take notes on client calls

 

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


101 things you can do (or stop doing) to give yourself more time [part one]

June 27, 2012

by Terry Monaghan on June 27, 2012

There is a lot of talk about work-life balance. How do we get the best performance and productivity out of ourselves and our teams?

Many of us are looking for those magic pills – that one perfect idea that will instantly transform our lives. Well, good luck with that.

While you are looking, here is the beginning of my list of 101 things you can do (or stop doing) to give yourself more time!

And who doesn’t want more time? After all – if you can free up even a little bit of your precious time, you might be able to use that time for something really important (to you). Here goes…

  1. Deal with your email in batches, 2-3 times a day
  2. Create a template for your week – what would a perfect week look like?
  3. Give up multi-tasking – really – it doesn’t work OR save time
  4. Schedule focused blocks of time for different activities (even just 15 minutes will make a difference)
  5. Schedule regular time to goof off, rest, relax
  6. Focus on what you do brilliantly – spend most of your time on that
  7. Find out what you can automate – and automate it
  8. Schedule all regular medical appointments at once (for the whole year)
  9. Schedule all personal care appointments at once (for the whole year) – hair, nails, massages, facials – why not make a day of it?
  10. Make a map of your whole year (once a year) – it gives a very different perspective
  11. Stop doing everyone else’s job
  12. Don’t have your email push through to your smart phone (pull it in when you want to deal with it)
  13. Turn off all noise makers and pop up alerts for email
  14. Turn off the phone when you need to concentrate
  15. Determine your work hours, and stick to them
  16. Plan your work, then work your plan
  17. Manage your interruptions, as much as possible (which is more than you think)
  18. Focus on what is important
  19. Respond, instead of reacting
  20. Don’t set alerts for everything
  21. Take regular breaks – at least one every 90 minutes or so
  22. Schedule at least one full day off every week
  23. Take your vacation
  24. Set up email rules to automatically sort incoming mail
  25. Unsubscribe from newsletters you no longer read

More in the next post…

Now, what are your favorites?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


Has your exercise equipment ever attacked you?

June 21, 2012

Lessons From A Bruised Foot

Have you ever been attacked by a piece of exercise equipment? Or is that just me?

I was setting up one of the only pieces of equipment I own (something like a dancer’s barre), when the legs dropped quicker than I anticipated and a cross brace came down HARD on the top of my foot!

It was a heavy cross brace, and it really hurt! My foot immediately began swelling – so I hobbled in to the kitchen to get ice.

While sitting there with the ice pack on my foot I began wondering what could this teach me? I have had a few days to be off my feet and think, and I have come up with the following lessons:

Pay attention to what you are doing

I know, this is a real DUH! But, I let my attention wander for a moment and got thumped immediately. How often do we con ourselves – thinking we can successfully multi-task, not noticing what is about to drop on our foot?

Sometimes low tech is the best tech

Did I really need to set up that equipment? What’s wrong with swimming or walking – where they only equipment required is my own body? How often are we wasting precious time fiddling with some piece of equipment that isn’t working properly (but isn’t really necessary to getting the job done)?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

After Googling “how to tell if you broke your foot” and reading some great info by WebMD, I decided to take myself to the emergency room for an x-ray. I asked a neighbor if she would give me a lift. She not only did that, she brought a book and read while I was being taken care of, so that I would also be able to get back home easily.

How much time do you think you waste trying to do something on your own, rather than asking for help?

Make the most of every circumstance

I had already scheduled a fair bit of focused time this week, for thinking, writing, designing. So, having to be off my feet for a few days wasn’t a huge inconvenience. Rather than moan about what I am not getting done, I have propped up my foot, and accomplished more reading, studying, planning and writing than I had originally intended.

Instead of looking at what I was not going to be able to do, I focused on what I could get done. The result? See above! Plus, a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I am ahead of schedule on some writing projects and workshop projects.

Now, what lessons might you be missing?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


How do you manage interruptions?

May 30, 2012

Have you ever noticed how many things will interrupt you throughout your day? And how often?

I have heard that we get interrupted, on average, about once every 6 to 8 minutes throughout the day. And, that it can take us 10-15 minutes (or more) to get our focus back on what we were doing before the interruption.

There is a real problem with that! The math doesn’t work! By those standards, the first interruption will derail your whole day.

What can you do about it?

Dan Kennedy says “If they can’t find you, they can’t interrupt you.” But in these days of 24/7 connectivity and accessibility, how do you make yourself un-findable?

Here are some things you might want to consider:

Turn off your email

Really, shut it off. Not for the whole day (I can hear you hyperventilating), but consider turning it off while you are focusing on that report you need to write, or that project you need to give your attention.

Let your calls go to voicemail

Maybe I am odd. But, I really have no trouble turning off my phone when I am in a meeting, or when I am working on something that requires my undivided attention. The world will not end if I don’t answer my phone for an hour!

Work somewhere else

Book a conference room, and close the door. Go to a coffee shop, or the library, or the park. Take yourself away from your own environment – co-workers won’t be able to stick their heads into your office/cubicle, and all the things that are distracting in your own office are not where you are.

Have a specific place for your work

If you work from home, have a specific place in your home to do your work. This really helps me. It is too easy to goof off if I am working on my living room couch instead of in my office. Everything in my office is about work. Everything in the rest of my home is about relaxation or play. If you don’t have a separate room, at least have a work area you don’t use for anything else.

Give yourself a break

Don’t try to focus for more than about 90 minutes at a time (at the most). Give yourself frequent breaks. This is a great way to deal with bright shiney object syndrome. I can focus on anything for a while, knowing that I will be able to take a break and distract myself in a little while.

These are just some of the techniques that will support you in managing the inevitable interruptions. Because they aren’t going to go away.

Now, which one are you going to try?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


There’s gold in those notes!

May 9, 2012

Recently, I was at a weekend business conference. I sat in all the sessions, went to smaller breakout sessions, had loads of conversations and took pages and pages of notes – jotting down action items, thoughts that came up while I was in sessions, notes on things that made me think, and great ideas I heard or came up with.

Now am I back at my desk, with my notebook beside me, reviewing the notes I took.

It occurs to me that the way I deal with the notes I take has changed radically over the years.

Back when I was in school, I would take notes, review them, highlight them, study them. And then, when the class was over – I would forget about them.

I kept the habit of taking notes over the years, but somewhere along the line lost the habit of reviewing them. I’d almost never go back and review notes, and as a result, I know I missed some great opportunities.

Finally, as I began to build my business, I realized that taking notes and then forgetting them wasn’t serving me well. There were great ideas in there! There were potential clients and opportunities in there. There were notes about people I wanted to follow up with. There were all kinds of actions to take, and I wasn’t taking any of them.

So, I took a really hard look at what I was doing. And, I figured out a way to make it work for myself.

Now, when I go to a class, a meeting, or a conference – I take the notes I need to take to jog my memory. I capture my ideas. I write down those actions I want to take. I write down what I told someone I would do (and the date I told them I would do it).

And, after every conference or meeting – I have time scheduled in my day to review those notes. During the review, I move all the action items into my calendar. I don’t just put them on a list – I look at when, exactly, I will be doing that action (making that phone call, researching that topic, reviewing that material, etc.)

That one change has made a huge difference in my business! Now, I don’t worry that too much time has gone by, and I have missed an opportunity.

Because I know what I am going to do next…

Now, what gems are you missing because you haven’t looked at your notes?

(c) Terry Monaghan, 2012, All Rights Reserved

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


6 reasons your email is driving you crazy…

August 21, 2011

Why is email so crazy? And what can we do?
Have you ever wondered why it feels like email is running your life, interrupting everything you do, and ruining your day?

Well, here are six reasons your email is driving you crazy:

  • You deal with people who think email is the same as instant messaging. You know the type – they send an email, and then send four additional emails in a hour wondering why you haven’t responded to the first one.
  • You deal with people who don’t know the difference between hitting reply and hitting reply all. So you get everyone’s responses to someone else’s question.
  • You have your computer or phone set to allow email to push through to you on a regular basis. So you are interrupted by every popup, beep, buzz signaling an incoming message.
  • You have 15,000 emails in your inbox and 5000 are marked unread. And you really think you are going to do something with them!
  • You subscribe to various newsletters or industry reports, which you really want to read, but you don’t have a sorting rule to divert them into their own folder. So, they are cluttering up your inbox, mixed in with action items and all the other messages.
  • You are unwilling to delete messages once you are done with them, because you might need to refer back to them later.

All of this adds up to an overwhelming amount of email – 80% of which is not important to your daily work (really). I read recently that the average business person is receiving the equivalent of a 250 page book in email every single day. Yikes!

But it is not hopeless. This is something you actually can control!

All you need is a simple process for your email, and then, of course – you need to follow it…

(c) 2011, Terry Monaghan

Want to use this article in your ezine or website? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, an ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at http://www.TimeTriage.com.


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