Maximize Results with Effective Time Management

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Suppose you want to strengthen your relationship with your kids, so you decide to use one or two hours out of your day to give them the time and attention they deserve; but as you’re playing with them, your phone rings in your pocket…

Naturally, you automatically take it out to see who called or texted you. You’d probably even call or text back and before you know it, you’d have a conversation going.

By shifting your attention to your phone (or to the TV, or some similar source of daily distractions) you’re directing your attention and energy away from your kids, and you are no longer working toward the outcome you’ve set initially; one that really matters to you, which is a healthier, more loving relationship with your kids.

What if instead of checking your phone, you stayed committed to your intended outcome and gave your kids the attention they deserve? By staying focused on your target, and letting the phone wait for one or two hours –nobody is going to die, and the world is not going to end because of it- you will be more successful attaining your goal, and that speaks the most to your core values.

Aligning your actions with your core values is about having clarity on what these values are. What is it that you truly want? How can you accomplish this by using your favorite time management skills?

Whatever your goal is, you have to be clear with the outcome you are after and establish the time required to achieve it; it could be a deadline or a certain amount of time you’re taking daily what gets the job done… but either way, be realistic –not extremely shy or too eagerly optimistic- set the timing in a proportional way depending on the goal you’re setting.

 

All this takes us to our following article, which talks about clarity in your goals.

See you next week. Stay strong.

Success through Time Management

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There are many things in life that you can’t control, but the way you spend your time is not one of them.

As Gandalf said in The Lord of the Rings: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’”

The way you invest your time determines what you will achieve in life. If you work hard towards your most important goals and values, you will lead a successful and fulfilling life.

In order to make the most of your time and live the life of your dreams, you need to develop a good set of time management skills, and also change the way you think about it. You have to give up that old belief that states that time is a resource that’s out of your control. It’s true there are only 24 hours in a day, but you get to choose what to do with them, and fix your focus on what really matters.

 

What follows is the first of a series of weekly tips on how to effectively manage your time.

 

First and foremost: Align your actions with your core values

As silly as it might sound, we often need a friendly reminder that, in order to get to our destination, first we need to define where we are, and where we want to be.

If we decide to use our time to take a certain set of actions, it would really really help if such actions were in alignment with what truly matters to us –our core values- so in addition to accomplishing our goals, we get a sense of achievement and fulfillment by focusing on what would add the most value to our life.

When we focus on such an outcome, we get to develop the motivation and organization needed to meet those goals, and in the process, we become the kind of person who is worthy of that goal.

 

 

Next week we’ll talk about maximizing our results by using our time effectively.

Until then, stay strong!

Deadlines: our way to Deliverance

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It’s been said that procrastination is the silent killer –or was it hypertension? Never mind that; let’s stick to the first for now.

We all procrastinate, and in a wide variety of reasons; the most common is fear, and also simple laziness. In a way, our biology takes off the hook with laziness, simply because it urges us not to spend energy on a task that isn’t important to our survival; so we postpone, delay, avoid, excuse ourselves, etc.

 

But then, the deadline comes, and pulls us out of laziness giving us a sense of urgency… Deep inside we know that missing this deadline is bad for our survival; it can cost us our job, money, assets, our free time, friendships, relationships, etc.

This knowledge becomes fear, and this fear pushes us to do whatever it takes to finish our project, and we go crazy to make this happen.

Some time back, I heard about Parkinson ’s Law. It states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

That’s a very interesting point; because it sends you into a mild survival mode where you actually get the job done, without lazing about too much.

 

Getting used to set deadlines.

When we are faced with distant deadlines, we get a false sense of security… let’s say we have a task due in three weeks, so we’re ok to “burn daylight” watching a movie or taking a nap.

Time limitations force us to restructure work so it can fit into the schedule.
They also help us work less, or at least, spend less of our time in “work mode”.

 

What we lose ignoring deadlines

Giving ourselves something to lose is the best way to make ourselves respect a time limit. What are we missing out by lingering at the office after hours?

Think about it… if we get home early –or in time, we could enjoy a movie with our family or spouse, relax at home and cook a special meal, or give some time and attention to that side project…

But no… we’re wasting all those opportunities by doing last minute work we could have done earlier in the day.

 

Creating reasonable deadlines

Parkinson’s Law has high practical value.

It helps us cut down lost ours in which we could be doing something else, and it keeps us away from the guilt and stress that always follow wasted time.

However, when first starting to apply this rule, it’s likely to feel overzealous and set impossible deadlines in an effort to work faster. This doesn’t work. It only gives us more stress as we try to meet the time limit, thus reducing the quality of our work.

 

The point of the deadline is to cut down on stress and wasted time, not to wrestle with the clock.

If a task requires 10 hours of work, let’s have it done in 10 hours. If we can do it in 9, great; but it’s also ok if we have it in 11. That extra hour isn’t wasted time; it’s a buffer for unexpected events like an urgent request, a phone call, loss of concentration and even a moment to relax.

Deadlines can help us reduce some of the wasted time and the stress we tend to accumulate in our working days, and it can also help us do more than we thought possible.

 

So, if you’re interested in optimizing your performance, keep the following in mind:

  • Always define your work ahead, and set a deadline
  • Think about what you can lose if you miss on the deadline
  • Is your deadline realistic? If not, give it some extra thought and figure it out.

 

And remember, time limits are a tool to help you out, not something to fight against.

Stay strong!

Creating Your Action Plan for 2019

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Goals without plans are just wishes”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Another New Year is here, and everybody is making their list of goals again.

What most of them are failing to do, is an action plan for them.
Action is the fuel that powers our Life engines. Without action, we can’t be able to realize our goals; kind of being stuck in neutral…
We tend to get constantly sidetracked, unable to focus our energy and efforts on consistent action.
This is mostly all because of our poor habits, but also our inability to set goals correctly; we only get an abstract notion of what we want, but we lack the specifics and a concrete plan.

From Anthony Robbins to Napoleon Hill and Jim Rohn; all the greatest coaches always stressed the need for taking action as a fundamental part of any success in goal achievement.
A good example of how to correctly approach goal settings is that of an airplane. Think about it for a moment…
When it takes off, say, from LAX heading for Hawaii, that’s its goal, and everyone on it relies on that.

Before taking off, the pilots set a plan, direction, general speed, and altitude; but the plan isn’t specific about them, because the plane, like us, might encounter some obstacles along the way (turbulence, traffic, etc.) forcing it to make adjustments, but keeping the overall goal of making it to Hawaii.
It only takes constant tracking and evaluation to realize it.
If you’re serious about your goals, then you must create an action plan, and then constantly monitoring and adjusting your approach where required until you succeed.

In order to do so, you have to consider these 6 basic steps:

1. Visualize specific, time-based goals

This is the most important step. You need to set perfectly clear what, how much, and by when.
2. Create monthly milestones

This will give you specific monthly targets that you want to hit in order to evaluate if you’re making good progress or not.

3. Create a weekly action plan

Now that you have your monthly milestone, you may want to chunk it down into 4 weeks to help you move closer and swifter… what can you do this week to reach your monthly target?
4. Make and prioritize a daily to-do list

Chunk your plan down again into day-to-day priorities… think about all your powerful reasons to attain the goal. The more efficient you get managing your time, the more likely you’re going to be to accomplish your goals.
5. Measure, track, and adjust

You need to constantly measure and track your progress so you’d know whether you’re getting closer or further away from your target. Also, action plans should be flexible as well as massive so you can make necessary adjustments that come out of your progress evaluation.
6. Face your failure and suck it up

Let’s face it, no matter what you’re pursuing; life is going to get in the way. The only thing that sets apart successful people from the rest is their refusal to accept defeat; they simply don’t give up.
Failure is a part of life; your goal is to overcome that failure… and by doing so, you not only are going to reach your goal, but you’re going to become a bigger and better person, and that is the ultimate value of goals.
Give it a try, don’t wait until next New Year to evaluate the goals you’re setting this 2019… get serious now, and do it.
Stay strong!