Posts belonging to Category Time Management Tips

How Much of Free Costs You Time?

How much of free costs you time? 

You’d be amazed!  Or maybe not –

Take the internet for instance – tons of free information online – millions and millions of pieces of information – how much is valuable?  To whom?  For what purpose?  At what cost in time?

Some is very useful but we need to wade through a ton of words before the “nuggets” appear – it’s like panning for gold.  Some information  is exactly what we need, and we feel very lucky when we find it – it’s like winning a  lottery.  And some is simply not worth the time and effort to get to the site where the page sits – for one point – good or bad – 10 pages are written where one paragraph would have sufficed!  We know where it comes from – at university, we’re taught to write a lot of pages where a few would suffice.  When that’s translated into real life, we end up having to spend a lot of time writing about little and reading a lot about little.

It’s free though!   

Imagine the cost in time – the cost of a non-renewable resource!

Some people say: pay for it.  That doesn’t solve the problem either.  You’ll find that everywhere you look whether on the internet or not, a person can pay a lot of money for garbage too and, often, the money is not returned.  They say they will give you your money back but you actually ask for the money, they have all kinds of “fine print” excuses or they just ignore you.  In this case, it costs the time to make the money PLUS the time to wade through this material PLUS the lost opportunity costs PLUS the money!  Big, big price to pay for paying!

Is there a solution?  Only partial solutions but no ideal solution – at least, I haven’t found any – it’s like dating – a person has to date a lot of people before finding the “right one”.  Here are some possible alternatives:

  • One, is to ask others.  Sometimes other people do know where to find quality information, however, “quality” can be subjective – what one person is seeking is not necessarily what the other person is looking for and, thus, the term “quality” is different to each person.  It’s worth a try because all you have to do is ask and have a look.
  • Another is to look towards publications which are respected for content.  Some of these publications, at one time, did have very good researchers and writers, but, I’m sure many of you have noticed how little substance is contained in many articles today even in what used to be highly respected publications.  There are still some, however, which have maintained high standards for content, facts, and well supported arguments and opinions.  One good publication in a particular field can lead to many other good resources.
  • A third is to take the time to research multitude numbers of sites.  Search until you find two or three good quality sources of information and then follow links referenced by those sources.  Of course, this is the most time consuming way to go about finding just what you’re looking for.

Of these three, the second one works the best because, often, quality begets quality.   Thus, you save a lot of time by not having to wade through a multitude of sites and pages.  There are usually links to other good material.   The references may provide a different slant and additional data or resources.

And, next time, you see “free” on anything, read just a few opening paragraphs – you’ll eventually learn to recognize quite quickly whether the information is substantive or not – experience is an excellent teacher!  You’ll eventually be quite amazed how awareness of your time translates into positive, time saving discernment.

And ask yourself:  How much of free is costing me time?  Am I willing to pay that price?



Lorraine Arams

If Today is Your Birthday – Take the Time to Do This

birthday todayIf today is your birthday, take the time to do this.

Take the time to enjoy your day.  Book off work.  Take a vacation day.

Do whatever you want – no plans, no schedule – just do whatever it is you want.

Since it’s the beginning of your new year, pick three things you want to accomplish this year and have the fun of planning it out – envison your birthday next year and the joy of having accomplished these 3 things.

Take the time to be grateful for being alive to enjoy your day!

Take the time to be grateful for all you have.

Take the time to be with you – to enjoy yourself by yourselfto reflect how lucky you really are despite the woes you may be experiencing in your life!

Take the time just to be.

One day a year – it’s your birth day – it’ll never come back this particular birthday – it has a number on it and it’s the only time your birthday age will be that number again – quite significant, isn’t it? Isn’t it worth taking the day off from routine to enjoy your special day?  The world will wait – it’ll all be there when you get back to it tomorrow.

In the meantime, you’ll feel fantastic for having honored yourself this day and the life you’ve been givenThink about it – have you ever done it?  So few people do yet it’s the most loving thing you can do for yourself.  Are you important enough to yourself to take the day off work, to tell your family and friends you’ll be doing only what you want to do this whole 24-hour period and to enjoy being with yourself?

It’s your birthday – Happy Birthday!

Lorraine Arams

Save Time with Appointment – Do This One Little Thing!

Save Time – do this one little thing – Confirm! 

So many people get caught wasting a lot of time because they don’t take the time to confirm appointments.  You’d think that with cell phones and email accessibility people would automatically think to “call ahead”.

However, most people don’t.  They show up for an appointment only to be told the person is not in or they’ve forgotten or they don’t have the time or a host of other reasons.

This is a good policy to adopt:  in the morning, first thing, look at your appointments.  Call them all.  Why not email?  You can but what if someone’s email server is down that morning or that afternoon – what then? Or let’s say they’re out of the office or in an important meeting where they don’t have the option of looking at their Blackberry.  Calling is the best policy.  The message: 

“Hello, (their name).  This is (your name).  We have an appointment today at 10:30 to discuss (what is to be talked about).  I’m calling to confirm our appointment.  If we are still getting together today, you don’t need to return my call.  If you can’t make it, please do call me at (your number) to reschedule.  See you soon.  (repeat your number and your name)”

And call even if the person you are meeting with is in your company if your offices are far apart.

You’ll be glad you did!  You’ll save yourself a lot of time by doing this one little thing!

Lorraine Arams

Wasting Time – What Can You Do About It?

Wasting time – What can you do about it? 

Like this wreck, a whole day can go by and you feel you’ve accomplished nothing.  It happened many times during my journey learning about creating an online business.  Sometimes it felt as though there was a conspiracy against moving forward.  And so it is in many, many things we do. 

Often, while going through university courses, you wander for hours through books and papers researching for the next paper.  You wonder “what’s this all for?  Why am I using all this time to write one paper?”  At work, your computer is not working and a couple of hours go by before the technies can fix it.  In the meantime, 2 hours are gone waiting.  At home, someone calls with a problem.  An hour and a half later, you’re hanging up the phone.  You couldn’t just hang up or say goodbye – they needed your help after all.

What can you do about it? 

In some cases, there is not much – you need to research and hand in that paper or you won’t get your mark.  Computers are important and sometimes things go wrong.  You like your friends and family and you want to help them whenever they ask for that help.  What can you do?

Actually, there is always something you can do to save yourself some time

a)  ask experts for the most efficient way to do something.  In the case of writing a paper, ask a few of the professors how to research efficiently and how to write a paper which will cost you the least in time and yet get what you need to complete your degree.  Or you could ask graduate students how they’ve perfected research and paper writing.  This way, you’ll probably save a lot of time.  I did.  A professor gave me some very direct help and a couple of very small books on how to research and write papers well – it saved me countless number of hours compared to my previous attempts.

b)  ask if your presence is actually required to solve a problem and how long it will take to get a resolution.  Sometimes, we feel as though we “need to stick around”, when in actual fact, the people working on your problem, say, with your computer, don’t really need you and, likely, would prefer not being interrupted with questions or have someone look over their shoulder.  Go do some other work perhaps on another available computer or meet with your colleague if they are available to discuss your project.  There are a number of things you can do to utilize your time well when your equipment fails. 

c)  ask a lot of questions and, if the conversation is taking more time than you have available, ask if you can continue a discussion at some other point.  During the conversation, ask a lot of questions – who, what, where, when, how, why, etc. – you’d be amazed how asking questions can clarify a situation for someone.  Or, when they call,  let them know it’s not a good time and ask if you could set a time the next day to talk about it. Or,   after about an hour, it’s time to move on – set an appointment if necessary the next day or whenever you have the time.  Stay in control of your time.

So when you feel that something could possibly waste your time,  stay control and ask yourself what you could do to save yourself some time.  Be polite and considerate of others but make sure you stay on track.

Lorraine Arams

How Can You Save Time In Conflict Resolution?

How can you save time when dealing with conflict resolution? 

By addressing any hint of conflict immediately.  Right now. 

If you don’t, it will grow.  There is no doubt whatsoever about it! 

Conflict doesn’t go away – it just festers!  It may seem like the waters are calm, but in actual fact, the undercurrents are destructive.  And it doesn’t matter whether the conflict is in volunteer organizations you belong to, at work or in your personal relationships.

In Organizations – Recently, I experienced a conflict situation with someone.  She “ambushed” me at a meeting of a volunteer organization because she didn’t like some of the things I had said to her of late.  I was quite steamed of course because I could see how she had used “backroom tactics” to put me on the spot and, of course, disappointed because I thought our relationship was more positive; certainly I didn’t expect this kind of behavior.  She had “prepared” her compatriots for the “attack”.  Well, the attack backfired on her and “her people” didn’t support her.  Did I want a repeat of this behavior on her part?  No, of course not.

She was going away so I sent her an email indicating that I wanted a telephone conversation to clear the air upon her return.  I told her what I was upset about.  Her response?  To send my emails, without my permission, to everyone in the group which, of course, is not good for the group dynamics.   This is the kind of person is highly destructive no matter where she operates.  Her style is “my way or the highway” and, if you don’t agree with her, she’ll “get you”.  How?  Through the “gang up” method –  the schoolyard bully syndrome.  Will this conflict ever be resolved?  I don’t know. 

This is an example where I have a choice – is resolving this conflict worth it?    

At Work – Often, people don’t have a choice – they have to go to the office every day of the week and face someone which whom they are having a conflict.  In the office, as a manager, I learned through experience that it was my job to deal with conflict – any conflict – whether it was between employee in my department, between an employee and myself, or between a peer and myself or even conflict between my boss and I.  Most managers don’t want to deal with conflict and do everything in their power to avoid addressing it. 

If a manager sees or experiences conflict, then deal with it immediately – now – don’t wait one more second.  Set up a meeting and get through it.  Is it  stressful?  Absolutely!  That’s why most people avoid dealing with conflict because it is so emotional and so stressful that avoidance seems to be the answer.  Notice I said, “seems to be the answer”.  Avoidance is never, ever the answer in the workplace.

A secretary at one time kept referring to the Bible in the workplace constantly.  There were others on staff who were either non-believers or believed in another religion.  It irritated a lot of people but no one, not even my boss, wanted to deal with it because of the sensitivities surrounding one’s beliefs.  I dealt with it – the whole was more important than the one – she simply hadn’t realized the effect her references to the Bible were having on others.  If I hadn’t intervened, the irritations would have grown into a whole host of negative emotions and affected everyone’s work

Will you always succeed?  No.  But you will have begun the process.  There are some people who will never, ever want to participate in addressing the situation and resolving the conflict –

  • they love to live in conflict – it makes them feel alive – if conflict doesn’t exist, they’ll likely create it
  • or they’re right – at all costs and see everyone and everything else as wrong – they don’t want to generate a positive atmosphere and are unwilling often to an exchange of possible solutions; only when their jobs are at risk will they even “budge” and sometimes not even then
  • or it doesn’t fit with how they operate – as a bully or a “backroom tactician”!  It’s their way or the highway is their attitude – there is no middle ground.  If  a person doesn’t go along with everything they say and do, they’ll do everything in their power to gather support against the person and make life very uncomfortable.  These are the people you take on or leave – they can be defeated but it takes time and energy – they don’t like to be asked questions

These are the very people you must distance yourself from.  And when they are in the office, they are the type of people who should be encouraged to leave or, in the worse case scenario, start the process of dismissing them. 

You’ll find, however, that most people do want to resolve the conflict – they want to air their “side of the story” and they want a solution – most people want to live in as much harmony as possible.  Sometimes, when they see the other side, they are surprised and offer their apologies.  Sometimes, they still don’t agree but at least it’s out in the open and they know, on that point, they will never see eye to eye – and that’s okay.  Sometimes, they all of a sudden “hear each other” and discover that they were saying the same thing in different ways.  And, sometimes, it was just plain silly and they both admit it – laughing about how stupid it was to get into conflict in the first place!

It’s the same in your personal life.  My partner is a master at approaching conflict.  His approach is gentle but effective and it’s all about timing.  He’s not afraid of my emotions; he’s interested in getting rid of the problem.  It’s addressed.  Life moves on.

Will you be good at conflict resolution in all parts of your life?  Likely not.  No one is.  Where one person is master at conflict resolution at work, they fall short at home.  But it is a learned skill and, with time and conscious effort, it can be improved.

How can you save time dealing with conflict?  By dealing with it – NOW – that’s how.  There is no other way unless you are willing to accept constant tension in your environment, an increase in game playing and the inevitable escalation of conflict one way or another.  In the long run, unresolved conflict will cost you a lot more time than dealing with it immediately.

Lorraine Arams


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