Posts belonging to Category Time Management Tips

Are There Short Days?

Are there short days?  Yes.  At least they seem that way – there are still 24 hours at our disposal but,  some days, we wonder where the hours went.

The other day, I looked at the clock – it was 11:30 am.  I thought, good, another hour and a half of work and then I’ll break for lunch. 

All of a sudden . . . . out of nowhere . . . . it was 3 pm!  Where did 3 1/2 hours go?  It’s good that I had scheduled the whole day to write but, still, I was shocked how that time had flown by without any perception whatsoever on my part that this amount of time had vanished!

It happens to everyone occasionally – time seems to disappear!  Why is that?  We know.  We’re so engrossed in what we are doing, we never think of looking at the clock. 

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?  It depends on how you perceive it or what happens as a result.  It was good in this case because I got so much done, more than I had anticipated.  However, at other times, I’ve missed appointments which is why I put everything in my computer calendar now – the computer dings me when I have something scheduled.  In this case, I had booked most of the morning and afternoon for one specific task.

If you lose time this way often and the results are not positive, I suggest putting all your appointments and activities in your computer calendar to remind you of your plans for the day if most of your time is spent at your computer – there’s both a visual that pops up on the screen and a sound.  If you don’t use a computer calendar and are still using a paper calendar, buy a watch on which you can easily set reminders at the appointment times during the day – it’ll avoid a lot of “rescheduling”.  Or buy a small clock you can carry with you everywhere.  Set a appointment time.  When you have arrived at that appointment, set the clock for the next time and so on throughout the day.  Some cell phones have an option to set reminders and certainly if you are using a PDA synchronized with your computer, then you have the best of all worlds – your schedule and reminders are set.  Make sure that your PDA is set to remind you with a sound or vibration.

Hope your day is full today – 

Lorraine Arams 

Who are you Blaming? How Much Time is it Costing You?

I looked on Google images for some images to include on this post on blaming.  There were 8,970,000 images on blame!  I would say we all have something in common – don’t we?

We don’t even notice that we are playing the game most of the time because we learned it way back in childhood when we began to understand what words meant and how to associate words with whatever we wanted our expression to communicate.

Blame the government – blame the neighbour – blame your boss – blame your employees – blame your parents – blame your siblings – blame society –

And what are we doing when we are blaming?  Wasting time!  We don’t see it that way – after all, it’s someone else’s fault we’re in the pickle we’re in.

For instance:

  • we blame government.  Yet, voting turnout is an all time low.  Few people are involved politicially or will even send a letter to an elected official or organize to counter government action.
  • we’re unhappy with the money we make and yet we won’t look at what it would take to earn more money.  We won’t take additional courses unless our employer pays for it or we won’t talk to our boss to find out what we can do to improve our chances for a raise or we won’t even do the research on the internet.
  • a behavior which gets us into trouble regularly is our parents fault:  “That’s how I was raised”.  Yet, we have free will to change our behavior whenever we want.  But, it’s difficult to change, isn’t it?  Easier to stay the way we are and blame someone else.

As long as we have:

  • someone to blame
  • spend time justifying our plight
  • and repeat the “story”

we have no chance of effecting change and creating the results we want. 

It’s called abdication!  Abdicating our lives to external forces which we can or cannot  impact or to internal forces which we can change but choose blame as the easy route.  Let’s face it – it’s so much easier to lay blame on someone or something else rather than do the work to change what needs to be changed.

How much time do we waste every single day laying blame?  While we are finding someone or something to blame, are we working on solutions?  Are we accepting responsibility for our lives?  Of course not.  We’re making ourselves feel more and more helpless and powerless.  Can people who feel helpless and powerless effect change, achieve what they want, find solutions?  We know the answer.  Yes, there will always be obstacles and events which don’t turn out, but, at least we know we did our best – that’s all that really counts.  We took responsibility, took action, did our best and we own the results no matter what.

Choose – choose today – choose to stop the blaming game and start using the time you have to go after what you want, accepting there will be obstacles and the results might not be exactly what you expect.  Keep on keeping on!  If things turn out bad or you have a bad day, feel it, give yourself time to process it and move on.  It’s okay to accept responsibility for something which did not turn out as expected – we’re human and cannot possibly succeed at every single thing we do.  However, success or failure, we learn from both.  Be powerful – take the full hit – good or bad!  Learn – move on –

Blaming is costing you way too much time and too much of your energy!  Blame is costing way too much life!


Celebrate Every Day Your Accomplishments

Every single day, at the end of the day, celebrate your accomplishments that day!!! 

Some of you think this is silly.  Is it? 

You were given 24 hours – a gift – to do with it whatever you want – whatever!  In yours and my country that’s possible – if you can’t read this, likely these freedoms are curtailed. 

What did you do today which made you feel good – feel you had accomplished something worthwhile? 

  • was it helping a colleague solve a problem
  • was it helping your child to understand a math theory or formula
  • was it volunteering that  put a smile on someone’s face who was having a bad day
  • was it a report you got finished
  • was it an exam you passed
  • was it helping a stranger who fell on the street and needed medical attention
  • was it calling your parents and building a strong adult relationship with them
  • was it getting a monkey off your boss’s back
  • was it to get 3 major things done from your list of To Dos
  • was it earning money to assure that your family has a place to live, food and clothes
  • was it connecting with your friends
  • was it cleaning your environment and feeling the peace that comes with being able to find what you need when you need it

What positive thing did you do today which added quality to living?

I urge you to get a small writing pad or spiral bound booklet, have it beside your bed and every night before you go to bed, write down at least one positive accomplishment you had that day.  What will it do for you?

  1. Nothing helps you sleep like success!  Your mind, soul and body love positives.  Writing a positive or two or three or more gets the right chemicals working in your brain.
  2. You’ll become aware of time.  Every day will be come more meaningful to you.
  3. The next morning, you’ll wake up “ready to sing in the shower”.  You’ll be amazed how  that single action before you go to sleep will affect your mood the next day.

 It’s all true – try it – this is one addiction which has positive results!!

Lorraine Arams


Should You Use Email or the Telephone for Greater Efficiency

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How Do You Handle Interruptions?

In my consulting role, I’m often asked how to handle interruptions.  I watch.  It’s amazing what I find.

Interruptions are what you set up.  If you set it up that you are open to interruptions any time, anywhere, that’s what you’ll get.  If you set it up that people need to respect your time, then that’s what the result will be. 

I can hear you now – I’ve heard it so many times before – the big BUT – I know – I don’t understand!  I do – only too well.  I promise you that, if I watched you operate, I could find many ways to stop the interruptions.  Mainly, it’s about one thing.

It’s called boundaries.  It’s not something I understood very well either at one point in my career.  As a manager, I thought I had to have my door open all the time and accept interruptions from anyone and everyone – after all, my boss was important, my clients were important, my staff was important, my personal connections were important – everyone was important!  The one I forgot about was me – I was important too and so was my work.

Who taught me that lesson?  A boss I had once.  Couldn’t stand him and I was glad it was a short contract.  The worst boss I ever had and yet I learned this important rule from him – me first and then everyone else.

Sounds quite egotistical, doesn’t it?  It isn’t.  It’s sound time management practice! 

Who is the most important person in your life?  YOU.  If it isn’t, then I urge you to reconsider.

It’s critical to your mental health, physical health, career health, personal and business relationship health and your stress levels that you begin to embrace this idea.  You first and everyone and everything else a far second! 

Hard to do?  You bet.  For most people, this is especially difficult to do especially women.  Women have been trained to subjugate themselves to everyone else’s needs – husband, children, parents, bosses, colleagues, etc.   It’s time to stop!  Now!

When you think of time, think with you first – your sanity.  Many people think they have a lot of time – they don’t!  No one has. 

Think about it – 24 hours in a day – out of those 24 hours, we spend 8 hours sleeping or getting ready for bed and sleeping.  That leaves 16 hours in a day.  Our preparing food and  eating takes at least 2 hours. That leaves 14 hours.  Out of 14 hours, most people spend 10 hours commuting to work, working and community back from work.  That leaves 4 hours.  Where will you put “Me” in that 4 hours?

At work, let’s say you work 8 hours.  Out of the 8 hours. there is an hour spend on lunch, two 15-minute breaks, leaving 6.5 hours to get work done.  That’s a lot of hours you say.   Really? 

Let’s say you go to the bathroom or get a glass of water or tea 5 times for 4 minutes each – 20 minutes gone – so now we have 6 hours and 10 minutes.  

Now, let’s say you want to get a report done but . . . .

  • someone has just had a tragedy occur and they need to leave early – they’re crying in your office and you know you have to calm them down before they leave – that’s an hour gone.  5 hours 10 minutes left
  • then, your boss wants to talk to you and so does your colleague about a project you’re doing together – that’s another hour gone.  4 hours 10 minutes left

 Good chunk right? 

  • well, you discover that you are missing some information you thought you had.  It takes you a half hour to track it down.  3 hours 40 minutes left

Ready?  Write. 

  • But the phone rings and you answer it. 
  • An email comes in from your spouse, you answer that. 
  • Three people come in to ask a question. 
  • You search for something on the internet and find that you’ve forgotten some data you should really put into your report – it’s important. 
  • A colleague comes in to talk about something personal  POOF!  3 hours gone! 

Now you have 40 minutes – you barely get through the introduction. 

You either stay late or take it home (remember, you only have 4 hours left in your day) or hope that tomorrow it’ll get done in-between everything else you have scheduled.

It happens all the time – how do you deal with it?

1.  Close the door.  If you don’t have a door, create a makeshift one – a ribbon across your cubicle entrance – “I can’t right now” or “Busy” or “Can we talk later”.  If you don’t have a door and someone knocks, don’t answer!  That’s right – don’t answer.  If someone unsticks your ribbon, just say, “Hey.  I just can’t talk right now.  Do you want to make an appointment with me?  Would you email me?”  (yes, I know, it’s tough when they’ve “invaded” your territory and insist on disrespecting your space and time)

2.  Teach people to respect your boundaries – train them to set appointments with you.  Block off time when you’ll accept appointments and set appointments with people during that time – yes, even your boss!  The rest of the time, you schedule the work that needs to get done.

3.  As a manager, you must connect with each team member.  Set appointments throughout the week to meet with each of them for updates and discussions.  I like the idea of having a staff meeting every single Friday morning too with an agenda, time allocation for each agenda item and sticking with the time allocated.

4.  Don’t answer emails, phone calls, etc. while you are working on something such as a report.  Focus.  Set particular times to answer emails, phone calls, etc.

5.  Respect yourself and your time.  If you do, others will too.  Why?  Because if you respect yourself and your time, you’ll have the fortitude to “train” people to respect your time by making appointments, not interrupting you and not expecting them to be at their disposal whenever they wish.  Set the boundaries.  The first one is always the hardest.  Start by getting people to set appointments with you, letting everyone know you’ll be answering emails 3 times per day, you’ll be taking calls between such and such hours, and your working hours are between such and such.  Will they think you’ve gone goofy?  Yes.  So what.  In the end, you’ll have their respect and you’ll have time to get your work done!  What a novel idea!  Less stress – more peace – wouldn’t that be nice!  It can be.


Lorraine Arams

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