Posts belonging to Category Time Management Tips
This is one task that you can do in “bites”. I personally hate thinking about cutting down a task into “bite sized pieces” because it usually doesn’t work. Often, it takes me more time to cut down the project then to actually do it. I’m a “blocker” – I prefer to block off good chunks of time and feel I’ve made progress in the project rather than splitting my attention. However, as with all time management practices, there is a time and place to use them where they suit you.
Education is one of those tasks which can be cut up into pieces easily. Why? Because of the nature of education; education is not a one shot, one book, one course or even one class process. It’s on-going. Learning something new is a process which cannot be rushed – we need the facts or the rules or methodology, then we need to understand it, process the learning and assimilate it into our world to the point that we can actually use it. Therefore, learning can only be done in small increments and that’s great for time management purposes. Education or, if you prefer to call it learning, is a lifelong process which can be incorporated into your life forever.
A day without learning is a day wasted – we need to be learning every day otherwise we become stale and set in our ways. Ever notice some people who come out of university, land a job and never think of learning again unless their company sends them on a training course? What happens? They get very “old” very quickly – their energy becomes “un-vibrant” and they lose their spark. Stop learning = start growing old really fast even at 25! We’ve all met 25 year olds who seem as though they are 105!
Make it a point to learn every day. Pick a topic or topics you want to learn about – eg hiking, reading financial statements, chess, HTML, website design, bridge, skating – whatever new interest you want to develop. Schedule the learning – it could be as little as 15 minutes a day during your lunch hour but imagine, in a week, you’ve put in one hour and 15 minutes learning something new! In a month, 5 hours, you’ll likely have learned what you need to know to put it into practice!
Imagine if you learned even 6 new things every year of your life, how interesting your conversations would be, how many people you would meet and what a fascinating person you would become in conversation. At work, every day learning can have huge impacts on your career when directed at continuously improving your knowledge and experience. Experience is the most important learning. The benefits are enormous.
Bite-size time management techniques work wonderfully in building an incredible background of knowledge and experience throughout your lifetime.
Someone asked me what was the best way of becoming aware of time. Some people have internal clocks – they can tell you what time it is even without a watch, they know exactly when to leave to get to a meeting without physical reminders and no matter what they are doing, they can remember appointments.
Most people aren’t wired that way. Becoming conscious of time takes a more physical approach.
Here are three ways to train yourself in becoming more aware of time, time intervals, and the amount of time it takes to accomplish tasks:
1. During the day, set your computer to remind you with sound of everything you do in a day. For instance, on your computer calendar, put in some recurring instances as well as current day’s tasks. This works for most people because it is tactile, audible and visual – the computer pops up a box telling you what to do at what time. It is one of the most effective ways to become conscious of time and time intervals and, now with PDAs, it works even better because at meetings or in other places or situations in which you find yourself during the day, your PDA will at least vibrate to let you know what time it is and a visual of the reminder.
Recurring tasks could include: 8:30 am – start work/answer emails; 9 am make calls; 10 am coffee break; 10:15 am project work; 12 noon lunch; 1 pm resume work/emails; 2:30 pm coffee break; 3:00 pm clear desk; 3:30 pm project work; 5 pm workout
2. Get a watch with an alarm on it and set it go off every 15 minutes or half hour until you can start predicting when the watch will go off and your internal clock has been established. This idea works for some people and for others, it just becomes a nuissance. Either way, a person becomes aware of minutes ticking away and what a time span feels like.
3. Set up time a series of small clocks in front of your computer or on your desk somewhere with a second hand or an electronic clock which reads hours, minutes and, if you can, seconds. Set each clock to a time in another country. For instance, if it is 3 pm in New York City where you live, then set one of the clocks to Los Angeles time which would be 6 pm. This is of course very useful if you are working for a multi-national corporation but it is also an interesting way to become conscious of time. It’s like a game in awareness. The added bonus with this one is that it can give you a mental break for a few seconds. For instance, let’s say you’d love to holiday in Switzerland, the Bahamas and China. Set the clocks for those time zones, put a label on each clock and you get to have a mini-vacation every day throughout the day when you look at them – a goal reminder perhaps and an incentive to keep looking at them instead of their fading into the background of everything else on your desk.
Try one of these ways for time awareness, time consumption, and to help build an internal clock when it comes to time. It just might help. Let me know how it works out for you.
People keep talking about how little time they have and how they can’t live without their cell phone. But, if you simply watch people on the street, you’ll see that cell phone calling and texting has become an addiction. How can you tell?
It’s that constant chatter – one call after another or the constant texting – an hour bus ride is completely consumed by texting! It’s not just one person on the bus either and it’s not only a certain age group – it’s amazing how one gadget which was suppose to save time is actually eating up people’s time at an incredible rate!
Is it connecting? Perhaps. At some level, it’s connecting; at another level it’s just another way to shut out the world. Gauge the reactions – if the cell phone dies, there are two reactions:
- “I’m lost” look – what am I going to do with myself now?
- Anger – a raging look appears on their faces and they become very agitated
It doesn’t take a psychiatrist or psychologist to understand the reaction.
Oprah has asked people to sign a pledge not to text while driving! Imagine, Oprah asking people to sign a pledge not to do something frighteningly dangerous!
Driving today – you need to watch for bicycles, rollerbladers, pedestrians, children, animals, crazy drivers, skateboarders, motorcyclists and everyone else on the road – how can anyone in their right mind ever think that texting is a safe thing to do while driving? That’s how pervasive texting has become – people texting while driving! Is that reasonable? Of course, not because they may kill themselves or someone else or both in the process. Imagine texting even though it may cost you your life!
Next time you pick up your cell phone to call or text, ask yourself: “Is it really necessary that I make this call or send this text?” Not only are you using up your time but you’re using up someone else’s time too.
Reality check: Has texting taken over my life?
The underlying message with setting goals was this: set the goals according to a set formula, work the goals and you’ll achieve them – all of them – you’ll have the success you desire!
Personally, I questioned the goal setting exercises and formulas? Why? Because what I saw in the world was this:
- people who never set goals and achieved a great deal
- people who set goals and achieved some
- people who didn’t know what a goal or goal system was and yet achieved a satisfying life
I worked with seniors for five years and had some good chats with many of them. I learned from some of them, the dreams they had when they were young and learned that most of them never really got to live their dreams. Why? Social norms, wars, parental pressures, illness, death in the family, lack of money, luck, etc. Others achieved way beyond what they could ever dream. Why? Met the right people for all the wrong reaons, luck, family ties and connections, monetary resources readily available, good health, etc.
Did you ever notice that when someone achieves success, interviewers ask them if they had a goal. Sometimes the answer was yes and sometimes they said they achieved more than they could ever imagine.
I wondered why interviewers never talked to people who had failed and asked them if their goal was to fail. Doesn’t make sense, does it? No one sets out to fail.
Watching the Olympics and interviews with the athletes, all the athletes said they had a goal to get GOLD! Every single one! So, then why is it they didn’t?
Did they fail to set a goal? Did they fail to work hard to achieve that goal? Did they not have a plan? Did they have all the advice and training they required? Did they make sacrifices? Did they visualize? Did they receive psychological training? Did they have the equipment they needed? Were there facilities for them to practice? Were there other competitions to win or lose? Was there money available for them to prepare properly, have the right nutrition, get the right exercises to strengthen their bodies, etc? The list is endless.
And this exemplifies for us the fallacy that goal setting is a definitive model for achieving what we want in life – there are no guarantees that with or without goals, a person will achieve what they want out of life. Everyone has a dream to achieve something. For some, it materializes. For others, the majority of the people, it doesn’t. The majority of the athletes will go home without a medal. One athlete left the Olympics in casket – was that his dream?
At the Olympics, it’s very clear that, despite everyone dreaming, training, working hard, competing, sacrificing, spending money, planning, etc., not everyone gets a gold medal. As it is for every other goal in life, there are many vying to achieve the same goal – only some will get there. If everyone could achieve a particular goal, why would anyone dream of achieving it in the first place? It would just happen.
Life is like that – not everyone achieves the goals they set or live their dreams. Why? Because, as in sports, there are a multitude of factors including unforeseen obstacles to derail your dreams, people who have better luck than you, people who intentionally or unintentionally knock you out of contention, or events which impact your ability to reach your objective.
Should we set goals? We all do. Whether we formalize them on paper or not, we all have dreams. Some of us will achieve all of our dreams, others something else entirely and for the majority, some goals some of the time.
Is it still a good idea to go through goal processes and exercises? I think it is if only to clarify what you really want and set realistic expectations of what is and is not possible. Perhaps the goal of settings goals should be: setting realistic expectations based on our strenghts and on the factors which will help or hinder us from getting what we want.
Can the impossible be achieved? Of course but a multitude of factors have to come together at just the right time, in the right circumstances, with the right people and mesh like no other – is that a goal? Of course not. We can only control what we can control – everything else is unpredictable. Calculating the odds of attaining what we want is probably a better plan!
The Olympics can teach us a great deal about goals, about our attitudes towards not achieving the ultimate goal and about what’s really important – to live the best life we can – it won’t be for many as we had imagined – it could be better – it could be worse – it is what it is!
How will we live the best life we can with what is available to us?