Archive for June, 2009

How to “make time” for you (#11):

Posted in Stress, Time management/Self-management on June 29, 2009 by Chuc Barnes

SlowWatch out for hurry!

Wherever you go these days, you see people rushing, hurrying, and wearing themselves out. This seems to be going on everywhere and it leads to mistakes, forgotten items, and stress.

Think for a moment of the number of mistakes you’ve made and had to correct, the items you’ve forgotten and had to look for, and the stress you’ve experienced because of hurry. And all of these mistakes and forgotten items, and all that stress steal your time.

Now think how much that stress and lost time totals. It’s a lot, isn’t it?

Let’s also realize that the American Psychological Association reports that 48% of Americans can’t sleep at night because of stress. Are you one of the 48%? If so, that lack of sleep is stealing time from you too.

I’ve looked and looked and there is no correlation anywhere between a fast life and a happy life – no correlation at all!

In spite of the fact that hurry doesn’t help you regain or even save any time, look around and watch how everyone is racing. Clearly, hurry does become a habit – a time-losing habit!

It’s important for you and me to remember that we only get so much time, and any time we lose is time we’ve lost forever.

My suggestion here is for you (and me) to slow down. That’s one way for you (and me) to make time for us.
I’m predicting to you that slowing down will actually speed you up by helping you make fewer mistakes, remember details, and reduce stress.

Yes, I know, I have trouble with this too, but it does help.

If nothing else, simply realize that every spiritual path in the world suggest that we slow down so we can become more clear-headed. That’s good advice.

Make sense to you?

How to “make time” for you (#10):

Posted in Time management/Self-management on June 23, 2009 by Chuc Barnes

CalendarStart your day with a creative idea or a key priority.

Most people begin their day by checking e-mail or reading through messages on a social networking site such as FaceBook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Those are fun things to do, but they distract you and move you away from your goals and dreams and that makes you play “catch up” for the rest of the day.

(This is similar to playing a game where the other team gets the first points on the scoreboard and you feel rushed to make up points for yourself.)

You’ll find you get more done if you start your day (that’s your highest energy and best “thinking time”) by working on a creative matter and/or by taking care of a key priority. This gives you extra energy and a feeling of positive momentum, which helps you get more done in your total day.

Always schedule your e-mail and social networking moments in low activity times of your day –and of course put limits for on those scheduled times!

You’ll like the way you “make more time” for yourself when you follow this suggestion.

Does this make sense to you? Please let me know.

How to “make time” for you (#9):

Posted in Teamwork, Time management/Self-management on June 15, 2009 by Chuc Barnes

TeamworkSet up communication strategies with your team.

When I work with audiences, I nearly always ask attendees to please determine for themselves the percentage of a typical business day that they spend communicating with other people. Most attendees say they spend from 75% to 90% of their day communicating with others.

(Whether the percentage you determine for you is higher than 90% or lower than 75% doesn’t matter to me. I simply want you – and the audiences I work with — to realize that one of the biggest bulks of time in your day is invested in communications.)

Recognizing that communications represent such a big portion of your day, note that if you save as little as 5 minutes a day in your communications, that 5 minutes can go to your personal bottom line. Agree with that?

Likewise, if you save 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or even 40 minutes when communicating with your associates, those time savings could go to your personal bottom line.

And, no matter whether you save 5 minutes or two hours, you can use the time. Right?

Ok, so now let’s start getting some of that lost time back for you and your associates. To do so, here is the first of two questions to ask your team. Both questions are necessary.

Question #1: What can we do to save time for each other?

If you do ask this question (and I urge you to do so), it’s important to listen to the answers you receive and to realize that some answers are apt to surprise you and even bother you.

One man told me, for example, that he asked the above question and one respondent told him, “It wastes my time and yours when you send me an e-mail and then run in my office to see what I thought of it.”

As I said, the information your receive back might hurt, but you’re looking for ways to “make time” for you. Thus, the information you receive is good information to be aware of — and act on — because if you accept communication inefficiencies, you and your team can’t perform as quickly and effectively as needed. Not only that, you waste each other’s time and that’s the lost time you want to retrieve.

The next question to ask your key associates is:

Question #2: What’s the best way for us to communicate?

This is a helpful question because communication methods are changing so quickly today that some people prefer voice mail communications whereas other prefer e-mails. Meanwhile, one person likes text messages and yet other people like Twitter or some other communication method.

The second question acually helps you and your group to listen to each other so you can determine the best and most time efficient method for you to communicate with each other as a team, not just the way you like things done for you alone.

As you can see, the two questions described above are crucial. The answers they generate will help you “make time” for you.

Also, think of the hundreds of dollars you prevent from going down the drain due to straightening out communication inefficiencies.

Does this make sense to you?

How to “make time” for you (#8):

Posted in Organize, Time management/Self-management on June 7, 2009 by Chuc Barnes

PlanMake weekly plans.

Many people tell me, “There are so many new and unexpected interruptions that show up each week that it’s difficult to get the things done that I need to get done.”

If this is a concern for you, you’ll find you’re losing a lot of time, playing “catch up” after taking care of the new items that interfered with the priorities you wanted to get done. Why lose more time playing “catch up”? Let’s get that time back for you.

Suggestion: Make weekly plans where you actually schedule the true priorities you want to accomplish in your week, personal and professional – right on your calendar! When you schedule your priorities in advance, you’ll not only be you’ll be committing time to them, you’ll also be considering the best times for you to handle them.

When you do this, you’ll be creating your weekly “game plan” and you’ll start anticipating possible new items that might come up and you’ll see places where you could handle them if they do indeed come about.

This of course is what good quarterbacks do. Quarterbacks in football anticipate and make adjustments. (No quarterback knows which way the wind will blow or who on the team might get hurt. They constantly make adjustments.)

You are your own quarterback and if new items do come up that aren’t as important as the “game plan” you have scheduled to handle, you can more easily say “no” to them – or perhaps schedule them for a later time — since you’ll see that they conflict with the priorities you’ve already scheduled on your calendar.

The objective for making weekly plans is to help you focus on your true priorities by actually committing time them in advance and thereby saving you all that “catch-up” time that comes from hurrying after you get diverted by handling lesser important, unexpected tasks.

Does this make sense to you?

How to “make time” for you (#7):

Posted in Organize, Stress, Time management/Self-management on June 1, 2009 by Chuc Barnes

iPhoneGet a portable organizer (PDA).

When speaking for a group last week, a man in the audience said he was addicted to the PC at the desk at his office and he wanted to know what to do about the stress he is getting from that.

I asked the man if he has a personal digital assistant and he said “no.” He and I then agreed that he has become a prisoner of the PC at his desk and that it’s no wonder why he has so much stress. I explained that a PDA (personal digital assistant) will help him make notes wherever he is and not just at his desk.

I have the same suggestion for you. If you don’t have a PDA, get one.

When I say “personal digital assistant,” I’m referring to an iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, or some similar handheld organizer that you can carry with you.

A personal digital assistant helps you plan, prioritize, schedule, and make notes wherever you are. That PDA can then be synced (backed up) with the PC at your desk whenever you are at your desk.

The good news about carrying a personal digital assistant is that you no longer need to carry ideas in your head. Instead, you’ll be able to jot notes wherever you are and you can retrieve them when you need them and not wake up at 3 a.m. trying to remember many things that are cluttering up your mind.

Realize that you can make the notes you need to make in the midst all of today’s changes and ongoing interruptions. Best of all, you can retrieve the notes you want at your desk and/or when you’re in a meeting, traveling, or stopping at Starbucks for a cup of coffee, meaning you can work wherever you are.

This helps you reduce stress and it saves time for you.

My objective in this blog is to help you make time for you. This suggestion will help you save many hours each week and, boy, do those hours add up.

What do you think about this? Please let me know.