Archive for February, 2011

Here’s a way to reduce time-wasting stress.

Posted in Organize, Self-management, Stress, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 19, 2011 by Chuc Barnes

Day before yesterday I led a teleconference for a variety of professionals about ways to make their minutes count. The group consisted of hard-working, hard-charging executives “on the go,” and at the end of the teleconference several of them asked me for suggestions that might help them reduce their stress.

Each individual said they were loaded with stress and I explained that all time management methods help reduce stress. I then asked each person what their work area looked like. They all said they were surrounded by piles of paper and “lots of clutter.”


I proceeded by explaining that clutter is a major time waster. They said they knew that, and they said they’d like me to push them to clear things up.

I did so, and they thanked me.

Following the teleconference, it occurred to me that you might want me to push you into clearing up your work area too. Thus, I looked back in this blog and found the following comments that I wrote here almost two years ago.

Here’s what I wrote May 21, 2009. I’m repeating this here in hopes that the information helps you today.

“Clear up your work area.

Nearly everyone I know says, “I know exactly where everything is. I have a system.”

That’s when I laugh. Here’s why.

It is said reported that the average executive spends 36 minutes a day looking for lost things that are right within their reach.

Now think about yourself. Whether you agree with the “36 minutes” number or not, ask yourself. “How much time do I spend looking for lost things?”

Let’s say for talking purposes that you agree with the “36 minutes” answer. (If you don’t, it’s OK.)

If you are willing to agree for the moment, please now multiply the “36 minutes” of time looking for lost things times “5” (the number of standard work days in the week). You’ll now see that you are actually losing 3 hours a week (36 x 5 = 180 minutes) by looking for lost things.

That’s a lot of time.

OK, maybe you say you don’t lose 36 minutes a day looking for lost things. Maybe it’s a smaller number for you. Whatever number you use is still a lot of lost time, isn’t it?

Here’s the point:

A clear desk and orderly work area helps you find key papers faster. That is time you otherwise would have lost.

And please consider this: Every paper on your desk is a decision. Thus, if you have a lot of papers staring at you, you have a lot of decisions to make and those decisions lead to stress.

Stress is a time waster so now you lose even more time.

You can “make time” and reduce stress by clearing up your work area.”

As I pointed out, I wrote the above suggestion two years ago, and I hope it helps you today.

Let’s face it.  Clutter adds stress and stress is indeed a major time waster. Thus, if need be, please please be sure you clear up your work area now.

Meanwhile, please also let me know if you have a comment or a questions.

Are you authentic?

Posted in Planning, Presenting, Self-management, Time management, Time management/Self-management on February 9, 2011 by Chuc Barnes

When my son, Scott, was growing up, he played Little League Baseball (and he was a terrific pitcher and batter). There was a boy on Scott’s team named Norman who always seemed to be caught in tough situations, such as being thrown out when stealing a base or having “strike three” called by the umpire.

Whenever any of these situations occurred, Norman would worry all of the mothers watching the ball game because Norman would fall down in agony or, when thrown out while stealing a base, he’d roll on the ground holding his leg and acting as if he was in physical agony.

Those of us who coached Little League Baseball always smiled because we knew that Norman was a performer. He wasn’t really hurt. He just acted like he was hurt and his performances were very, very believable.

I’m mentioning Norman here because I’ve been discussing movie stars in this blog and movie stars are performers too. In essence, movie stars, just as Charlton Heston wrote in his books and introductions, spend the biggest part of their lives pretending to be other people (the characters they portray).

Isn’t it interesting to see people today who aren’t movie stars — yet just like young Norman and nearly all the Hollywood actors — spend most of their time pretending to be people that they aren’t?

I call this a big time waster.

What about you?

Are you really the person you portray yourself to be? You don’t have to answer me here. You might want to look in the mirror, however, and answer the question for yourself. Here’s why.

Most people think time is money, yet I say that time is life. Thus, if you, or any of the people you see who are spending their time portraying themselves to be something other than who they are, they are wasting more than money, they are wasting their life.

Authenticity is crucial for successful relationships, and I say that authenticity is crucial for a successful life.

Does this make sense? Please leave your comments here.